Better than a Sideshow

While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. 12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? 13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all. – Acts 3:11-16

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Columbine Blossoms | Photo taken at The Flower Fields | Carlsbad, CA | April 2017

I’ll admit it: as a young boy I was fascinated by the carnival sideshows at the regional fair. The possibility of seeing a three-armed baby, a largest woman in the world, or some other sensation got hold of me. I was so smitten by the idea of seeing the latest distraction at the fair. It’s probably good I never went. Somehow I knew it was either fake or not something to pursue.

Like an auto accident on the other side of the road, however, people (myself included) will tend to rubber neck. We are drawn to the weird, sensational, or horrific. That’s my sense of this moment when Peter heals the blind man who is now walking and leaping and praising God. He has become a spectacle. An amusement. A distraction.

Peter knows this. He also knows that these people need something more than an explanation of why and how this man was healed and so transformed. It is interesting to me that he realized that they needed to come to grips with a greater need that a satisfied curiosity: They needed to recognize their culpability in the death of Jesus, and that God had raised Jesus from the dead. It was by the power of Jesus that the man was healed.

They needed to come to grips with that. And so do we. I’m not sure how to embrace or teach our own culpability in Jesus’ death. But I do know that I need a Savior, and that he died for me. Thanks be to God that I also know and believe that God raised him from the dead, and that his power is still at work in the lives of his followers today. How about you?

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