Monday, December 15, 2008

Exuberant commotion... Advent of Joy #15

“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer–at three in the afternoon. Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.
When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him”

Acts 3:1-10

Can you imagine being there that day in the temple? You look up and there is a man that has been crippled for as long as you’ve known him, leaping and jumping, walking, clinging to two men, praising God at the top of his voice!

I have always loved this story.

I love the man’s exuberance. He wasn’t shy about what happened. He had never known what it was like to walk, run, or play with other children growing up. He had never known what it felt like to be normal, a husband and father, working a day’s labor, as an adult. He just sat and begged for money from those going into the temple. He had to sit where he was put.

Imagine the shame in that. He didn’t look at anyone, he just asked for money. After all this time, he probably didn’t want to look at the rejection and loathing in people’s faces. Remember at that time it was thought that either the child or the parents had sinned if there was a birth defect. He was an outcast in his whole community. He was identified by his crippled legs.

No wonder Peter had to tell him to look at them. He probably was keeping his head down, expecting another rejection. When someone actually took notice of him, and asked him to look at them, to him it must have been like and invitation to a relationship.

Little did he know, that was exactly what he was getting. An invitation into a relationship.
Peter said that he couldn’t give him silver or gold, but could give him what he had. He had Jesus. He knew the healing power of Jesus. Peter himself had rejected Christ, but been restored by Him. He knew the healing and mercy of His Savior. So he gave that same healing and mercy to the crippled man.

The man’s response. That is what I want my response to be. I want to respond to God’s healing the same way that man did. He ran and lept and praised God. He was loud and filled with such joy that he couldn’t keep silent. Later verses tell us that all the people were astonished and came running to see what the commotion was about.

This man made a commotion in all his joy!

And his joy was contagious.

In Chapter 4:21b-22 it said that all the people were praising God for what had happened… because it was obvious that this was a miraculous healing… from God.

Oh that instances of our healing would cause us to make a commotion in all our joy!
I want to dance in the streets before the Lord, the way David did when the Ark of the Covenant came back into Jerusalem! I want to jump and shout and leap for joy at the way God has healed me. He has shown up in a mighty way in my life. He has healed in a mighty way.

I know the feelings of being released from a prison like this man was. His was the prison of physical health. Mine was a prison of emotional and mental health. The weight is gone, the feelings of being trapped are gone. I am finally free to be who God has called me to be.
The joy that man felt to be free, and the joy I feel are the same.

I want my joy and exuberance to be known!

I want to make a joyful, exuberant commotion!

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