Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I'm Sure Peter and John Preached the Prosperity Gospel! (Acts 3:1-10)

One day Peter and John were going to the temple at the time of prayer – at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put everyday to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money
(Acts 3:1-3,

Previously, the writer told us that “many wonders and signs performed by the apostles” (Acts 2:43) and here is one of the examples. As Peter and John went one day into the temple, some people (probably his relatives) were just bringing in a beggar. It is said that this man had been born lame and was now over 40 years old (see Acts 4:22). To beg in the temple area is equivalent today as begging in the church’s open doors (except hardly we see any beggars came to our churches, I wonder why not). Almsgiving and mercy assume greater in the religious settings rather than in the shopping mall areas. So this place was the most strategic area. Plus, the temple gate is called “Beautiful.”

Seeing Peter and John, he immediately asked them for “money” (3:3). He may not realize that Jesus’ disciples were mostly poor or not rich, particularly these two disciples. So no wonder “Peter looked straight at him, as did John” (3:4). “Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them” (3:4-5). This is funny! When I read “Look at us!” I imagined these two tone of voice: First, surely a strong command; and secondly, a disbelief response like, ‘What do you expect from us? Look at us! We’re poor too!’ They didn’t have much money – or none for this purpose – but they did know the power of God and so was able to give something far better that afternoon than all the rich people who entered the temple.

So 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, walk” (Acts 3:6). In the name of Jesus, Peter took hold of the lame man’s hand and raised him up. Immediately he received strength and began to walk and jump. For a man born lame, these descriptions in Acts 3:7-8 is simply amazing. What great power “the name of Jesus” is! At that moment, I’m sure that the man finally realized that to know the Lord Jesus Christ is far better than to have all the money in the world. He asked for “money” but he got far better, namely, healing in the name of Jesus. No wonder he “walking, jumping and praising God” (4:9). Begging-helpless voice now had turned into shout of praises. The people there “were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him” (v.10). No doubt!

Two things I learned from this text: #1 Jesus is the wisest prayer we can ever ask for. This man asked for what he thought the best he can possibly have – money, but instead he got better – Jesus. Jesus is more precious than silver and gold. When we asked for a certain thing [this man was simply asked, I think that’s the key: Ask], God may give us something else better than what we wanted at first. We must trust His wisdom, love and power whenever we pray. Ask; and #2 Jesus’ name bring complete spiritual healing to those who believe. I know that the man was physically healed and I’m not trying to ‘spiritualize’ this text. But this man’s healing was a good example of how God rescues us from our sin: 1) The man was totally hopeless since the beginning; 2) The healing took place by a direct word of command in the name of Jesus; 3) The healing was instantaneous, not gradual; 4) The healing was permanent, not partial or temporary; and 5) The healing was not in secret but was publicly acknowledge – this is the saving power of God!

Because of these two lessons I learned, I say this poor lame beggar is rich in the Kingdom of God. Surely, Peter and John preached the prosperity Gospel!

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