A report released in 2005 by an organization called the Bible Literacy Project suggested that young Americans know very little about the Bible. That probably did not come as much of a shock. And while the report has importance, but then first things first, another fair number of Americans do not see why teenagers need to know anything at all about the Bible. And some of these same people may profess to be Christians.
“Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”
(Acts 3: 12-26)
This lesson in miracle making started with a disclaimer from the two Apostles. They stated that it was not due to any power they possessed on their own. The power was Christ’s. And the purpose of the miracle was not to glorify them – but was a proof of the source of the power. It was a sign that Jesus had in fact been resurrected, was indeed God, the Anointed One and the prophesied Messiah. The power of Christ, though recently crucified, was not diminished in any way. Rather it had increased. He had told his Apostles at his ascension, “all authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth.” As we are prone to ask here on occasion: Exactly how much is all? It seems that all authority included the powers granted to his Apostles by God through the Holy Spirit; and in this case part of that authority was over the construction of bones and muscle along with the instantaneous granting of the ability to walk for a man who, as we said earlier, had never taken a baby step. All the while, two of the twelve men who displayed the same powers Christ had used to heal were again being displayed and introduced as his chosen ambassadors to the people of Jerusalem in the working of the Holy Spirit through their hands. This all took place in midafternoon and caught the attention of everyone present, including the High Priest and his kinsmen. They would soon note that they could not deny a notable miracle had been done. Neither could anybody else.
The man was not healed because he was a good fellow, or Christ felt sorry for his condition – but in order to glorify Christ and the Word of God. It was done to point those observers and participants toward the one Way of Truth. Many responded. But some did not: including the High Priest, the Chief Priests and their families.