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April 27

Acts 4:1-13

1 While they were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple police, and the Sadducees confronted them, 2 because they were annoyed that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 So they seized them and took them into custody until the next day since it was already evening. 4 But many of those who heard the message believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. 5 The next day, their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem 6 with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and all the members of the high-priestly family. 7 After they had Peter and John stand before them, they began to question them: “By what power or in what name have you done this?” 8 Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders: 9 If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man, by what means he was healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing here before you healthy. 11 This Jesus is the stone rejected by you builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.” 13 When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus. — Acts 4:1-13

Ordinary People Who Do Extraordinary Things in Christ

by Elizabeth Brown

Since 1977, the father-son team Dick and Rick Hoyt have been inspiring athletes and the disabled around the world, as they compete in 5K’s, half and full marathons, duathlons, triathlons, and even the most challenging Ironman. Rick was born a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy in 1962. When he was 13, he asked his father if he could run in a 5-mile benefit race for a friend who was paralyzed in an accident. Although Dick, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air National Guard, was in shape, he was not a long-distance runner. Still, he was touched by his son’s giving spirit, so he started training. That race was the beginning of Team Hoyt, the incredible 1000+ race journey of two ordinary men going beyond what is easy to bring purpose to each other and encouragement to the world.

Peter and John were ordinary men. They were fishermen from Galilee who had no education, no social standing, no outstanding talents. Their experiences were limited. They lived and worked as they had been reared in the unremarkable town where they had lived all their lives. On the eventful day that Jesus invited them to become His disciples (Matthew 4:18-22), they began an uncommon journey, going beyond the conventional life, to bring Jesus’ radical message of God’s love and redemption to the world.

In Acts 3:1-10 Peter heals a man who has been physically disabled since birth. He sees beyond this man’s need for money to his need for wholeness, physically and spiritually. He chooses to bless the man not with just a few coins to sustain him another day, but with an entirely new way of living and believing. As news of this miracle spreads, Peter and John are given a platform to tell about the work, salvation and resurrection of Christ, bringing 5,000 men to faith in the Lord.

When the Sadducees heard about the miracle and the words of Peter, they became outraged and imprisoned Peter and John. The primary tenet of their sect denied bodily resurrection and life after death. However, at trial and upon hearing Peter give a moving profession of the authority, deity, and resurrection of Christ, the Sanhedrin marveled that such ordinary, uneducated men could speak with a courage and confidence that rivaled the most eloquent among them. They remarked that these followers “had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

What transforms us from ordinary to extraordinary is being in the presence of Jesus. When we come into His Presence through prayer, study, or ministry, we are empowered by His Spirit to do the incredible. He compels us to proclaim Christ as Lord, despite our timidity. We encourage others. We are courageous. We bring healing in His name to those who are hurting. And to those who are skeptical or critical of our faith, we draw their attention to the risen Lord. 

Praxis

  1. Do I take time to come into His presence?  The Son invites us into His Father’s throne room! Practicing stillness, prayer, and mindful Bible reading bring us into communion with Christ.
  2. What is your ministry? How do you go beyond the ordinary to show the love of Christ to others? The smallest act of kindness can be extraordinary to someone in need.