2002-10-03 - Who Can Argue?
Acts 3:7-8 And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. 8 And with a leap, he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. (NAS)
At 3pm one afternoon, Luke records a trip to the Temple for Peter and John. It is recorded as 'at the ninth hour', the same hour that Jesus claimed victory on the cross. There was a man at the Beautiful Gate who had been lame from birth. Some of his friends would drop him off at the gate to beg for money from those headed to the Temple. Hopefully, these religious folks would be feeling generous enough to help a poor unfortunate soul out. Please, don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with an act of kindness in the form of money. Without charity, some hospitals and orphanages around the globe would not exist. The person God has blessed has a responsibility to give back.
Peter and John are missionaries and ministers of the Gospel. An occupation that is not known for its affluent members, at least not in the monetary sense. Peter looks this lame man right in the eye and grabs him by the wrist and jerks him to his feet proclaiming healing in the name of Jesus. Luke, the physician, informs us that at the man was lifted off the ground, his feet and ankles were strengthened. The man, who had been a beggar, had never walked a day in his life. As he took those first few stunned steps, perhaps a little uncertain, he knew a gift beyond the knowing for most of us - save for salvation.
But in many ways, this was this man's salvation. He was now freed from the tyranny that had kept him from worshiping in the Temple, stole the memories of running and playing as a child, and robbed his parents of his first steps. The gift had only begun to give as he leaped and jumped and praised God Who had healed him. "Who is this Jesus you named?", would be question number one as his joy became containable. He would soon know and even greater joy in his Messiah, Jesus.
He had sat in his regular spot at the gate for so many years. He was probably known to a great number of people through the grapevine. Perhaps some even knew him well enough to greet him has they entered to worship. Now, they would see this fellow they knew to be incapable of walking, running and jumping for joy unspeakable. "What happened?! It's wonderful!", the shocked questions would come. Peter and John would be ready to help answer that question, if their new friend would let them get a word in edgewise. They would hear that God, through the name of Jesus, had made him well and whole as they saw. They could not refute the claim. Even the most skeptical person would be hard pressed to climb back into his skeptical logic. Logic could not be applied here.
In early February of last year, one of the brothers Winan, of the musical Winans Family, was on the operating table for what was not expected to be a simple surgery. After 18 hours in the operating room, the doctor had to go to visit the family in the waiting room. He told them that their brother/son's heart had literally exploded in his chest. They had him on a heart by-pass machine, but he had been dead on the table for four minutes before they were able to do that. The family asked the doctor to please go back and try to do what he could, but before he did they wanted to pray for him. They prayed and the physician returned to his seemingly hopeless task of repairing a badly damaged heart. Four hours later, his eyes red and sore from sobbing, the doctor returned to tell the waiting family that their brother was no out of the woods, but in a recovery room and doing as well as could be expected. The family ran to the chapel to thank God for the deliverance that He had granted.
The doctor will tell you it was a miracle, so will the Winans family and the man who was operated on that day. Logic, science and rationale do not need apply. When someone is confronted with the miraculous, something that can not be humanly explained, the arguments against the existence of God become silent, or powerless. Those who will continue to rattle the sabre of arrogance will not get a hearing. Those who rejoice in the visitation of God will be joined, if not quietly from the sidelines, by even the most typically uninvolved citizens. When God gives the joy, share it.
Grace & Peace,