Acts 4:13-21

When the rulers and elders and scribes saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus. When they saw the man who had been cured standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. So they ordered them to leave the council while they discussed the matter with one another. They said, “What will we do with them? For it is obvious to all who live in Jerusalem that a notable sign has been done through them; we cannot deny it. But to keep it from spreading further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” So they called them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.” After threatening them again, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because of the people, for all of them praised God for what had happened.

What will we do with them? What indeed! Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles comes in response to the events described in Acts 3:1-10 when Peter and John heal the lame man. The man was lame from birth, and the people carried him to the gate of the temple so he could ask for alms as people entered the temple. Everyone knew him, and some obviously gave him money from time to time. When he asked Peter and John for alms, they stopped, and Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” And he did! Scripture tells us that the people “…were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” I bet they were! Miracles will do that.

Do you believe in miracles? The Bible is replete with miraculous stories of healing and restoration and God’s grace and love shining through “ordinary” people like you and me. The great Good News of the resurrected Christ includes miracles that continue to happen today.

We see miracles all around the globe today with extraordinary acts of selfless and sacrificial service to others out of love. We see the miracle of music’s ability to touch us at our deepest core and to transport us from the reality of the present to the hope of the future – uniting us in song and heart. We see the miracle of 7-year-olds like Zohaib Begg collecting 6009 articles of Personal Protective Equipment for hospital workers. And, yes, sometimes we see some miraculous recoveries from the most dire cases of COVID-19 infections. What we see is “ordinary” people doing extraordinary things out of love. Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you – out of love – great, miraculous love.

In faith and love,

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

(Romans 15:13)