I have an amazing wife.
I am not too proud to admit it that she is indeed the better half of us. I love how she teaches me to be more compassionate. I love how she laughs at all my jokes (mostly). And for the sake of this post, I love how she loves to watch superhero movies with me.
Yes! I find that amazing about her! Laugh if you will…it’s the truth! I find it amazing!
We love to watch the hero face insurmountable odds in the face of danger. We love to see the hero be human, but also be more than human. It pulls at the heartstrings to see a valiant, self-sacrificing individual do something for the greater good of another.
And it is simply awesome when the time comes for the superhero to call on his or her superpower and in doing so they save the day! I mean it just gives me chills thinking about it! It might be super strength or indestructibility! Whatever their superpower, they call on it in their time of need, put it on display, and the onlooker’s witness this superhero do what they do best!
Be honest. Whether you like superhero movies or not, at some point in your life, you have likely wished you had some super power! Even the ladies! It’s easy for boys. Growing up, reading comic books and watching superhero cartoons, these were options of who we were going to be when we grew up!
I mean think about it, wouldn’t it be super cool to be able to fly? Think of the money you’d save on commuting expenses? Or what about super strength? You could carry those totes of kids clothes into your attic, stacked three layers tall, all with one arm!
I’d be lying if I haven’t tried to do that and call on my imaginary super strength!
Or what about being able to pick things up with your mind? Whoa! Now there’s a superpower! I’m thinking multi-tasking here! I could be sitting on my couch, playing my PS4 (some sort of superhero game of course), while I am loading the dishwasher, running the sweeper, doing laundry, all before Nicky gets home!
Yup! Super husband right here, baby!
Sadly, though, I can do none of those things. I don’t have the superpower of flight. I don’t possess super strength. And I definitely can’t multi-task! (true confession right there!) I am an ordinary guy who clearly wishes he could do those things.
But that doesn’t mean I’m without superpowers. God gives us something so much more than superpowers. And what we are about to find out is that it is not so much a WHAT…but a WHO.
Let’s examine Peter. Early on in his life, he was impulsive. He often opened his mouth without thinking about what he was going to say before he said it. (Hmm, sounds like most husbands…including myself!) While he had times of great courage and confidence in Jesus as when he walked on the water, he also had times of being a coward and no confidence at all as when he denied Jesus three times.
But all that is behind Peter now. And that’s where our story starts today in the third chapter of Acts. Have you found your seat yet in the theater? Have your popcorn ready? The movie is beginning!
Chapter three opens with a crippled man being carried into the temple. The Bible says he’s been crippled since birth. This is significant as we move through the story. Now, this was customary. It was expected that “the little guys” that couldn’t take care of themselves, would be taken care of by others. And so like every other day, this crippled man would be carried into the temple in hopes of receiving some money to provide for his needs. His clothes were likely tattered. He smelled worse than the south end of a north bound mule. People likely passed him every day. Some were so used to seeing him that they became immune, able to ignore him while they went onto more important matters, like praying. Others may have stopped and had pity on him and threw a couple coins his way, but never getting close enough to really engage him.
Then we have Peter and John. I can imagine the crippled man looking around. It’s been a slow day. The economy is not doing good. And he’s not been given enough money in the past week to eat a single full meal. He then notices two figures who are walking a lot closer his way than most do. And there’s something different about them. He can tell they are Jewish, but that’s not what’s different about them. He just can’t seem to figure it out. Whatever it is, they are coming toward him, in deep discussion about something.
Here’s his chance! He leans forward, cup in hand! Not many people anymore get this close to him. And he sees Peter and John about to enter the temple.
“When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he began to ask them for a gift.” Acts 3:3 CEB
“Look at us!” Acts 3:4 CEB
The man turns his eyes in expectation of receiving something to meet his needs. Little did he know, that was about to happen in a big way!
“Peter said, I don’t have any money, but I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, rise up and walk!” Acts 3:6 CEB
And in that moment, Peter reaches down, grabs the mans right hand, and pulls him up. And at once the man’s once crippled legs become strong enough to not only support him, but for him to jump up!
Now think about this for a second. A baby, when born, cannot walk. The baby possess the ability to learn to walk. The key word there is to learn. This man has been crippled since birth. He’s never walked. He never learned how. Yet instantly his legs and mind begin working correctly, in sync with each other! He instantly can and knows how to walk!
If this were me, I’d be doing some dancing (Nazarene safe dancing of course!) I mean, come on! I can now do something most take for granted and I’ve been able to do my whole life!
The world of possibilities is now open to me.
And he takes one such possibility and enters the temple! Maybe he wants to pray. Maybe he wants to witness the fact of his being healed. Or it could be that he just wanted to praise God. Regardless, the temple area in which this was all taking place was packed with people from all over. And the onlookers took notice. They recognized this guy as the crippled guy they’ve always known. And they were…
“…filled with amazement and surprise at what had happened to him.” Acts 3:10 CEB
The implication of amazement is not at the sign and miracle itself. It’s that this amazement has the potential to lead to curiosity and deeper reflection. And that’s just what happens!
