Power

Peter and John Heal a Lame Man- Acts 3:1-26

Theme: When you believe in Jesus, He gives you power to do hard things.

Key Verse: Ephesians 1:19-20- “This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead.”

Bible Story:

          He had felt helpless his entire life— for forty long years. He could do nothing for himself. He could not dress himself, he could not go to the bathroom himself, he could not fix his own food, he could not walk to the dinner table, he could not have a job.

          Why? Because he was a cripple. He had been born that way. His legs were twisted and useless. All his life he’d had to rely on others to help him.

          He was tired of it. They were tired of helping him.

          “Ready?” his neighbor asked.

          He sighed and nodded. Another boring day of hoping people would have mercy on him.

          His strong friend lifted him into his arms and carried him through the crowds. He felt like a baby. People stared at his dangling, misshapen legs. He was tired of being stared at. He wished he could be normal.

          His neighbor sat him down at his usual place at the temple gate called Beautiful.

          “Thanks again.”

          “You’re welcome. I’ll see you later.”

          He leaned against a wall as he smoothed his robe around his withered legs. He clutched a cup in his hands. He was ready.

          As someone passed by, he held up the cup, and with a pitiful look in his eye, said, “Can you spare a coin?”

          The man swished his white robe and walked by without a glance.

          These proud, wealthy men could easily drop a coin into his cup but didn’t. He hated begging.

          A stooped, old woman looked at him with compassion and dropped a coin in.

          “Thank you.”

          She nodded and passed on.

          He hated taking her money. It looked as if she needed it as much as he did.

          The day passed with nothing more to show than a few coins, barely enough to buy supper.

          The crowd thickened at three o’clock when it was time for the next prayer service in the temple. One last chance.

          He held up his cup. He recognized the same people who ignored him every day.

          But look! There were two strangers, men who looked strong and interesting. Perhaps they would help.

          He held up his cup. “Please, kind sirs, could you spare a coin for a poor, crippled man?”

          The men stopped and stared at him. He felt hopeful.

          “Look at us,” one said.

          The sun was bright as he squinted up into their faces.

          “My name is Peter, and this is my friend, John.”

          Surely these men would give him something.

          “I have neither silver or gold,” Peter said.

          His heart sank.

          “But what I have, I give to you in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene.”

          He had heard of Jesus Christ who had been crucified on a cross. There were rumors that He had risen from the dead.

          Peter continued, “Get up and walk.”

          What?!!

          Peter took him by the right hand and lifted him up. Immediately his feet and ankles were strong and straight.

          He couldn’t believe it. He was standing like any normal man. He grinned at Peter and John.

          They smiled back.

          But could he walk? Holding onto Peter’s arm, he took a step and another. My, this changed everything! This was a thousand times better than a coin in his cup. He jumped. He leaped. He shouted for joy. “Praise God! Praise God!”

          Still holding onto Peter, he walked with them into the temple. People stared. They recognized him. Astonishment showed on their faces.

          Soon a crowd had gathered.

          Peter said, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this? Why did you stare at us, as though by our own power we had made him walk? It was faith in the name of Jesus that made this man walk again.”

          Peter told them more about Jesus, blaming them, the Jews, for killing Jesus and nailing Him to a cross. “Repent,” he told them, “that your sins may be wiped out.”

          That day 5000 repented and believed in Jesus.

          And the beggar? His life was changed. Never did he have to beg again. But more importantly, he believed in Jesus too. How could he not? For firsthand he had witnessed the mighty power of God.

Application:

It was impossible for Peter to heal the crippled man on his own. But because of his faith in Jesus, Peter was able to do it.

And we have that same power in us when we believe in Jesus.

Have you ever had an impossible situation where you just couldn’t do something on your own? The same power that raised Christ from the dead is available to you too.

How? you may ask.

Let’s look at some examples.

          The principal brought a new girl to Ashley’s class. Susan Smith’s short, brown hair hadn’t been combed. Her dress was too small. Her sneakers had holes in both toes.

          The children stared. Someone yelled an unkind remark, and the class giggled. Susan looked as if she might burst into tears.

          Ashley had never seen such a messy girl. She felt sorry for her.

          At lunch time, Ashley sat in the cafeteria next to her best friend, Mary Lou. Mary Lou whispered, “Did you see that new girl?”

