Friday, February 10, 2017

Day 30: Acts 9:32-43 & Prov. 13:1-9 - Did the Apostles Do the Same Kinds of Works that Jesus Did? Do We?

Today's Reading: Acts 9:32-43 & Prov. 13:1-9

But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then, calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. - Acts 9:40-41, ESV

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father." - John 14:12, ESV

Did the Apostles Do the Same Kinds of Works that Jesus Did? Do We?

Today, we come to two amazing miracles perfoirmed through the Apostle Peter which very deliberately echo the miraculous works of Jesus. In case we didn't catch the parallels with the first miracle, Luke includes a detail in the second that is unmistakable. In Mark 5, Jesus raises a little girl from the dead, and He says to her, Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” (Mark 5:41) The parallels with Peter's words in Acts 9:40 could not be more striking.

Jesus had promised that His followers would do the same kinds of works that He did, and here we see Peter living out the direct fulfillment of this promise of Jesus. The miracles of the apostles served the same purpose as the miracles of Jesus, as validation of their God-given authority and the truth of their message.

So, why don't we see pastors doing these same kinds of miracles today? Well, today's pastors carry neither the authority of the Messiah nor of the apostles, except through the written word of God we proclaim. This word has already been fully established by miraculous attestation. The word we proclaim is the word God gave through the apostles, and the miracles we point to in support are their miracles.

However, God's people are still called to show the validity of our message through powerful works. The difference is that we are called to work together as the body of Christ to heal and serve in a way that shows the life-changing power of the Gospel at work within each of us and among all of us as the body of Christ. As Christians serve the poor, build hospitals, bring literacy and basic healthcare to the poorest parts of the world and provide for the needs of orphans and widows, we are doing the works that Jesus did and we are giving evidence to support the truth of the Gospel.

Heavenly Father, lead us by Your Spirit to do the good works that Jesus did, showing with our hands and feet the truth of the Gospel. Let us reach out and show love to those who need it most. Forgive us for our selfishness and give us hearts to care for those who need Your love. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Prayer Based on Proverbs 13:1-9:

A wise son hears his father's instruction,
    but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

Father, You have the best and wisest instruction for us,
    so let us listen to You and never harden our hearts against Your rebuke.

From the fruit of his mouth a man eats what is good,
    but the desire of the treacherous is for violence.

Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life;
    he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
Lord, You tell us again and again how powerful our words are,
    and we know how impossible it is for us to tame our tongues,
        so give us Your Hply Spirit to bridle our tongues and speak through us.

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing,

    while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

Father, we confess that we can be so lazy,
    but we do not want to miss Your blessing
        or neglect the work You give us to do.
Give us diligent spirits and willing hearts to labor in Your work.

The righteous hates falsehood,
    but the wicked brings shame and disgrace.
Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless,
    but sin overthrows the wicked.

Father, Your Son is our perfect righteousness,
    and in Him we are guarded in our ways.
Let sin never gain mastery over us,
    but keep us far from falsehood and establish us in Your love.

One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing;
    another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
The ransom of a man's life is his wealth,
    but a poor man hears no threat.

Father, we know that we have all we need in Christ,
    and that we are well supplied by Your grace for every need.

The light of the righteous rejoices,
    but the lamp of the wicked will be put out.

By Your grace alone, O Lord, we have the light of Christ in us,
    and by Your preserving grace, we will be kept in the light.
Make Your light shine through us into this dark world,
    that You may be glorified in our words and actions.
In Jesus' name we pray, Amen. 

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