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    Prayer and fasting 21 days – Acts 3 

    Peter and John were able to heal the beggar because they did three things.  First they listened to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and relied entirely on the Spirit’s power.  Second, they noticed him – they looked naturally and did not turn away in disgust but loved him, and they looked supernaturally and saw what God wanted to do.  Third, they kept Jesus central – they spoke in His name, with His authority and relied on His power.  Later Peter took the opportunity of a crowd to explain the gospel – his explanation is all about Jesus!  His message is to call people to Jesus.

    Ask God to lead you by the Spirit and to impact the lives of people around you.  Pray He will enable us to listen, to notice and to keep Jesus central.

    Further reflection

    How did Peter and John heal the beggar and how did they know God wanted to heal him?  They copied Jesus their teacher and did the same as Him.  Sometimes we think of Jesus, who was wholly God and wholly human, as being completely different from us and miss the key point of the Incarnation.

    Paul says in Phil 2:7 that He made Himself nothing by taking on the form of a servant.  One reason for doing so was to be our example in godly character.  Another was to be our example in supernatural living.  Both require the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

    In John 5:19 Jesus makes clear that He could only do what He saw the Father doing.  Many times in the gospels we read of Jesus doing things in the power of the Spirit or by/through the Spirit.  Even after His resurrection, in Acts 1:2 Luke records that Jesus gave commands to the apostles “through the Holy Spirit.”  If Jesus did nothing in isolation, we cannot.  But if Jesus in human form depended on the Holy Spirit then we also depend on the Spirit.  So if Jesus could do miracles, we can!

    The key things Peter and John had learned from Jesus were a) we can do nothing without the Spirit, b) we should only do what we see Father doing and c) to go through each day paying attention, noticingthe people around and listening to the Spirit’s voice whispering “This one …heal him!”

    The gospel, the good news of Jesus, includes healing.  It is not the whole gospel but it is an important part of the package Jesus announced in Luke 4:18-19.  If it was important to Jesus in declaring His mission statement, it is important for us too.

    If healing is part of the gospel, we sell people short if we do not listen carefully to the Spirit and obey His prompts to reach out, lay on hands and declare healing in Jesus’ name.

    But notice, they were together, working as a team.  Peter did the speaking but he did not say “Look at me” but rather “Look at us.”  If we are in Christ we are part of the Body of Christ and it is the whole Body that has His authority, not just a few anointed individuals, however much we appreciate and honour those individuals who take a lead in ministering.  Revival will come not from a few anointed leaders but through congregations of believers who know who they are in Christ and reach out in love and obedience to His call. 

    Chris Horton, 05/09/2017