5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.6 But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.”
The Book of Acts details more than just the history of the early Church, but also the identity crisis of a nascent Church called to be set apart and sanctified. Christians no longer labored under the expectations and logic of the present world but were thrust into a reality where they found their joy in afflictions and persecutions and praised God all the more for it. This attitude was in stark contrast to the material and self-oriented culture that prevailed in their (and our) period. Amidst these radical changes we see a man lame from birth. A man who from birth was deemed lesser because of his affliction and had taken on the role that the logic and wisdom of the world thought he was worthy of: begging. It says he “fixed his attention on them expecting to receive something from them”. Peter, motivated by the wisdom and knowledge of God, offers him the cross instead to fix his attention on and the man receives true spiritual and physical healing. The world said this man was not worthy in its eyes but God deemed him worthy by the sacrifice of his own Son.
How often do we labor under the logic and wisdom of this world? Do we remember the transient nature of this world and that God is truly able to heal? Do we remember that we are purchased with the precious blood of Christ and therefore hold incredible value for our Father? Both believers and unbelievers undergo trials and affliction but our afflictions are our means of glorifying God. Jesus himself answers the disciples questions as to whose sin, his or his parents, caused a man to be born blind, by saying “[Jesus answered,] ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.” (John 9:3, NRSV) Consider what we are going through as a challenge to be joyful and as an opportunity to have God’s works revealed in us. The wisdom and logic of the world tell us our affliction is a blight meant to reduce us to a low estate, but the wisdom of heaven tells us that it is an opportunity to persevere and overcome.
Dear God, help us to understand our suffering and trials in the context of your kingdom and love. Help us to find joy in our suffering and have Your works revealed in us, for our hope is in the love you have given us. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: When we confront affliction let us approach it with the wisdom of the Kingdom of Heaven, knowing that it has a purpose and that we are baptized in a spirit that is meant to overcome.
PRIESTHOOD: THE ANOINTED MINISTRY Exodus 40:12-16 Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting... wash them with water. Then dress Aaron in the sacred garments, anoint him and consecrate him so he may serve me as priest (Exodus 40: 12-13). Priesthood among the people of God was a divine command and initiation. God wanted some people to be separated for the special ministry among his people. God appointed Aaron and his descendants to take up this kind of ministry among the people of God. Priests are always separated and appointed as channels that connect God with his people. All throughout the history of Israel, priests played an important role in connecting people with God and to lead and guide them in the statutes of God. But there are incidents in the Bible where the priests failed in their duties and that led the people to go away from God. So the priests have a special and significant ministry to perform in this world among his people. Two important things
Community Formation Around Resurrection Experience Acts 23:1-10 Vinod Johnson Carmel MTC, Boston, MA 6 When Paul noticed that some were Sadducees and others were Pharisees, he called out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” Sometimes, the only thing that keeps you going through a brutal winter is the hope for the spring. It may have been a hard hope to hold on to this particular year in New England - a year in which Boston considered dumping not tea, but the ever growing mounds of snow into its harbor. And yet, the waist deep snow has dissolved away. White desolation has given way to increasingly visible green shoots of spring. A resurrection is at hand! In this passage, Paul tries to defend himself before the Sanhedrin Council. He seeks to drive a wedge between the Pharisees who believed in resurrection and the Sadducees who did not; even though neither believed in the resur
Revelation for Liberation Acts 27:18-26 Sherine Thomas Long Island MTC, NY 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest raged, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. “After winter comes the summer. After night comes the dawn. And after every storm, there comes clear open skies” so said a Scottish clergyman from the 1600s. It’s been said, that hope can sometimes be the most dangerous weapon. However, it’s sometimes the hardest weapon to carry when you’re living with the loss of a loved one, something that almost feels like a terrible nightmare that’ll never go away. It’s a weapon difficult to carry when day in and day out no one seems to hear or see those tears that are shed or silent cries that are made during a heartfelt prayer. It’s a weapon difficult to carry as you see your loved one lying on that hospital bed. It’s a weapon difficult to carry as you search and seek out answers to tell a child as to why they’ve been a