Have you ever been so excited or amazed about something that you couldn’t wait to share all about it with someone else? Maybe it’s a great vacation or an adventure with your best friends. Perhaps it’s a date night or a win for your favorite sports team. How about the joys of parenthood or even more exciting – the joys of being a grandparent! If we are honest, we share about almost everything in our life. (Of course, we all know that one who shares TOO MUCH!!) When was the last time you scrolled through social media?
This past week, our youth pastor brought a message from Acts about Peter’s first sermon and how people were changed by what they heard about Jesus – including a lame man who was healed! I have read this passage several times before but as he was preaching I had some new insights jump out at me. So this morning I wanted to dig a little more into this passage and let me just say, God is moving in my heart big time!
So before I explain how God is moving all over me, let me give you a brief recap of what is taking place in this passage.
Here’s the scene:
It’s been 40 days since Jesus was resurrected after being crucified for our sins and being in the tomb for 3 days. Jesus spent these last 40 days with the apostles so they would be prepared to do His work. He knew what was about to take place and in Acts 1, He reminds them He will not always be with them but they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit in just a short time (Acts 1:5) and tells them, “..you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) At that moment, Jesus ascends into heaven.
Then 10 days later, on Pentecost, something amazing happens! “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4) The Holy Spirit is now on the scene!!! After that, as you can imagine, people started talking – some were amazed and astonished while others made accusations that the apostles were drunk.
“But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them..(Acts2:14a). Peter stood up and started preaching!!! (This is the same Peter that just 54 days before had denied Jesus – not once but three times. I’ll have to write about that later!) This is Peter’s first sermon of many and the results of his message was one that can be explained with ONLY GOD! “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:41) Yes, you read that right – 3,000 people were saved! Now that’s what I’m talking about!!!
Later that same day, Peter and John encounter a lame man. They are simply heading to the temple – going about their regular routine and see a lame man. Now this lame man has been crippled from birth which means he has never taken a step. There is no indication in Scripture where he has ever met Jesus or knew of Him in anyway. But he sees Peter and John and begs them for some money. But Peter and John recognize him as having a much greater need than money – they recognize his need for JESUS. Read Acts 3:6-10 below to see what happens:
“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.”
Do you see that? A man who had never walked a day in his life is completely healed physically. He has never taken a step and BAM – now he is walking and LEAPING! BUT there is something even more spectacular that has taken place. A man who has never done anything to earn this healing not only receives physical restoration but he also receives SPIRITUAL RESTORATION! And what does he do in return? He starts praising God, whom he didn’t even know just moments before!!! Now that’s something worth sharing about!
Can you imagine being a witness to that? I am sure that this excitement would be all over our social media feeds. And this is pretty much what was happening – it was the talk of the town and more people were wanting to know about this Jesus. Unfortunately the religious leaders didn’t like what was happening and soon Peter and John were arrested. (Acts 4:1-4) The next day Peter and John stand before the high priest (the same ones that were part of sending Jesus to the cross) explaining what had happened — “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:8-12)
Ok, so now to the part where God is moving all in my heart! As some of you know, a few weeks ago I created this blog as well as a public – yes a public – Facebook page to share my faith. God has been telling me I have been quiet for too long!
The next verse in Acts 4 jumped off the page at me last Wednesday night — “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)
‘They recognized that they had been with Jesus’ – y’all this is what I want! I want people to say “Hey you know that lady Tonya – she has been with Jesus!” The high priest ordered Peter and John to not speak of this – to keep quiet – but you know what happens when you have been with Jesus? “…we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20)
I have seen Jesus do so much in my life that I cannot help but to speak about Him. I refuse to be silent any longer! I was no different than the lame man – I had done nothing to deserve the love, mercy, grace and forgiveness I received from Jesus on the day I accepted Him. I was unworthy. I may not have been physically lame but I can promise you I was as spiritually lame as anyone can be. But God didn’t see that – God saw me and rescued me anyway. And over the last 27 years, I have seen and heard of so much He has done I could never tell it all even if I started writing now and continued until the day I die.
Friend, this is why you cannot keep me quiet! I cannot help but speak of Him! You see, my Jesus transformed me and I know He can transform you too! If you hear me speaking about my Jesus, you will not be able to shut me up. And if you see me leaping and praising Jesus, don’t you dare try to stop me. Instead, let me introduce you to Him so you can join in on the celebration too!