Peter notices their amazement, their surprise. And all these people begin to gather around Peter and John. And the once brash, impulsive Peter gives a sermon powered not by him, but by the One dwelling within him.
“Why are you starring at us as if we made him walk by our own power or piety? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-The God of our ancestors-has glorified his servant Jesus.” Acts 3:12-13 CEB
“His name itself has made this man strong. That is, because of faith in Jesus’ name, God has strengthened this man whom you see and know. The faith that comes through Jesus gave him complete health right before your eyes.” Acts 3:16 CEB
Peter makes it plainly clear who gets the credit for this. It was God. The same power that enabled Jesus to rise from the dead just caused this crippled man to rise from his previous life on a mat. And it’s this power that lives inside of Peter.
And it’s this power that lives inside of you and I.
Events like this get attention. They do in the movies and they do in real life. And in chapter four there were many who believed in the name of Jesus and the Bible says that their number grew to about five thousand! Wow! What a sermon!
Which is exactly what the Sadducees were thinking also, only in a different connotation, as they called in the temple police to arrest Peter and John. And they stay in prison all night.
The next day, Peter and John find themselves before some pretty powerful, rich, intelligent, and influential leaders. I suppose to put it into terms we could understand today, imagine you are brought before the Supreme Court Justices of the United States of America. They are the ruling body in the land.
So Peter and John find themselves being interrogated.
“By what power or in what name did you do this?” Acts 4:7 CEB
And its this question that brings us to the crux of this post. Peter replies…
“Then Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, answered, “Leaders of the people and elders, are we being examined today because something good was done for a sick person, a good deed that healed him? If so, then you and all the people of Israel need to know that this man stands healthy before you because of the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene.” Acts 4:8-10 CEB
The council has been caught by surprise. Here is Peter. No college. No schooling. No training. I mean, the dude is a fisherman. Yet he talks with a confidence and authority. What is really cool is that the Bible says that…
“They also recognized that they had been followers of Jesus.” Acts 4:13 CEB
They identified Peter and John with Jesus BECAUSE of the power within them. It was not anything that flowed from Peter and John alone. It could only have come from the fact that they knew Jesus! And they couldn’t deny it!
The superpower that Peter had was not his own. He didn’t own it. He allowed himself to be owned by it. He turned everything over to the Holy Spirit, not the what, but the WHO that supplied him with power. He was not thinking about what he could only do. That would produce failure for sure in this story. He was thinking not of himself, but of Christ living within him.
And Christ just proved to these guys that he was indestructible! There’s a super power right there! He couldn’t be killed! Peter had full confidence that the same power. It could not be stopped. No Sanhedrin, no Sadducees, no Pharisees, no one.You and I have that same power in our lives if we have admitted our sins, believed in Jesus, and chosen to follow him. You and I have that same power.
You and I have that same power in our lives if we have admitted our sins, believed in Jesus, and chosen to follow him. You and I have that same power.
Now some may say, “Well, we don’t see miracles like that anymore, so do we REALLY have that same power?” Those miracles happen EVERYTIME we allow the love of Christ to flow through us and into someone else. I might be splitting hairs here, but I see the man being healed as a sign, but the miracle happened after the sign. The man began praising God. The five thousand called on Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
That was the miracle.
And it happened because of the power of the love of God that so dwelt inside of Peter and John.
The crippled man’s life changed forever. **The world of possibilities is now open to him.** When we allow the perfect love of Christ to flow through us and into others, the world of possibilities opens up to them when they too accept His love.
So what are you doing with your super power? Yea, I know, it’s not flying or super strength. It’s SO MUCH BETTER!
Don’t waste it! You have the power within you to change someone else’s life. It’s really so easy. Jesus made it really simple in Matthew 22:37-38.
Love God. Love others.
Our super power is this very thing. The ability to love as Christ loved! It’s what holiness is all about. It’s a perfect love that is fully alive inside of every believer. It’s a super power that we call on daily. And when we do, onlookers take notice. They see us displaying this superpower. They see a love that is nothing like the rest of the world has ever shown them. It’s a self-sacrificing love that wins every time!
Think about it? Jesus never won someone over to him by arguing theology. Neither will you or I. People are won over by love and not a love that is owned by us, but by a love that owns us, that motivates us, that drives us.
His perfect love.
It was this same love that flowed through Peter, that restored the crippled man’s legs, and that saved more than five thousand for the Kingdom.
Believers! We have that same power. Don’t waste it! Take every opportunity to show the love of Christ. And if you are not a believer and would like to be, you can have this same love in your life. It’s really simple.
– Admit that you’ve sinned and disobeyed God (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23)
– Believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again. His blood paid for your sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 5:8; John 3:16)
– Choose to trust only Jesus to forgive your sins. You cannot do it on your own. (Romans 10:13; John 3:18)
When you place your trust in Jesus only to save you, you receive forgiveness, peace with God, and His love that so fills your life that it changes you from the inside out.
Place all your confidence in Jesus. His love is all the superpower that you need!
Not gonna lie…It’s the BEST superpower I have!