Physical and Spiritual Healing
On Sunday our pastor, Paudge, preached a great sermon on the book of Acts, chapter 3. In this part of God’s Word we read of Peter and John going to the Temple where they meet a man begging ‘lame from his mother’s womb’. At a time when there wasn’t social security or any kind of government help for the disadvantaged we can appreciate that life for this man would have been tough. More than tough- for anyone as unfortunate as this cripple life would have been one long, hard degrading and humiliating slice of misery. On seeing Peter and John the man can hopes for a bit of cash. The invalid doesn’t know it but his life is just about to be transformed. More than transformed this is going to be the man’s best day of his life!!
We read; “Peter said, “Look at us.” 5 So he (the lame man) gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk”.
Not content with that, Peter ‘took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately the lame mans feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.
It is important to understand that Peter (and John) were Apostles who could do things that the rest of us can’t. The word ‘apostle’ means one sent with authority and part of that authority was being able to do miracles.
As a crowd gather up in astonishment at what has just happened, Peter takes the opportunity to speak to the people. It is noteworthy that the first thing that Peter says is not what has just happened but what didn’t happen. In effect Peter, so far from blowing his own trumpet, says this wasn’t his doing. This is the power of Jesus Christ- this is proof positive that Jesus Christ is fully alive and reigning in Heaven with all power and authority! In a day when we seek to elevate men and prise them to the rooftops it should give us pause for thought that Jesus is the only one that Peter seeks to glorify.
Peter speaks of Jesus as being ‘the Holy One’ and ‘the Prince of Life’ all expressions denoting the deity of Jesus; he wasn’t just a good man but the God man! Peter makes it clear that Jesus died to ‘blot out your sins’. He died to take the place of every single person who would believe in him. In other words it should have been us dying eternally for our disobedience but Jesus stepped into our place taking the full hit. This is what we call the substitutionary death of Christ.
It must be said that Peter does lay it down to his hearers that they had done some pretty awful things even to the point of calling for the crucifixion of Christ (remember this was just weeks after Good Friday). As we read Peter’s sermon we are amazed at his directness but the great Apostle knew that if the people that he is speaking to are ever to turn to Christ then they need to appreciate the reason why it is imperative that they do so.
Coming back to our own day, is it not amazing that notwithstanding the fact that the most intimate sexual terminology can be publicly thrown around there are still some words that are too taboo to mention. Words like ‘sin’ and ‘guilt’. But the Bible cares little for our bashfulness and makes it clear that ‘all of us have sinned and fallen far short of God’s standards’. This means that in our heart of hearts we are guilty sinful people who desperately need God’s mercy.
However, the glorious good news is that for every single person who can dare to confess the truth- ‘yes, I am a sinner and I am not going to make excuses’- and places their faith in Jesus alone for salvation they will receive God’s full forgiveness. To put it in the words of Peter-
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.
Anyone of us who takes up this wonderful offer will find himself, just like the healed man, walking, leaping, and praising God!.