In the first reading for this weekend (Acts 4:1-12), after spending a night in jail, Peter and John are being interrogated by the ruling council in Jerusalem. Standing with them was a man who up to 3 o’clock the previous day had never stood.
The episode points out the dangers of going to church and that no good deed goes unpunished.
On the previous afternoon some men carried a man who according to the Greek, “had been lame since he came out of his mother’s belly.” They laid him at the Beautiful Gate to beg from those going to the temple for the 3’oclock prayer service. At the same time Peter and John were going up to the temple. The lame man saw them looked at them expecting some alms in his basket. Peter said they were broke, but he would give him what he had. “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” Following Jesus example, he took the man by the hand and pulled him up. The man began walking, leaping and praising God. For the first time in his life entered the temple. Beautiful.
Through name of Jesus, the man was freed from a life of sitting and begging for alms and freed for a life of leaping and shouting Alleluias. He was a sign of the Messiah. The Messiah would, “make firm feeble knees” and “the lame man shall leap like a deer.” (Is. 35:3 & 6).
But Peter preached about the resurrection of Jesus. This ticked off the Sadducees and got them thrown in Jail. Which of course, only served to provide an opportunity for Peter, now filled with the Holy Spirit, to proclaim before the powers that be, the resurrection of Jesus. Peter and the Holy Spirit, a formidable force indeed.
And we have the same good news and the same Holy Spirit, so…