06/18

June 18

Acts 3

A lame man is miraculously healed, not by Jesus, but through Peter and John. It’s not new for these men to minister healing to the sick – the disciples were sent out to heal and cast out devils while Jesus was still walking the earth. Jesus mentored them, so they knew what to do when He was gone. Let’s look at a few highlights:
Peter and John went to the temple to pray at the ninth hour. The day started at 6:00 am, so it was 3:00 PM. It’s a good idea to pray together with your church family.
The lame man was lame from birth, so he was never able to walk. He was over forty years old (4:22). He was carried to the gate of the temple every morning to ask for alms, which was money for the poor. The lame were not allowed in the temple under the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 21:18). Under the Law, they were loved and cared for, but they were kept outside of the temple because they symbolized the unsaved, the not whole, the defective. This points us to Jesus, and Jesus, the door to God, who heals and saves, gives all of us entrance to know the Father. We used to be spiritually lacking; however, Jesus made the way for us to come to God. Under the new covenant, this symbolization was fulfilled, and the sick are welcome in church services.
The man asked Peter and John for alms. Peter fixes his eyes on the man. This phrase is used more than once in Acts. When a minister fixed their eyes, or had a gaze on someone, the Holy Spirit was leading that person to minister (13:9; 14:9). I have experienced this many times myself. I will be speaking to a crowd or speaking with someone, and the Holy Spirit begins to move, capturing my attention and putting my focus on the object of His anointing.
Peter says, “Look at us,” so the man looked, expecting alms. Peter says, “Silver and gold I do not have.” This doesn’t mean that Peter had no money at all, and perhaps at the moment he did not have money on him. The real meaning here is that Peter knew the man was looking for alms, and Peter was simply saying he wasn’t giving him money.
Instead, Peter said, “what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” What did Peter have? He had the name of Jesus, authority in that name, and the anointing from the Spirit to heal.
What did Peter do? He used his words to command the man to get up and walk. He also gave the man his hand and helped to lift him. There was a point of physical contact.
Immediately, the man knew a change was happening in his body. His feel and ankles received strength, so that he was not only walking, but LEAPING.
This Jewish man praised God for his healing. He loved God, he acknowledged God healed Him, and he gave God the glory for the miracle.
Everyone knew the man because he was daily at the gate. Jesus and the disciples had passed by this gate many times, but this time the man was healed. Why now and not a year or two before? Didn’t Jesus heal every person He encountered every time? Jesus NEVER, NOT ONCE, denied a person healing when they came to Him. Anyone with a desperate reliance on the Lord was healed. This man never showed that kind of faith before. Even on this day, the man was not pursuing the disciples for healing. This time, God did the miracle, not based on the man’s faith, but based on giving attention to salvation through Christ and expanding the kingdom of God. Think about it – everyone that went through the door had seen this man there every day. This man had never been able to walk. This miracle was to point people to Jesus and salvation. In verse 9 it says, “ALL THE PEOPLE SAW HIM.” And in verse 10, “THEY KNEW THAT IT WAS HE WHO SAT BEGGING ALMS AT THE BEAUTIFUL FATE OF THE TEMPLE. And “THEY WERE FILLED WITH WONDER AND AMAZEMENT.” This miracle had purpose!
There was more than one gate to get into the temple. The Greek word for “beautiful” here means, “coming at the fullness of time, a ripening.” This is also the Eastern gate, or the Golden Gate, or the gate that Jesus entered for the Triumphal entry. It is also the gate where Jesus will return.
The healed man entered the temple (verse 8). Remember, the lame could not enter; however, now healed, the man could enter. This was a joy for the man.
The miracle drew many people to an area of the temple called “Solomon’s porch” or a portico. Then Peter preached about Jesus, not to condemn the Jews for killing Him, but to point to His salvation and resurrection. In verse 19, Peter invites the Jews to repent and be converted so sins can be blotted out and times of refreshing may come. Miracles should always point people to look beyond the healed person, beyond the minister of healing, to look to JESUS.
In verse 16, Peter said it was through FAITH in the NAME of JESUS that brought healing. POWER comes when we rely on God through Jesus and obey what He says to do from a point of utter dependency on Him. Our faith is simply the position that aligns us to receive and the activation of what is available to us.
Verse 16 says, giving “perfect soundness” or wholeness to the man. The Greek for “perfect soundness” is holokleria, and it means that every member is whole, every part is functioning correctly, as they should.
In verse 21, Peter says Jesus came to restore all things. God is always restoring us back to what He intended for us in the beginning. He is restoring life, health, provision, glory, authority, identity, whole emotions, and right thinking. He restores peace, soundness, joy, safety, and all that pertains to Him and His goodness. We are saved, but we are also in a continuous saving process of restoration.
In verse 26, Peter speaks of a “turning away” from iniquity. That means we are leaving iniquity behind us and accepting the forgiveness in front of us. What we physically are facing is what is what we are giving our attention and our allegiance. What we put our back to is what we are refusing to give attention. Let’s turn our eyes on Jesus, face Him spiritually, and turn our back on anything that is not of Him.

Nehemiah 7-8

In chapter 7, the temple is rebuilt, the walls are rebuilt, and now the city is ready for building houses and to be inhabited.

In chapter 8, Ezra and Nehemiah work together to establish the people. There is a public reading of Scripture for about 8 hours (verse 3), which included teaching so there could be understanding of the Law. When the Scripture was read, the people were attentive, and after it was read, the people lifted their hands in praise, then bowed their heads and worshiped with their faces to the ground. What is our response after reading the Bible? What is our response after hearing a pastor teach the Word? Isn’t it precious when after teaching, altars are opened, and people respond in prayer and worship? God meets His people when they respond to His Word.

In Nehemiah 8:10, we find a popular verse, “for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” In context, this joy was to be embraced after hearing the Word taught. We also find joy from the Lord, His joy, a joy that He shares with us. His joy lifts us, motivates us, and empowers us to do the Word He has given to us to do.

The Jews then reinstate the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths. This was celebrated with temporary shelters to remind the Jews of how God cared for them as they traveled through the wilderness. They sat in their shelters and read the Law for seven days, and on the eighth day, they came together for an assembly.

Christians don’t necessarily have to keep these feasts each year. They were meant for the Jews to keep, and they are signs that were or will be fulfilled by Christ. The main focus for the Gentile is to look to Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith!

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