Summary: Apply this key to your life. Don’t ask yourself what more could I do? Ask yourself this: In what way am I resisting the Holy Spirit in my life?
Peter literally pulls the man up from the ground.
This man who has never walked a day in his life is up on his feet. Peter reaches out and grabs the man’s hand - the Greek says, “seizes” the man’s hand; Peter suddenly grabs this man’s hand and yanks him up into the air. Imagine, this limp figure of a man being forcibly pulled up by Peter into the standing position.
Literally the text says, “Peter raises up the man.” What does that remind you of? What we have here is nothing other than the power of the resurrection. It is the power of the resurrected Christ manifest in the church.
Jesus crucified, dead, buried...rises from the dead, Jesus rises to new life. This man, at the temple gate, restricted from the time of his birth from living a normal life,...rises from the ground - and THEN his feet are healed.
Did you notice that when we read the Scripture this morning?
See look at verse, 7 “Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.”
Nothing happens until the man is on his feet. Nothing happens until the man is on his feet. The man lay at the gate for 40 years and nothing happened.
Nadda. Zero. Zip.
Then one day a man seizes his hand, pulls him into the air….and then, he becomes strong. 40 years, nothing; 40 years and one moment later, he is risen to new life.
Some people say, “You attempt little things and so you succeed in little things.” Some people say, “The reason life is not coming together is that you are not trying hard enough.” Some people say, “Reach for success, and you will have success.”
But is that what we see here in this passage? Is this man who lay at the gate reaching for success?
You’ve got to be kidding, this man expects a few pennies at best. He isn’t looking to make it big, he is just hoping to make it through another day with the little dignity he has left. Look what Peter says in verse 6 “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” This is not inspirational talk, this is not motivational therapy; This is not rah rah rah you can do it.
No. This is how God works. This is how God worked over 2000 years ago, and this is how God works today. Pay close attention to what is really going on in this passage, if you do, it will tell you volumes about your life with God.
The man is not healed until he is standing.
God helps those who help themselves? Phooey, that’s a bunch of baloney. Don’t believe it, the bible doesn’t say that anywhere. Do you know what is going on here? God has mercy on this man at the right time and at the right place...see, as we have seen since chapter one, the book of Acts is all about Jesus Christ - this man is healed, not because of who he is, or what he has done, this man is healed because of who Jesus Christ is. This man is healed because his healing will bring glory and honor to the person of Jesus Christ. Sure the man will benefit from this healing, but that is secondary, what is primary is that the name of Jesus is now associated with awesome power.
God has mercy on this man, and God, in his time, will have mercy upon you also, but it is not because of who you are, or what you have done, or what you haven’t done; It is not about this or that in your life - it is all about Jesus, the power of Jesus, the dominion of Jesus, the love of Jesus, the person of Jesus.
Now hang on and listen to this: In the kingdom of God, the last shall be first and the first shall be last. In this story, who is the person who starts off in last place? And in this story who is the person who ends up in first place? The beggar at the gate. I told you on our first day in the book of Acts that we would see this truth again and again. Figure this out in your life, how do I find my way to the last place in line - because THAT is the only way I will be first in the kingdom of God.
A few weeks ago here in this congregation, Bob Graham, stood up and announced that by the power of prayer in the name of Jesus his hearing was restored. Bob Graham’s ears have been healed by the Lord Jesus Christ.