Spurred on by a dear friend’s thoughtful inquiries lately I have been reading back through the book of Acts. It’s always been a favorite of mine given the inspiration and history it reveals for the beginning days of the New Testament church.
Even though I’ve read these passages many times they are ministering to me in a marvelous and wonderful way as I’m being refreshed in my spirit. It causes me to weep when I imagine the power, excitement and boldness of God’s people in those early days. My heart longs for the church (starting with me) to wake up and take hold of what the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ has already provided for us.
So today I thought I’d share some of my random thoughts about what I’m reading.
In Acts 3:6 Peter spoke to a lame man, “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!” How thrilling to have such boldness in God.
… was this the first time he had done such a thing? I mean he had witnessed Jesus heal the lame but had he ever been so bold as to speak the NAME and declare to a man of 40 plus years -lame from birth -to get up and walk?
No wonder when (Acts 4:20) the council chamber tried to stop Peter and John from healing anyone else by telling them NOT to EVER again speak or teach about Jesus --Peter and John’s answer to them went something like this, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than Him? We CANNOT stop telling about the wonderful things we have seen and heard.”
Isn’t that the way it should still be? Shouldn’t we still be telling the wonderful things we are seeing and hearing? Peter and John were experiencing first hand the power they had just received after being baptized with the fire of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. But the command and authority given to them to go out with Jesus’ authority was given by Jesus before ascending to heaven after His resurrection. In Matthew 28:18 Jesus makes the statement, “I’ve been given complete authority in heaven and earth… now YOU go. Why would He say I’ve been given such and such now YOU go? He was delegating to them the authority God had bestowed on Him after His resurrection. Mark 16:15 records that same conversation and goes on to list the signs that WILL accompany “anyone” who believes.
All this says a couple of things to me. 1) the accompanying signs aren’t just the signs that should follow those 11 disciples who were present at the time. 2) #1 is argument enough that these signs didn’t pass away with those 11 disciples and somehow later Paul slipped in under the radar. 3) Back to Acts 3:16 Peter gives credit to FAITH in Jesus’ name as the cause for healing the lame man which confirms the two passages from Matthew & Mark… this authority is for anyone who BELIEVES it... then and now!