Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In Acts chapter three, Peter and John were used by the Holy Spirit to heal a man who had normally been found sitting at the gate of the temple, begging. He was unable to walk, unable to work, unable to live a productive life in society due to his disability. We can safely assume that he was not the kind of intelligent and connected person for whom the ability to stand and walk would not prevent him from carrying out an occupation.
What’s the reaction when he is healed? Amazement, and rightly so! God has worked a mighty miracle. He has done something that we realize is impossible. What of the people gathered around? Jerusalem was a big city, crowded, and the gates of the temple were popular places to be.
The miracles continue in Acts chapter three. Not only is the man healed from his disability. He also is used to provoke questions, which are answered by the apostles. How did this happen? It happened through Jesus, who rose from the dead to redeem and heal. It happened because God chose to use the sin of the people of Jerusalem against Jesus for the ultimate good of them all, the death of Jesus on their behalf. This should rightly get all of our attention.
One miracle, healing a lame man, brings many more, as the Gospel is proclaimed and people believe, receiving eternal life.
What miracles are we looking for in our world? Do we think they are all showy? Do we think they are all elaborate attention-grabbers? I once received a letter from a man who said the greatest miracle in his public ministry had been when glowing rocks appeared on an altar and floated up and down in his church building. Of course, he didn’t say how this brought the gospel of Jesus to anyone. He wouldn’t see it as a miracle when God’s loving forgiveness is proclaimed and someone believes. He wouldn’t see it as a miracle when God’s Word gives someone direction in life, restores relationships, and guides people in their God-given vocations. No, he would overlook the less showy miracles. But we don’t need to.
May we always be ready to see the way the Lord speaks in plain and simple matters of life, through Word and sacrament, drawing many to himself.
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