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.
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