People express astonishment when Peter heals a “man lame from birth.” Rather than bask in the limelight as a miracle healer, Peter speaks plainly to the crowd. He walks them through the story of Jesus and reflects on the many ways God has worked throughout history. Peter’s words to the crowd remind us that we are called to be faithful followers of Jesus. In this passage, he encourages us to
• believe in God’s power to change lives and work miracles,
• be witnesses to Christ’s resurrection,
• have faith in Jesus’ name,
• repent “so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus,” and
• be open to other ways that God may speak to us.
Peter says nothing earthshakingly new, but I imagine he employed a gruff tone as he admonished those who were stunned at the miracle they had just observed. Don’t we sometimes need someone to speak to us in a way that gets our attention? When I find myself bristling at a remark that hits home from someone who knows me well, I try to step back to see why I reacted so strongly. Often I realize they spoke a truth about me and to me!
Who am I? A faithful follower.
Reread Acts 3:12-23 and reflect on ways you can grow as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Do you consider yourself a witness to Jesus’ power? How can you manifest your faith? How is God speaking to you today? Choose a way you would like to increase in faithfulness, and record your commitment.
A repeating theme in scripture is our failure to recognize God’s work among us. In Acts, Peter declares that the death of Jesus happened because his fellow Israelites acted in ignorance. The psalmist decries the fact that so many people follow lies, yet God’s blessings for the faithful continue unhindered. John tells his audience to expect that the world will not recognize them as God’s children because the world did not recognize God to begin with. In Luke, Jesus appears to his doubting disciples. He proves the reality of his resurrection by allowing them to touch his body and by eating food in their presence. Only then do they feel certain that they recognize him. In what places in our lives do we not recognize God’s work?
• Read Acts 3:12-19. When have you initially bristled at someone’s remarks only to discover some truth about yourself as you reflected on your strong reaction? What did you learn about yourself?
• Read Psalm 4. How do you daily reinforce the idea that you are “more” rather than “less”?
• Read 1 John 3:1-7. When have you been an “upstander” for love on behalf of another? In what ways did that empower you to take more initiative to love?
• Read Luke 24:36b-48. To what do you look as a revelation of Christ’s presence?
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.