…they (the crowd at the temple gate) recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. Acts 3:10-13a
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. John 16:13-14
PBS recently aired Ken Burns’ “four round” documentary on the boxer Muhammad Ali. Several features of Ali’s life stood out to me: Ali boldly claimed he was the greatest. Ali attained worldwide fame which remained undiminished long after his career ended. Many adulated Ali and drank in his words, which are actively repeated today.
Powerful personalities like Ali fascinate us. Why and how do they rise to prominence? Why do people listen to them on subjects outside their expertise? Why do some celebrities continue to seek the limelight after their star has dimmed?
These are good questions to ask, not because we aim to become powerful personalities, but to avoid the pitfalls of elevating ourselves above glorifying Jesus.
After the amazing restoration of the man born lame, Peter and John were fully aware they should step aside as the excited crowd of worshippers at the temple started to adulate them. They were eager to explain they were not the power source for such a phenomenal act of creation. Only Jesus could accomplish such an act and only He is qualified to receive that kind of worship.
Many of us wonder why such direct and immediate miracles of Jesus seem to be in such short supply in our sophisticated and scientific Western culture. At the same time we find ourselves questioning the veracity of miracles claimed by big name preachers with jet planes and multiple mansions. Does this miracle recorded in Acts 3 provide some guidance about how to view miracles?
The minds of Peter and John were focused on daily prayer and worship (Acts 3:1). They did not go to the temple to perform a miracle. Is prayer a key? Is humility a key? Is worship a key? Is setting your mind to glorify Jesus a key?
Do you believe miracles like those recorded in the New Testament should happen more often today? Think about why more miracles would be good and why they might be in short supply. Ask the Holy Spirit to motivate you for His glory to be part of God’s present day miracles. Give Him the verbal glory for the miracles He has already done in you and others.
By Kathleen Petersen