The Discipleship of Memory and the Apostolic Imagination



Acts 3:6–10 (NIV)

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 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.


“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 don’t know about you, but I’m still chanting! 

Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up out of that grave! Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up out of that grave! Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up out of that grave! 

Okay, we are back to our campsite at the Beautiful Gate. And we still need to attend to this:

He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.

Can we take a minute here and remember this scene? A man lame from birth—which means he never took a single step—is now walking and jumping and praising God. Take it in. See it in your mind’s eye. Remember it. 

This is day-after-the-day-of-Pentecost stuff. It was a history-making event. The real question is whether this story will become for us a memory-making event. Why is this so important? Our memory is hard wired into our imagination. Biblical memory is the fuel of the fire of holy imagination.

The brokenness of our own stories is encoded in our memory which also breaks our imagination. This is why we stay stuck. We need a larger story line than the story of our own lives. This is why the story of the Bible is so critical. When we remember the biblical story and particularly through the person of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, we can reimagine our lives as a new story, a new creation even. Otherwise, we are bound within the broken horizons of our limited lives. 

So how does the biblical story become encoded into our own memory? It happens as we actively remember the stories themselves. That’s why we are spending days on end in these texts at these sites. We are remembering. Now, think about that word remember. What is the opposite of remembering? Forgetting? No. Forgetting is the outcome of failing to remember. The opposite of remembering is dismembering. To re-member is to re-attach. To dis-member is to detach or pull apart. The biblical story is actually our native story. To fail to remember this story necessarily means we will be detached from it. If we are detached from our native story we are effectively lost. 

Think of it this way—the discipleship task is learning to remember; t,he apostolic task is learning to imagine. All of this comes at the behest of the Holy Spirit. 

As we actively remember, the Holy Spirit encodes the biblical story into our very memory. From there the Holy Spirit will translate memory into our imagination. This is how the ancient context becomes fused with the horizon of our present, everyday context.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. World without end, amen. Amen. 

In other words . . . 

Still day one. 


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. Jesus, I want to become so immersed in your story that I am attached to your life. I want to have the same mind in me that is in you. I want to imagine in the way you imagine, so teach me to remember the way you remembered. Holy Spirit, teach me this way of memory and imagination. Praying in Jesus’ name, amen. 


Are you tracking with this massive concept? Are you finding yourself immersed in this Acts 3 story yet? Are you remembering it like never before? We are doing it people. 

P.S. Why take the Holy Spirit Course: 

Have you ever really given yourself to studying and learning about the Holy Spirit? If so, are you continuing to dig the well deeper? There is no better time to do this than right now. I waited way too long to start myself, and the more I learn the more I want to learn more. But it is more than mere learning. This is not about knowledge but knowing. This is not mere education but real experience. That’s why we created this short course. How to Experience the Holy Spirit. You can get all the details here and register. It will fill. And as always, if you need a scholarship, just ask. If you would like to give a scholarship please let me know. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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  1. Perhaps we need to deeply experience more Bible events in our heart so that they rise up in our spirit and cause us to go about walking and jumping and praising God. Thanks for helping us do that, JD.

  2. Yes, JD, thank you, and to all the other brothers and sisters who give encouragement and Biblical insights.
    This jumped out at me today- not only do we witness this man’s lifeless feet from birth “come out of that grave,” where muscles and tendons flexed, but the receptors from the brain to these extremities also switched on. What was dead came to life. But the following miracle is that this man, who never used his legs for transportation, didn’t need to crawl before he walked, walk before he ran, or skip before jumping. It was like he’d had functioning legs since birth. He jumped to the head of the class in this miracle moment of knowing how to use his legs.
    Absent was the doubt and fear that he couldn’t when the power of Jesus said, “Get up and walk (out of the grave!)!”
    What we can speculate is he never became lame again.
    I can’t help but wonder why people chose to reenter the grave of darkness by renouncing Christ?
    Maybe it’s because they keep one foot in the grave, the grave of self.

  3. J D, this is getting really deep. Thanks for stretching our understanding of discipleship. If I’m understanding you correctly, your asking us to change our status as Bible readers into participants within the Biblical narrative? This seems impossible until one realizes that the concept of time and location do not exist within the spiritual realm.