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(Part 34)



April 3, 2013
Today’s reading: Acts 3:1-10

Faith in Jesus works wonders. Peter miraculously heals the crippled beggar in the name of Jesus. We too, as disciples of Jesus, can do his works and even greater ones (Jn 14:12). How can such faith result in working wonders?

We need to realize that a secular world does not look to such faith-instigated wonders. People, especially the poor and lowly, just look to their needs of the moment, to what they could reasonably aspire to. Thus the crippled beggar just “asked for alms.” (Acts 3:3b). Most people who are in need in fact just ask God to meet their immediate need, to relieve them of the pain of the moment. Many do not think about, or know about, the greater works that God can accomplish in their lives. They cannot see beyond the immediate need of the moment to the glory that could be. Thus it is up to those who really know Christ to supply such wonder-working faith.

Now for those of us who really know Christ, we can also fall into a mindset that will prevent our faith from working wonders. It is when we look at ourselves and our resources, and decide that we really do not have much to offer. Should Peter just have ended his encounter with the beggar as he said, “I have neither silver nor gold” (Acts 3:6a)? In the same way, we look at our time, talent and treasure, and decide that we can only do so much, and we correspondingly just strive for just as much. In such instances, our focus is all wrong! We are looking to ourselves, when we ought to look to God. We are assessing what we can do, when we should realize that we are mere instruments God can use to do His mighty works.

In our work for God, what we proclaim is the good news of salvation in Jesus. What we offer is a personal relationship with Jesus. As Peter said, “what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean” (Acts 3:6b). We have met and we know Christ, we are living Christ, and so we share Christ. The greatest need of a person is not silver or gold (or houses) but Christ. In fact, to give money or houses without Christ may only lead a person astray. But to give Christ even when there is no money or houses for the moment is to put a person on the road to experiencing the bountiful mercy and goodness of God. Thus, after receiving Christ, they would also “rise and walk.” (Acts 3:6c).

Why does God work wonders? Well, it is befitting an Almighty God. But it has a specific purpose in the work of evangelization. It is so that others who see or experience the wonders of God would be amazed and hopefully would then look to the God of wonders. If Peter had given money to the beggar, that would have been it. The beggar would just have thanked him (or beggars at times resent the pittance that people give). As it is, the beggar “leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God.” (Acts 3:8). The beggar would not just have mumbled a thank you to God, but he jumped with joy, shouting the praises of God.

What would have been an ordinary uneventful day, just like so many other moments in the lives of people in the world, became a momentous prod to evangelization. “When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with amazement and astonishment at what had happened to him.” (Acts 3:9-10). All the people witnessed the miracle, and they were amazed and astonished. The signs and wonders had brought them in touch with the Almighty.

We will be in many ordinary situations with ordinary people, many of them in need. It could be just another uneventful day. Or it could be a situation when God will work His wonders.
Let us have faith, as we continue to proclaim Jesus Christ the Nazorean.

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