          Ashley nodded.

          “She’s creepy, isn’t she?” Mary Lou asked.

          “Well, she is a little messy, but you shouldn’t say unkind things about her.”

          “Yes, but did you smell her?”

          Ashley shook her head.

          “She makes me want to gag.”

          “Mary Lou!”

          “It’s true. Just wait and see.”

          Susan Smith walked slowly down the aisle, balancing a lunch tray. She looked scared and lonely.

          Ashley knew Jesus wanted her to be kind to Susan Smith, but she didn’t want to. If she was nice to Susan, her friends might not be nice to her.

          Jesus, I don’t want to be her friend. Please give me the power to do what I know I should.

          The children at Ashley’s table stared at Susan. Some whispered and pointed. As Susan looked for a place to sit, Ashley smiled at her. Susan headed for the empty chair beside Ashley. Ashley held her breath. Susan did smell!

          “Hi,” Ashley said. “It’s nice to have you in our class.”

          Susan’s face lit up.

          “Where are you from?”

          “Some little town you’ve never heard of.”

          “Why did you move here?”

          “My parents got divorced and neither wanted me, so I’m living in a foster home.”

          Oh! Poor Susan. No wonder she looked so awful. She was glad Jesus had helped her be nice to her.

What was the impossible situation in this story?

          Ashley didn’t want to be nice to the new girl, but she knew she should.

How did she get the power to do it?

          She prayed and asked Jesus to help her.

Here’s another situation:

          “Good news!” Mom said. “I just got a letter from my sister in California. She and Uncle Harold are going on a Caribbean cruise, and they’d like your cousin Marshall to stay with us. Won’t that be nice?”

          Phil scowled. He’d only seen Marshall once when they were both seven years old. Marshall was a spoiled brat. He hoped he had changed.

          “Now, remember,” Mom said. “Marshall does not come from a Christian home, so let’s show him how different our home is. Let’s pray that he would see Christ in us.”

          Phil hoped Marshall wasn’t as spoiled, or it would be hard being Christlike.

          Mom picked up Marshall at the airport while Phil and Ashley were at school. After school, Mom met them at the door.

          “Is Marshall here?” Phil asked.

          “Yes… Now, kids, you’re going to have to try extra hard…”

          “Where is he?”

          “In your room.”

          Phil headed up the stairs. When Mom warned, “Now, be like Christ.” Phil knew that Marshall was just as bad.

          Phil pushed open his door. Marshall was sprawled on Phil’s bed. He looked like a movie star with styled, blond hair, tanned, handsome face, and designer jeans. “Hi,” Marshall drawled.

          “Hi.” Phil looked at the room. Everything was wrong. First, Marshall was on his bed instead of the guest bed and had dumped his pillows on the floor. Secondly, Marshall had taken down his football poster and put up a creepy rock band. Thirdly, all of Phil’s underwear was dumped on the guest bed.

          Phil’s blood boiled. He didn’t want to be Christlike. He wanted to throw Marshall out.

          How could he be nice? It was impossible. Lord, please help me to act like you, he prayed.

          “You’re on my bed,” he said. “The guest bed is over here.”

          “I know, but I liked this view better. You don’t mind, do you? It’s only for two weeks.” His eyes held a challenge.

          Finally Phil said, “That’s okay. I’ll sleep over here.” He picked up his pillows and tossed them on the other bed. “Why did you dump out all my underwear?”

          “I needed a drawer to put my clothes in.”

          “I already emptied a drawer for you.”

          “I know, but I needed more room. I have lots of clothes, you know.”

          Phil felt like saying, “Well, goody for you,” but he bit his tongue. He gathered his underwear and stuffed it into an already full drawer. It would be a long two weeks. He would only survive with God’s help.

What was the impossible situation in this story?

          Being nice to an spoiled cousin.

How did Phil get the power to act like Christ?

          He prayed and asked God to help him.

What can you do when you have an impossible situation?

          Pray and ask God to help you. God can rescue you from impossible situations.

Sing, “Nothing is Impossible when you put your trust in God.”

Invitation:

You have the power to do impossible things because of God’s power. But God’s wonderful power is only available to those who belong to God. Do you? Have you asked Jesus to come into your heart and forgive your sins? If not, you can do it today.

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Beth Livingston

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