Today’s Reading: Acts 3:7-8 (NIV)
7 Taking him by the right hand, [Peter] helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong! 8 He jumped up to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
When our children were young, they looked forward each summer to our annual family excursion to Six Flags®. This theme park was cost prohibitive, and we felt blessed to be able to go one time a year. In the early spring, we would begin saving our change in a large container on the bedroom dresser, just to purchase tickets for admission into the park. We would pick a summer Saturday and mark our family calendar, keeping it clear of other commitments. Every summer, the theme park would offer some new attraction, like a roller coaster, guest celebrity, or a new water ride. We would plan to go early in the morning and stay until dark. We didn’t want to waste one single minute of our designated day.
Often, we would stand in a long line at the entrance to the park, waiting patiently to get in. The children were anxious, jumping and down and squirming next to us. Jeff and I would pray we had saved enough change to pay the added costs from last year’s admission fee. One year in particular, our budget had been too tight and we did not schedule our annual trip. The children were disappointed when we told them we would not be going. We felt like we had let them down. Our friends Georgia and Don invited us to join them for day’s trip to the park, knowing that we went faithfully every summer. We politely declined their kind invitation, explaining that we just didn’t have the extra cash to take our family of five, but maybe we could plan a joint trip together next year. Georgia reached inside her purse and handed me five free tickets. I was so surprised! She smiled and said, “We received some free tickets at work and we really want to share them with you. Won’t you please go with us this summer?”
The most enjoyable trip we ever made to the theme park was the summer we gained free admission. We walked through those gates, delighted thankful, watching our children as they ran and jumped and skipped along the sidewalk to their favorite rides. It was one of the best gifts our family had ever received.
When Jesus Christ shed His blood to cover our sin, He purchased our free ticket into heaven. The man who was crippled from birth received Christ’s healing gift that day, and he leapt up with great joy and thanksgiving, walking and jumping for the very first time as he made his way through the Beautiful Gate and entered into the temple courts. He was instantly healed! God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ is free to all who will receive it today by faith. The price paid was greater than anything we could possibly comprehend, and yet, His present is for all generations, all people, everywhere.
Jesus Christ is standing at the entrance to the temple gate with your free ticket in His nail-scarred hand. Won’t you accept it today? Come and experience the full joy of the Father’s love through Jesus Christ, as we walk through heaven’s gate together.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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