Monday May 10, 2020
Scripture - Acts 3:12b-13 - Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus.
Theme - God is at Work Here
Devotion - First let's set the scene. We are listening to Peter offer a sermon at the Temple. That sermon explains to the crowds that have gathered the meaning of his healing of a man once disabled, now whole. Peter takes advantage of the attention that he is getting to divert attention away from himself. The social capital, trustworthiness, authority, attention a disciples receives is always used for others and not for personal gain.
In today's verse from this story Peter uses the attention he has garnered to connect the healing of the man to the mission of God & then to the crucifixion of Jesus. The man walks because the God who created all things, who called and blessed Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who lead the Hebrews out of slavery and lead Israel out of exile is still present and active. To the gathered crowd of those occupied and dispossessed by foreign powers (the Romans) this is good news. God is still actively working for the justice and peace of Israel.
Then Peter throws a curve at the crowd. God has been at work in Jesus. Peter refers to Jesus as God's glorified servant. The crowds think Jesus to be a failed liberator and shamefully crucified criminal. God is at work Peter tells them, in the person they rejected. God is still at work, Peter is saying because the very name of Jesus can make the broken whole and gather the rejected into new and healthy community.
Today's verse invites us to enter a story in which the life-creating work of God is not interrupted or hindered by death. God hinders death not the other way around. It reminds us that God's life-giving power is directed toward and through those who are rejected. And finally it reminds us that God's power can be unrecognizable even to those who watch and wait for it. God's servant may be unrecognizable. God's work done in places, people and ways we may not recognize, we may reject as unworthy.
Prayer - Sustain in us Lord an expectancy of wonder in your life-affirming, life-rescuing love. It is easy to doubt and difficult to maintain hope. Help us, like the healed man, to cling to experiences of your grace which gives us life. May we enter this day in expectation of finding you active in the places and people we least expect.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.