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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Today’s Reading | Acts 9:32–43

Now as Peter went here and there among all the believers, he came down also to the saints living in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, for he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!” And immediately he got up. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner. (NRSV)

“Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!” This is Peter’s command. When we hear of miracle or healing stories in the Bible, our minds typically go to Jesus and his works. Jesus is the miracle worker, the Messiah, the great teacher. But here we have Peter healing in the name of Jesus. It’s not blasphemy; it’s truly Christ working through Peter. Peter isn’t possessed; he is the first ordained apostle of the church. He is the rock upon which Christ’s church is built (Matthew 16:18), and he is doing as Jesus would do.

Here is a time when Peter is the example for us. He had his doubts—he even denied Jesus—yet he is going out and working in Christ’s name. We could all learn from Peter in this story. He is a broken person: there is nothing about Peter that makes him perfect. Jesus has decided to build his church upon a broken human being; this is what Christ has done with us. We are Peter. We are the broken people that Christ’s church is built upon, and we are capable of helping others, just as Peter did. Even in our brokenness and doubt, we are part of the foundation, and we are to live out Christ’s call.

God, in our brokenness, you see us. You see our mess and you see that we are capable of doing great things for others. Remind us that we, too, can be like Peter and be the church, even as broken and doubtful people, and that we are loved, called, and claimed as your people. Amen.

Written by Shelley Donaldson, Senior High Youth Coordinator

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