RECAP Acts: The Acts of Jesus Continued . . .


From now until the end of the month we will be re-releasing highlights from our Wake-Up Call Acts journey together. Join us on December 1 when we begin our new series celebrating Advent—Protagonist by Matt and Josh LeRoy. 


Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Acts 3:7–11 (NIV)

Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade.


Acts chapter 3 is the big moment. It is the ultimate test. We know it would be no problem for Jesus to do this miracle. We saw him do it before. We also have it on good evidence Peter and John participated in miracles during their pre-crucifixion discipleship training period with Jesus. If we transport ourselves back to what I call the day after the day of Pentecost, we must locate ourselves in the place of not knowing what is going to happen. Here’s the test: Would the apostles be able to do the work of Jesus in the way of Jesus in the absence of Jesus being physically present? 

And even as I write this last sentence, the mind-bending epiphany hits me. It’s one of those moments when I feel like I finally, or at least more fully, actually believe what I believe. Look at that question again. 

Here’s the test: Would the apostles be able to do the work of Jesus in the way of Jesus in the absence of Jesus being physically present? There’s the problem . . . “the absence of Jesus being physically present.” That’s precisely wrong. Jesus is actually physically present. Remember our biblical cosmology meets physics class conversation the other day about the ascension of Jesus? Jesus did not move from the visible realm to the invisible realm. He moved from the seen realm of the earth to the unseen realm of the heavens. Just as he was physically raised from the dead, he physically ascended into heaven. Remember, a Jewish carpenter sits at the right hand of the throne of God in the heavens and rules the cosmos. 

Here’s the epiphany: By the outpouring of the Holy Spirit the unseen albeit physical presence of Jesus is made physically present in the actual bodies of his agents—on this occasion Peter and John. Because of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is physically present and active in the physical and active presence of his followers. Remember our working definition of the church—the presence of Jesus in the people of God for the sake of the world.

This is not a warm and fuzzy “spiritual” experience kind of thing. Otherwise, why did the Son of God tell us to eat bread and drink wine as though it were his body and blood? And here we envisage the full and true theology of the Eucharist, instituted in the upper room—not in a doctrine of transubstantiation wherein the physical properties of bread and wine turn into literal flesh and blood—but as the sacrament of kingdom transformation enacting the real and physical presence of the body of Jesus inhabiting the real and physical bodies of his followers turned agents. It’s not the bread and the wine that are transformed. It’s the people! 

Back to our question: Would the apostles be able to do the work of Jesus in the way of Jesus in the absence of Jesus being physically present? 

The answer, as we will see this week, is no. The apostles will not be able to do the work of Jesus in the way of Jesus in the absence of Jesus being physically present. Jesus is not physically absent. Because Jesus is physically present in and through the physical bodies of the apostles, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus will be able to do the work of Jesus in the way of Jesus through the apostles. The whole notion and imagery of the church as the body of Christ is not a neat metaphor. It is a quite literal and physical reality. 

I know. I know. This is a lot. I feel some of you getting frustrated. But aren’t you tired of benign theology? Aren’t you weary of going through the motions? Don’t you want to know and deeply understand what the Bible is actually saying? What if this is part of why we aren’t “getting” it? Aren’t you ready to see Acts chapter 3 come to life in your life and in our time? Aren’t you ready to do the things Jesus did and even greater things than these because he has gone to the Father? Friends, this is not a once upon a time story; nor is it a one-off occurrence reserved for the first-century church. This is the right here, right now reality of the New Testament church. We’ve just been in an incredibly long period of hibernation. This is why it is said,

Wake up sleeper! Rise from the dead! And Christ will shine on you! 


Lord Jesus, I am your witness. 

I receive your righteousness and release my sinfulness.
I receive your wholeness and release my brokenness.
I receive your fullness and release my emptiness.
I receive your peace and release my anxiety.
I receive your joy and release my despair.
I receive your healing and release my sickness. 
I receive your love and release my selfishness. 

Come Holy Spirit transform my heart, mind, soul, and strength so that my consecration becomes your demonstration; that our lives become your sanctuary. For the glory of God our Father, amen. 


Are you seeing the difference between the wispy sense of Jesus being spiritually present among us versus Jesus being physically present in our actual physical bodies? In other words, Jesus is not invisibly present in the air or next to us on the couch. He is physically present in our physical bodies. Are you seeing the myriad implications of this for our actual physical bodies as a living sacrifice? 


