The Ignorance of Religion

As I read Acts 4 on this evening, Luke continues the story which began in chapter 3. Peter and John, as they are entering the Temple, encounter a man who is lame. He had been lame from his birth. The only hope for this lame man is to beg for assistance near the entrance of the Temple.

Upon seeing Peter and John, he asks for assistance. I wonder if he knew whom he would meet on this day? I wonder if he thought about what he would receive on this day? I wonder if this thought ever crossed his mind: “Today, I will rise and walk!” Since he had been lame from birth, I am guessing this was the farthest thing on his mind as his buddies carried and sat him down in front of the Temple; however, on this day, Providence provides a perfect opportunity to make possible the impossible!

As Peter and John arrive at the Temple, the lame man says, “Hey guys, do you have any money to give a poor ole cripple today?” John looks at Peter! He can see the sparkle in Peter’s eyes! He knows there is something about to go down! Something . . . IMPOSSIBLE!

Peter looks intently upon this lame man! His gaze is not as other men! His gaze seems to pierce into the very depths of the lame mans soul! After a few minutes of silence, Peter says, “I have neither Silver or Gold, but what I Do Have, I give it ALL to you. I command you in the name of Jesus . . . RISE AND WALK!”

Those in the crowd immediately stop what they are doing. One whispers to another, “Did you see that?” The response, well, there is no response! What can one say in response to the impossible becoming possible? The crowd doesn’t know what to do. They watch as this mans jumps up and down with joy. He walks into the Temple with Peter and John, BUT . . . He cannot be still! So, in the Temple, this man jumps up and down in the presence of God!

The crowd . . . this poor crowd doesn’t know what to think, so they turn their attention upon Peter and John after the morning service. They want to know what happened to this once lame man! From Acts 3:11-26, Peter delivers a scathing message to the crowd. It is a very bold message for him. After all, these were the same people who had asked for Jesus’ crucifixion. In this great discourse, there is a golden nugget! As Peter preaches, he tells the people who had crucified Jesus, “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers” (Acts 3:17, ESV). WOW! How did that fall upon the crowd? It was just as shocking as the lame man standing, jumping, and running in the Temple!

I wonder if I have been so religious that I have missed the miraculous? I wonder if I have allowed my religion to become an idol? I guess the real question is this: Whom do I follow? Do I follow Jesus, or do I follow my religion? Peter simply tells the crowd that by following their religion and religious leaders, they became religiously ignorant of . . . The Son of God! So . . . are you willing to follow your religion more than
you follow Jesus? One is man made, and the other, well, there has never been a time when He was not! The history of religion has no comparison to the history of . . . God!

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