The Acts of Jesus

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Acts 3:11–16 (NIV)

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. When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, 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? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.

CONSIDER THIS

“The Spirit of Jesus in me greets the Spirit of Jesus in you and brings us together in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.”

I hope you are enjoying our new Sunday Series on the Wake-Up Call (I mean the Daily Text). In case you missed it, we are walking you through the book we were privileged to publish by the late E. Stanley Jones, In Christ. Our own Micah Smith, who is a bit of an ESJ aficionado herself, is doing the recordings. So yesterday, this bit captured me.

Our religion is not an “it”—a system of thought, worship, ritual, institutions—these are built up around the Person of Christ and may be more or less Christian. Our religion is “He.”

This is what I love so much about today’s text. If ever there were a moment for two people to start a franchise or a multi-level marketing business or to become “influencers” or worse, “Holy Spirit influencers,” this would have been the moment. They had the audience. They were about to have the thing money can’t buy, “word-of-mouth marketing.” They had the data, the certifiable verification of a bonafide miracle, the whole thing. Beautiful Gate today, Coliseum tomorrow, forty-city tour this fall with any worship band they wanted. 

Look what happened instead:

Fellow Israelites, 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? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. 

I want you to notice what Peter did not say to the onlookers who had seen this incredible miracle. He renounced his own power and character. Neither did he say, “Look what the Holy Spirit did.” Neither did he point to God “using them” to do this act. Instead he essentially said this one word:

JESUS. 

This is not us. This is our God and yours. This is Jesus.

The clarity and simplicity of this declaration cannot be overstated. The entire scene is trinitarian to the core—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—but look how the apostle witnesses to what happened:

By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.

I remember hearing a preacher once say we shouldn’t call this book the Acts of the Apostles, because it was not the Acts of the Apostles. Instead, he said we should call it the Acts of the Holy Spirit. I liked that at the time. I don’t like it anymore. As I read the Book of Acts, if we were going to call it anything else it would be this:

The Acts of Jesus. 

This is not to diminish the Holy Spirit; not at all. This doesn’t happen without the Holy Spirit. It is to do what those first apostles did in the wake of such acts—witness to Jesus. It is to do, in fact, what the Holy Spirit always wills and works to do—witness to Jesus. There is a vast difference between an influencer and a witness. 

Yes, the Acts of the Apostles are the Acts of the Holy Spirit, but the point of it all is they are the Acts of Jesus. They have one crystal clear mission: To turn our eyes upon Jesus. No influencers. No marketing. No tours. No merch. Just Jesus. 

Indeed Stanley. Thank you.

Our religion is not an “it”—a system of thought, worship, ritual, institutions—these are built up around the Person of Christ and may be more or less Christian. Our religion is “He.”

Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory (1 Timothy 3:16).

Still day one. 

THE PRAYER

God our Father, who with your son Jesus Messiah, fills us with the Holy Spirit, thank you for the miracle and the mystery of the day of Pentecost. And thank you for today, and that it is only the day after. We want to see Jesus. We want to see him in each other. We want to see him in the beggar lame from birth. We want to see him in every conceivable way. We want to be his witnesses. We want our lives to be so caught up in his that people mysteriously sense they have been with him when they have been with us. This is our ambition—to be his witnesses. Holy Spirit, make it so. Praying in Jesus’ name, amen. 

THE QUESTION

Just Jesus. Is it that simple for you? 

P.S. In case I wasn’t clear. . . 😂

I want you to take the Holy Spirit Course later this month. I am bringing some powerful Jesus witnesses with me. Dan Wilt will be there. Tim Tennent, Rica McCroy, Steve Seamands. And all of this in only three sessions. Acts of Jesus will ensue—guaranteed. How do I know? Because Jesus will be there. It really is that simple. COME ON!!!

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

4 COMMENTS

  1. My favorite fireworks
    Are the ones
    The living Jesus
    Continually ignites
    In my heart.
    There’s no freedom
    Like the inner freedom
    That Jesus freely gives
    To all who will
    Daily surrender
    To His will.

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