Thursday, April 4, 2024

Faith First


Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”  Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.

Acts 3:6-7

This week’s message is looking at Acts 3, and we’re picking up after a crippled beggar is healed.  But to get the context, we’ll be talking about how the crippled beggar is healed.  Peter and John are walking into the temple, the beggar is sitting just inside, and as Peter and John walk by, he asks them for money. 

This passage I read may very well be the second best known quote from Peter behind Jesus asking who they thought Jesus was, and Peter boldly responds with his “You are the Christ, the Son of God.” 

Here, the quote is, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give to you.  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”  A lot of us are probably familiar with that passage.  But what struck me as I was preparing the message this week is that the crippled beggar wasn’t healed when Peter said this.  It took an act of faith to bring about God’s healing.  In this case, it was Peter reaching out to the man, taking him by the right hand, and helping up.  Then, we see that instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.  And not until then. 

Peter had to show faith by reaching out to the man.  And maybe the man had to show faith by grabbing his hand and trying to get up.  But the important thing that struck me was that the faith had to be shown, before the healing was given.

There are quite a few other examples of this.  Someone being healed, but not until they act in faith.  I’ll just give two examples, the first we’ll look to the old Testament, in 2 Kings 5 and the story of Naaman.  Naaman, a powerful soldier, contracts leprosy.  Naaman’s wife’s servant was a believer, and encouraged Naaman to see the prophet Elisha.  Naaman apparently thinks nothing else has helped, there’s no cure, so I’ll try.  He gets a letter of introduction and safe passage form the king, and he goes. 

Elisha hears that he has come, but he doesn’t go to see him personally, he just sent a messenger telling him to go and wash in the Jordan River 7 times, and he would be healed.  That’s not what Naaman was expecting, and he actually got mad.  Verse 11 says “I thought he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot, and cure me of my leprosy.”  He was looking for something quick and easy.  God wanted to see an act of faith.  So he Elisha to have him wash in the Jordan River 7 times. 

Naaman fought and objected.  The Jordan wasn’t the cleanest of rivers, he even offered to go wash in some cleaner rivers closer to home, but finally conceded, went to the Jordan, and did what he was told.  And when he did, he was healed.  It took that act of faith before the healing came. 

Another example, and we’ll use leprosy again, this one in Luke 17.  Jesus is traveling along the border between Samaria and Galilee.  And as he was walking, ten men with leprosy met him.  They asked for healing, and Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priests so they would be declared clean.  The thing is, they weren’t clean.  Jesus didn’t heal them on the spot.  He told them to go and present themselves to the priests.  It wasn’t until they started on their way to see the priests, still sick, still covered in spots, still with leprosy, that they were healed. 

It took a step of faith for them to start on their way to the priests to show that they were clean, when they weren’t clean.  But when they made that step of faith, and started heading to the priests, then were healed, then they were clean.

We can come to Jesus for healing for a variety of things.  Can be health related, financial, relationship issues; anything that concerns us, we’re encouraged to pray over.  And sometimes Jesus just miraculously takes care of it.  But just remember, sometimes he wants to see that act of faith, first.  We need to step out, knowing God’s got this, knowing the healing is coming, even if it’s not here yet.  We need to step out, secure in the knowledge, in the faith, that God is healing even now.

And when God sees that faith, He can heal.

So don’t lose faith.  Just trust that God’s got this, whatever it is.  Just know that He’s already working, and you can trust Him to do what He’s promised.

Faith First

  Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”  Taking him...