Summary: The Gospel, Our Witness to Those We Know, Service
THE CHURCH HAS LEFT THE BUILDING – Judea: My Community & My Neighbors
Acts 3:11-26 (pg. 760) July 12, 2015
How many of you have ever thrown a pebble into a pond? Most of us, huh? It hits with a big explosion and then the waves ripple out in concentric circles.
That has been the exact plan of Jesus for His disciples.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
I’m sure there are really smart people who could explain to me what happens when the rock hits the water...Kinetic energy and the effects of the rock’s mass, the resistance of the water tension and the pull of gravity...but I don’t care about the scientific particulars.
I just remember as a little boy being fascinated with the explosion and then watching the waves that came from it going on and on and on.
An explosion has happened in Jerusalem...It involves the movement of a rock as well...
Jesus has been crucified on Friday...the pond lay quiet, dark and still...but on “The first day of the week (Sunday), while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.” (John 20:1)
As she stands in the dark...weeping beside an empty tomb, she turns to see someone standing nearby...and says “Sir, if you’ve carried him away, tell me where you have put him and I will get him.” (John 20:15)
And then Jesus speaks her name “Mary!”
She cries out “Teacher” and I get the picture of her falling on his nail pierced feet...wrapping her arms around them.
JOHN 20:17-18 (p. 756)
The resurrection is explosive material. It is the crowning proof of Jesus’ authority over everything...including death...It puts the stamp of “All authority in heaven and on earth” in His hands.
There is no good news to share unless sin and death are defeated. The disciples and future believers have no mission without the resurrection of a Messiah.
I. WE ARE CALLED TO BE WITNESSES OF THE RESURRECTION
The man who grabs onto Peter and John in verse 11 has been lame since the day he was born. As on adult, someone has had to carry him to the temple gate every single day...ironically it’s near the gate called “Beautiful” and here...every day he begs for money as people enter the temple.
I’ve hurt so bad physically I’ve been dependant on someone else for even the littlest things...my mom in the hospital when I was burned...my wife and children with back and hip issues, when I had my heart attack. I didn’t like it then...in fact as a man I hated it worse than the pain...but mom loves me...Kari, Karissa and my family love me. It wasn’t easy to ask...but it was easy for them to help this lame guy...because they love me and they wanted to.
But this man is forced to ask strangers for his daily bread...This man has to humble himself to ask people who don’t know him, don’t love him and don’t want to.
And every one of those people felt like you and I at the Speedway when the guy walks across the lot and says...“Can you spare a dollar?”
“Is he really lame?” He’s just gonna use it on meth or menthols...I work hard for my money...get a job.”
I’m not sure how many people avoided the “beautiful” gate because they knew he was there...or how many people walked by “quickly talking with friends” or just ignored him...but probably thousands.
So when Peter and John walk by about to enter he asks for money...they don’t avoid eye contact. Both of them look him straight in the eyes...He looks away...and these men say...“Look at us.” It gets his attention because he thinks there’s gonna be a pay off.
“Little does he know!”
ACTS 3:6-10 (p. 760)
I don’t have any money...but in the name of Jesus...WALK.
He does more than that...he jumps...he dances...he praises God.
People who know this man recognize what’s happened...they are filled with wonder and amazement.
A crowd gathers when lame people dance. “All the people were astonished and came running.” (v. 11)
By the way, Peter and John share it’s not “their power or godliness that enabled this man to walk.” (v. 12) “God has glorified Jesus to have His power.” (v. 13) “It is Jesus’ name and the faith that come through him that has completely healed him as you can see.” (v. 16)
I believe in faith healings...I have a lot of trouble with “faith healers” who make healings “selectively” dependent upon individuals who believe enough. This man didn’t believe anything except that he wanted money...but Peter and John, Apostles of Jesus healed him with the power of Christ anyway.