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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Acts 3:1-10 - The Beauty of Spiritual Friendship

It is good to have a close friend, one with whom we can have profound spiritual experiences. Peter and John were one such pair. True, they had moments of profound enjoyment when they along with others met with Jesus Christ. At times, they had occasions of special blessing along with James, such as on the Mount of Transfiguration and in the Garden of Gethsemane. Yet they also had wonderful moments as a pair of disciples. We can think of their experience on the Resurrection morning when they both ran to the empty tomb after Mary Magdalene came and told them that the Lord was no longer there (John 20).

Another detail worth noting is that God blessed Peter and John in the path of duty. They were making their way to a prayer meeting which was held in the temple courts (the hours of prayer were 9 am, noon and 3 pm). No doubt, there were many reasons that they could have given for not attending this prayer meeting. Others would be present, so they would not be needed. It was now three in the afternoon and perhaps they had had a busy day. Still they went, and on their way God used them to bring blessing into this poor man’s life. We will never know, in this life, what opportunities we have missed of receiving God’s blessing just because we omitted to perform our duty.

A third detail to note is the rather amazing fact that Peter and John did not have any material resources. Peter has to inform the man that he has no alms for the poor man. Yet Peter was not embarrassed by his lack of resources. From one perspective, the cripple had asked the totally wrong person. He wanted alms, yet the person he asked could not give him any. Peter, however, had something far more valuable to give to the cripple – the resources of the risen Christ.

Peter was aware that he had a special gift as an apostle. In the previous chapter of Acts, Luke had stated that the apostles were performing signs and wonders and here he records one of these miracles. Peter was not speaking into the dark when he made this announcement. He was fully aware that the man would be healed, which is why he stretched out his hand to help the man stand. The lesson for us is not to try and imitate Peter and work a miracle; instead the lesson is to use whatever gift the Lord has given us for his glory, and whenever we use it we should expect the Lord to bless others through it. Such gifts can range from hospitality in obedience to Jesus to preaching about Jesus. Every disciple of Jesus has received at least one gift from the Lord and it is essential that they use these gifts in his service.

Peter wanted the cripple to receive blessing from Jesus Christ. Therefore, he causes the man to pay close attention and listen. Peter does not want the man to imagine that he had been healed by the apostle himself. Instead he wants the cripple to understand that his healing will have come direct from Jesus Christ through his servant. In this attitude, we can see the beauty of Peter’s humility.

Sometimes we ask, what is the clearest mark of humility? I would suggest it is the willingness and determination to give Jesus Christ all the glory in every situation.

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