Using the Broken
The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. Acts 4:1-2
Peter and John were heading into the temple when a man at the entrance gate, who had never walked, begged them for money. Peter said, “I have no money, but what I have I will give you! In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!” The man jumped up walked into the temple and gave thanks to God. The people who saw this gathered around them in Solomon’s Porch.
This drew the attention of the temple leaders who subsequently put Peter and John in jail. For what, healing a lame man, proclaiming the message of the Messiah? No. The religious authority was coming against a message of change. We’re uncomfortable with change, anything new becomes a threat.
But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand. Acts 4:3-4
Here is this man who has been crippled from birth and now he is leaping and praising God. He’s a dancing testimony to the power of God. Yet it didn’t sit well. Why? Because of the result. They weren’t getting the attention. 5000 men (then add the woman and children) are getting saved. This new church is getting just too big.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “We like the small church, it’s intimate and friendly. Those big churches are cold and impersonal.” In other words, “When it’s small, we become the focus, but when it’s big we feel we’re out of focus.”
They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Acts 4:7-10
They didn’t have a Peter and John problem they had a God problem. They failed to recognize that the greatest divider of the church then and now is taking our focus off God and putting it on the church.
Poor workmanship, or bad materials, even in the hands of a craftsman can result in construction destined for destruction. There is plenty of room to have trouble with the church leadership. However, much of the time it’s God we have a problem with because He is bringing about change. So rather than confront God who is the changer, we go after the change agents.
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13
Notice what they noticed. These were “unschooled, ordinary men.” Whoever you are God can use you! The qualifier is simple! Faith in Jesus, and the power of His name. God’s ability to heal was not affected by their education.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Often the greatest hindrance to my understanding is my education.” God uses ordinary people to accomplish extra-ordinary things! An intellectual might be able to logically explain what had happened, and then may be tempted to take credit for it. The one who can do the extraordinary recognizes that it isn’t their ability, but Gods.
Let me conclude on the flip side of this. There is no special premium on illiteracy. I’m confident that my Heavenly Father, like any father, is not pleased with deliberate, intentional ignorance! I believe that God expects us to “study” to show ourselves approved, a workman that does not need to be ashamed.
God uses broken people. Those who are not just broken physically, but those broken emotionally, relationally, even spiritually. In spite of the brokenness of his past, this man was used as a testimony of God’s love. God has not overlooked you in His plan either. In spite of the pain or how many pieces you have been broken into, God can put you back together and use you.
On that note, let me say, “I have no money, but what I have I will give you! In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!”
Until next time,