Monday, November 13, 2017

Surprise! It's the Kingdom!

Some things should never surprise us. You get behind a slow poke when you are running late. The children can't agree on a restaurant for dinner. The printer is "off line" when you want to print right now. Murphy's Law is real.

Other things really surprise us.

In Acts 3, Peter and John go to the Temple worship. This is right after Jesus's crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. The Holy Spirit has come upon the church at Pentecost. So on their way through the Temple courtyard, Peter and John meet and heal a paralyzed man. The healed man is so excited, he runs, jumps, and praises God all around the Temple.

This great miracle shows the Lord's power now flowing through the disciples. The crowds at the Temple notice, and they ask Peter and John what has happened.

Peter's response is striking. "Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you?" Well, Peter, I can think of lots of reasons this is surprising. The healed man has never walked a day in his life. He's over 40 (gasp!). And we call them miracles for a reason. Things like this don't normally happen.  That's why they were surprised.

But in Peter's brain, this was no surprise at all. He knew something, and it completely changed what he expected from life. He had witnessed his friend and teacher die. Then he saw that man alive again. It was Jesus, but he was...different. Now Jesus had a resurrection body. Jesus still ate and drank, but he seemed less limited by time and space. He could suddenly appear in a room. Sometimes people recognized him and sometimes they did not. Mostly, he was alive. His grave was empty.

Seeing this miracle changed Peter's perspective. Jesus was bringing the kingdom, beginning with his own resurrection. If he is bringing the kingdom, then he will bring wholeness, forgiveness, hope. This world will never be the same. Peter expected to see God at work. 

Of course this man was healed. Jesus is alive, and is living in us! The world will never be the same. Why are you surprised?

May we experience God's kingdom so powerfully in our own lives that we expect him bring healing, hope, and leaping celebrations!