Today’s Reading: Acts 3:12 (NIV)
12 When Peter saw this, he said to them, “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?”
I remember my very first surprise party. I was a Brownie, and my mother was one of the Brownie co-leaders. We wore brown skirts and white blouses with the Girl Scout® emblem appliquéd on the front pocket. I wore a brown beanie with a little, tiny tassel on top. I liked my uniform and was proud every time I got to wear it to school.
Brownies always wore their uniforms to meetings. It is a time-honored tradition, and I liked that a lot. Imagine my dismay, one Saturday morning, when Mom woke my little sister and me at 6am and told us to get in the car in our pajamas and hair curlers. We had no earthly idea why we were going anywhere in our pajamas, even though my mother was fully dressed. When we pulled up into the driveway of our Brownie troop leaders’ home, I was mortified. What in the world were we doing here so early in the morning in our pajamas? Mother ushered us into the house, where we found ourselves in the presence of all our Brownie friends, in their pajamas and robes too! It was meant to be a surprise pajama party with breakfast and party favors and silly games; yet, with cameras flashing and mothers laughing, I simply wanted to get back in the car and go home. I was so embarrassed and felt exposed and humiliated. My uniform was waiting for me, hanging in my closet. And I wasn’t wearing it! Could I actually be a brownie without the uniform?
I imagine, to some degree, the men of Israel must have felt the same way. They were witnesses to an amazing healing miracle, but just didn’t quite know how to process it! They had worshipped and studied the law and the prophets their entire lives. They grew up with this one, the invalid who had never been to walk before, and found he was suddenly running and jumping and shouting praises to God! His feet had been perfectly restored to wholeness. There was no sign of infirmity in this man’s body. When Jesus Christ reached out and healed the crippled man as Peter spoke, everything changed. How could this possibly happen? What had they missed?
Peter knew why the men were stunned. They did not yet know the Savior the way Peter knew Him. Peter realized the depth of Christ’s love when he experienced His forgiveness as he denied him three times during Christ’s trial. Peter understood that when Christ heals, he heals completely. By the spilling of His blood, Jesus was able to remove the façade, letting the truth of who we truly are become revealed in the Father’s sight. Peter knew that once human robes of self-righteousness were dropped, Christ can do above and beyond because He is Lord of all. He has ultimate authority over sin and death! And with a mustard feed faith and an open mind, He will heal you too.
In matters of faith, it is imperative that we learn to leave our comfortable religious uniforms hanging in the closet, and come to Christ just as we are. If that means you are coming to Him today in rollers and pajamas, so be it. He loves you and wants you to know Him all the more. There is no shame when we openly share our deepest hurts, anger and grief with the Master healer. He can take our broken hearts, imperfect bodies, and even our confused and shallow minds, and recreate them for kingdom work.
Come to Jesus just as you are. He is there with arms wide open, waiting to welcome you into the Father’s house.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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