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Monday, August 15, 2011

A Simple Statement of Faith

A Simple Statement of Faith

"Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk?" Acts 3:1-2

POWER: dynamis (force, power, miracle); from dynamai (to be able or possible)

PIETY: eusebeia (reverence for God); from eu (good or well) and sebo (to revere or adore)

Peter refuses to take credit for healing this man. The surprise and wonder of the crowd made it plain to Peter that the people were worshipping him and John, attempting to make much of them, praising and adoring their miraculous power and position with God.

The man who had been healed, however, had no such misplaced worship. He immediately had begun to praise God for the miracle of healing.

No special power or ability or even goodness of Peter contributed to this miraculous healing. The only thing Peter contributed was a simple statement of faith.

God as Creator and Sovereign Almighty Lord planned to have this lame man, from birth to maturity, live as a disabled, unproductive burden on society, waiting for the moment when a simple statement of faith would provide the perfect time for God to radically change his life.

The simple statement of faith required of Peter little strength, little intellect, and little piety. Yet God waited a lifetime for that simple statement before releasing His power for the lame man.

The waiting, and the simple statement of faith, were designed to glorify Jesus Christ as God.

But the power of God was not in the statement. The power of God was in Jesus Christ. The statement was a way to publicly give credit where credit was due.

That was the reason for the crowd's misplaced worship: they either ignored Peter's statement of faith in Christ, or they hadn't heard it in the first place.

Idol worship, atheism and worthless religion are the direct result of failing to credit God as Supreme in every way, and failing to recognize Jesus Christ as God.

What do you think? What examples can you give, either in your own personal life or in human society as a whole, of failure to give the credit that is due to Jesus Christ?

Image courtesy of Alberto Seveso