Acts and Mission 14

Leaping.jpgThe Book of Acts records the missional work of God in various cities in the Roman Empire. Acts 3 is the story of a healing, the people praising God, and Peter’s clarification of what God is doing. As we read the Book of Acts in search of missional theology, we are reading The Acts of the Apostles (Abingdon New Testament Commentaries)
as our guide.

Postmoderns and traditional Christians stand (or leap) together one this one: God’s acts or events require God’s interpretation. Event and Word belong together. The event — healing — is now clarified by Peter in Word.

First point made by Peter is found in 3:11-16:

 While the beggar held
on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running
to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. When
Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise

you? 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. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned
him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. By
faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made
strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has
given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

At Solomon’s Porch we are to hear a witness to the saving activity of God in Jesus Christ. That witness involves these points:

1. The power is not from the people but from God.
2. Amazingly, Peter anchors this healing in the life, rejection-death of Jesus, and in his resurrection. The power at work, the witness from Solomon’s Porch, is about the saving work of God through Jesus Christ.
3. The heart of Peter’s message is the actual resurrection of Jesus Christ. The dead body came back to life.
4. Jesus is the Author of Life, and it is the Author of Life at work that brings life into the limbs of the crippled man.
5. Jesus’ name and faith in Jesus’ name brings on the power of God.

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  • T

    The thrust of Peter’s word seems to be that the resurrection, the current healing in Jesus’ name, etc., all combine to prove that God has chosen/is choosing Jesus (and his hearers have done the opposite.
    So, Scot, isn’t there a perpetual elephant in the room in passages like these and in most studies of Acts? Is the difference of ministry between what we see in the gospels and Acts (event-then-word, or power then proclaimation) and our ministries a problem or just a meaningless difference of method or approach or context for ministry? Or should we just ignore the elephant as we study Acts?

  • Brian

    For those of us who are deeply involved with disabled people the elephant is deeply troubling. It’s not a theoretical issue. Sermons have to deal with it.

  • Mike M

    That’s quite an ironic statement: “You killed the author of life.” Just one of those profundities that makes me love that story even more.
    I’m also missing something about the elephant. I think you mean the inability of today’s pastors to produce a healing miracle then expound on it as opposed to preaching about miracles and then expecting one to happen. Is that close?