Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!” Luke 5:22-26
Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them. All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! .... Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? .... Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes .... Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:1-10, 12, 16, 19
Our story began with crowds of people coming to be healed which included the men and their paralyzed friend. The religious leaders are in the crowd to find any fault with Jesus that can be found. Jesus does the unexpected, by telling the young man that his sins are forgiven. The pharisees say this is blasphemy. Our Luke 5 passage now goes on to tell how Jesus proves he has authority to forgive sins by healing the paralyzed man. The Acts 3 passage is a parallel story, except it is now the risen and ascended Jesus working through the Apostle Peter and the Apostle John by the Holy Spirit. They do the unexpected as well. The lame man is expecting to be given money but the apostles give him healing in the name of Jesus instead. The crowds are enamored by the healing and the apostles who they think are the source of the healing. Peter its very clear that it is faith in Jesus' name that has healed the lame man. Peter then calls on the people to repent of their sins and turn to God, so that their sins may be wiped away. Once again healing and forgiveness are integrally connected. The healing here, just like in the Luke 5 passage, is proof that Jesus can take care of the greatest need of all - the spiritual infirmity of sinfulness. Notice that Peter adds the healing of the soul as well when he speaks of times of refreshment coming from the presence of the Lord. The forgiveness of sins results in God taking up residence in our souls. The result is a spiritual inner well being and renewal that comes through the ongoing presence of God in our souls.
Lord, help me to be gripped by wonder and awe. May I be filled with praise for who you are and what you do. You heal the lame, you forgive sinners, and you meet the deepest needs of our souls through your abiding presence. Thank you, Lord, for being in the business of restoring people in body, soul, and spirit. Thank you for your provision in Christ and the powerful touch of your presence in my life today.
Posted on Thu, March 12, 2015
by Ken Hart