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Daily Devotion for May 10, 2011
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
"Stolen water is sweet,
and bread eaten in secret is pleasant."
But he does not know that the dead are there,
that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.
Acts 3:1-10 (ESV)
A Lame Man Healed
Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms.
And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.
And all the people saw him walking and praising God. Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Notes on the Scripture
Christ has gone. We expect that his power of working miracles, as signs that he was sent by God, would have gone with him. Yet here were have Peter healing a lame man, just as Christ would have done. The Gospels, especially John's Gospel, show us that these miracles have a specific purpose. They are not cheap tricks, but rather, signs to those who see them that the healer has a special status, given by God.
Peter also tells the man to get up and walk "in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth". Remember, in John 11:43, Jesus simply used the words, "Lazarus, come out!" Thus, Peter is not pretending to heal by his own abilities, or even by dispensation from God the Father. His healing is a sign that, although Christ is gone, the Holy Spirit remains, just as Christ had promised. To ease the transition from Christ's physical presence on earth, Peter can heal by Christ's authority. He has not been left completely alone, as Jesus had promised he would not be.
It is fundamental to our faith as Christians that Christ did not leave us alone. He is still with us; he dwells within us, when we are baptized, in the form of the Holy Spirit. Today, we do not necessarily see the kind of dramatic healing that characterized the period after Christ's ascension; that seemed mostly to form a transitional period, to cushion the shock of Christ's departure to those who had depended on his physical presence. Christ did not want the church to die from the trauma of his departure.
So, like Christ's miracles, Peter's miracle is not a magic trick designed to lure in a few witnesses. It is, rather, a sign that Christ's power has not departed with him. Fittingly, this power is displayed through the apostle whom Christ had named the rock upon which he would build his church.