Today we will sing the great majestic hymn, “O Worship the King.” It is hymn 11 in our Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise.

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

7 Responses

  1. Jesus is no absentee. He’s always available to live in and through you and me.

    When lame Christians begin to honestly and humbly look at each other heart-to-heart we will behold the physical reality of “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Then we will dare to take each other by the hand and boldly say, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” We’ll be supernaturally empowered to begin walking, and leaping, and praising God every day in the Spirit. People will recognize us as the same folks who used to sit passively in beautiful church buildings and the world will be filled with wonder and amazement at what is happening to us.

    I woke up this morning with a new poem developing within me:

    When Christianity
    Is a programmed show
    There’s no room for
    God’s Spirit to flow.
    Christ’s living water
    Is too fantastic
    To be bottled up
    In Sunday plastic.
    Let’s dare be drastic
    And drink from God’s spring.

  2. Amen, JD! You’ve nailed it once again. Through our baptism into Christ Jesus and His living, incarnate body, the Church, we have truly received the Gift of the Holy Spirit, His Spiritual Gifts, and His Fruit. His Gifts and His Fruit empower His People to both individually and corporately manifest Jesus’s Real Presence in the world right now. And yes, I’m in full agreement with your description of what occurs when we participate in the sacrament of Holy Communion, the Eucharist. Through faith, Jesus is truly present in it. It’s much more than memorializing an event that happened two thousand years ago. We actually receive Christ in a sacramental (mysterious) way.

  3. Galatians 2:20
    I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

    Now, to live in this boldness of belief. All that’s required is a mustard seed of faith to overcome the mountain of doubt.

    Matthew 17:20
    He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

    Staying 💪’n Christ
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

  4. Since the first time JD discussed this passage the nickname, “Jumper” has stuck in my mind. I’m sure JD mentioned it first, but the juxtaposition of John (Jean) and Peter (Pierre) just resonated. Jean-Pierre just naturally becomes “Jumper!” I love the Lord’s sense of humor. Jumper!!!!

  5. It’s really amazing how this series of recaps can stir up additional thoughts on the same lessons. This morning’s lesson revealed this particular thought. IF, Christ actually dwells within our physical bodies through the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, how then can we be so nonchalant about the numerous divisions within the Church, the literal body of Christ, here on earth? In my limited understanding, this just doesn’t compute.

  6. If Jesus is truly our present and living Lord, we need to be led by God’s Spirit (the kingdom/government of God within us), not by religious hierarchy. Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension brought us to the place where we can now be directly Spirit-taught and Spirit-led. We no longer need to be caught up in and controlled by a religious organization (like the Pharisees and Sadducees were). It’s time we sought to be Spirit-taught. “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”

    Jesus told His disciples that when He is physically gone, the Holy Spirit will come and be inside them. Then He said, “I will come to you.” Paul put it this way: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

    Jesus said that the Holy Spirit “will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” He also said: “When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own, He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify Me because it is from Me that He will receive what He will make known to you.”

    John, speaking about the Holy Spirit, wrote: “You do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit — just as it has taught you, remain in Him.” The resurrected Jesus in the book of Revelation kept repeating, “He who has ears, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the ekklesias (Christ’s Spirit-led, participatory town hall meeting).”

    As Spirit-led and Spirit-taught people are brought to the same spiritual insights and revelations they are supernaturally connected heart-to-heart. For example, I am amazed how often I have a conversation with someone about the Lord and God’s Spirit has shown and is showing them the same things that He is showing me. Then in a moment, we find ourselves in a deeply heart-felt connection as we behold the risen Jesus in each other.

    It’s important that all Christians humbly share what the Spirit is showing them, not what they’ve learned from a sermon, a commentary, a class, a program, a curriculum, or a preacher. Jesus said the Spirit is speaking. We need to cultivate our ears to hear the Spirit of Christ so we can be united heart-to-heart in our faith. (When Christians argue and arrogantly disagree, we aren’t listening to and being led by the Holy Spirit. We aren’t reflecting and demonstrating Christ’s presence and love.)

    It’s vital that Christians are trained, encouraged, and released to individually hear and obey the Spirit of Christ. Then we will be led together into “the acts of Jesus continued” and people who come into our presence will have their hearts exposed and recognize Christ in and among us and say, “God is really among you.” (1 Corinthians 14:24 and 25.) Thank you, JD, for training us to hear and obey the Spirit.

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