When Peter and John went to pray, they met a lame man on the way. He held out his palm and asked for an alm, and this is what Peter and John did say, “silver and gold have we not, but such as we have give we thee. In the name of Jesus Christ, stand up and walk.” And the man went walking and leaping and praising God.
There’s such an awesome song about healing and the beauty of the faith of the apostles after the resurrection, but there’s an important part of the story that I wish hadn’t been excluded from the children’s song. After the lame man starts walking and praising God, this is what the story goes on to say:
While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement.
But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?” (Acts 3:9-12)
One of the most amazing parts about following Jesus is that there is real, genuine power that enters the life of the believer: power to become holy and live righteously, power to be called sons of God, and even power to see miracles just like Peter and John.
But, and this is a big “but”, the power is not our own. It’s God’s. We don’t become superheroes able to do God’s work on Earth all alone. We become agents of His authority, His holiness, His righteousness, His healing, and most importantly His will on Earth.
On our own we are completely powerless to do anything except make bad decisions and destroy our lives and others’. But, and this is another big “but”, God has seen fit to redeem us through the death and resurrection of His Son, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, so that we can learn to love and obey our God, and within love and obedience there is incredible power to accomplish the Father’s will in our lives and others’.
This is truly good news. If you belong to Christ, you have gone from powerless to powerful overnight because you abide in Christ. The Spirit abides within you. And the Father is well-pleased to call you His child. You’ve gone from powerless to powerful because it is no longer your power or your piety that you rely on; it’s the Almighty’s power to accomplish His purposes.
Take heart beloved. It’s not you who must overcome the world; Christ did that already. You’re commission is to rely on Him and do the things He’s asked you: Love God with all your heart, soul, and strength. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. And share this good news with everyone, so that the powerless might be empowered even as you have.
Now go and shine brightly for the light has come!