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.
Imagine yourself as Peter and John in this story.
What gives Peter the spiritual confidence to say, “Look at us” and, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”? How did God impress upon Peter to have this type of boldness?
- Presumably, it was a prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Did the Holy Spirit prompt Peter differently than how He prompts us?
- No, the Holy Spirit is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Was there something different about Peter that enabled him to respond with such a confident and bold faith?
- Peter had witnessed lots of miracles.
- Peter had participated in miracles during his time with Jesus.
- I believe those experiences built Peter’s faith for these types of opportunities.
How do we prepare our faith to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit?
- We need to put ourselves in the pathway of God’s work.
- We need to find out where God is at work and join Him.
- We need to surround ourselves with believers instead of doubters.
Does God want us to be able to be used the way Peter and John were used?
- If not, why would God only want the original disciples to be used in miraculous ways?
- And why would God give us a mission but not give us the gifts and power to fulfill that mission?
- And why in the world would God stop giving us the gifts and power to redeem, reconcile, and restore?
In other words, why would God limit anything that’s an expression of His goodness?
I don’t have all the answers, but it can’t be “those gifts don’t exist anymore.”
Again, I’ve said this multiple times over the past couple of devotionals: I’d rather make the mistake of believing too much than believing too little. I’d rather make the mistake of believing and trying than doubting and not trying. I’d rather risk being right than fear being wrong.
What did Peter do in addition to believing the prompting of the Holy Spirit and speaking to the lame man?
He took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
Again, imagine yourself as Peter.
What gives you so much faith (confident trust) that you actually take a lame man by the hand and try to raise him to his feet?
- Peter acted on his beliefs.
The lame man also acted on Peter’s faith. The lame man heard the confidence in Peter’s voice and saw the confidence in Peter’s eyes. I think he borrowed some of Peter’s faith while also acting on his own mustard seed of faith.
What happened after the former lame man started walking, leaping, and praising God?
They were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Would you be filled with wonder and amazement if you saw this happen? Of course you would!
Here are some Captain Obvious questions:
- Does God want less faith and expressions of gifts in the world today than yesterday?
- Does God want less healing in the world today than yesterday?
- Does God want less wonder and amazement in the world today than yesterday?
I still don’t know how to live all of this out yet, but the answer can’t be to believe less, nor to believe that some of the gifts have ceased to exist. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Scripture is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The gifts are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
What’s the remaining variable? It’s our faith. I’m not saying that critically, so please don’t criticize yourself and don’t pressure yourself. Simply keep desiring more. Keep seeking more. Keep asking more. Keep knocking more.
There has to be a way to grow our faith in order to do what God says we can do by the leading of the Holy Spirit and the use of spiritual gifts.
Join me in seeking to ask the right questions so we can find the right answers so we can bring more glory to God and more goodness to people.