Friday of Sunday after Ascension – Acts 4:1-12

| June 5, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Lame Man from Acts 3 at TempleActs 4:1-12

“By what power or by what name have you done this?”

When it comes to the apostles Peter and John healing a lame man and being asked by the rulers, the elders, and the scribes to give an account of this miracle, we expect them to say, “By the name of Jesus Christ (whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead), this man stands here before you whole.”

But if that same question were to be asked in a different, more personal context, what would our answer be?

“By what power or by what name have you done this?”

What if this question were asked not of the apostles Peter and John but of you?  What if it were asked not of a miracle of healing but of any of the good deeds that you have done today or will do today?  And what if it were asked not by the rulers, the elders, and the scribes but by the people in your life, or even by yourself?

These 2 situations, that of the apostles and that of yourself, are very different.  But I believe that your answer should still be the same as that given by the apostles.

“By what power or by what name have you done this?”

When some athletic stars are interviewed after a game in which they have shone particularly brilliantly, a number of them manage to sneak just such a profession, saying words like, “I want to give all the glory to God.”

But how often in our daily lives, when Jesus Christ works in us, do we remember to give thanks to Him and acknowledge Him to be the power or name by which we have done the good things we do?

When we are asked to give an account of the accomplishments in our lives, how often do we ascribe them to Jesus Christ?  I’m not saying we should obnoxiously trumpet Jesus Christ as the source of all the good we’ve done in every public forum in which we find ourselves.  But is He even on the radar screen in our thoughts?

If I’m unlikely to ever perform miracles such as healing a lame man, and if I’m unlikely to be hauled before the religious or civil leaders for such a miracle, then how does this passage apply to me?  Shouldn’t it teach me that just as Jesus Christ is the power and name by which the apostles could heal men, Jesus Christ is the power and name by which I do the good I do?

Granted, the good I do may be less spectacular than that of the apostles, but I too am a Christian, and so are you, presumably, if you’re reading this.

By what power do I love my wife and attempt to serve her throughout the week?  Jesus Christ.

By what name do I work to provide for my kids and give up some of the things I want to do so that I can spend time with them?  Jesus Christ.

By what power have I spent my life learning how to teach and then trying to teach as many people as much truth as I can?  Jesus Christ.

By what name have I labored to serve God in His house and show Jesus Christ to as many people as I can?  Jesus Christ.

Surely, as a Christian, you have done some good things in your life.  Think about some of them for a moment.  Before and after you have done these good things, how much has Jesus Christ figured into them, in your thinking?  Have He and His glory been your motivation?  Have you given Him the praise and thanks and glory when He has done a good work through you?

If it’s true that Jesus Christ continues to teach and do God’s works in this world through you, then what should your response be when He teaches and does these things?  Praise and thanksgiving and giving glory to His Name.

In the Gospels, Jesus Christ fed 5000 men with bread and fish, having His disciples help distribute.

In Acts 4, Jesus Christ feeds 5000 men with His Word, and they turn to Him.  This happened because when His disciples did His works in His name and by His power, they also spoke about Him.

In your life, Jesus Christ offers to feed those around you, if you will seek Him and His will, as He works in and through you, and as you proclaim that He is the power and name by which you have done these things.

Look today to see where Jesus Christ is working in your life, and when you have found Him in His works in you, then acknowledge Him as the power and name by which these things have been done.

Prayer:  O Lord, You made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that in them is, and You are the one who creates all good things in my life.  I ask that through Your Holy Spirit You would continue the ministry of word and deed begun by Your Son when on earth.  So fill me with a vision of Him that I would see You as You work in my life and be quick to give You the glory for every good work done in my life.  Amen. 

Point for Meditation: 

Meditate on the good works that Jesus Christ has done in your life.  As you reflect on these, respond to each one with praise or thanksgiving. 

Resolution:  I resolve to practice looking for Jesus Christ as He works in my life, and, when I have seen Him work, to give Him praise or thanks or glory. 

© 2014 Fr. Charles Erlandson

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Category: Give Us This Day

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