First Lesson: Isaiah 35:4-7a:
4Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” 5Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. 7The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
Psalm for Today: Psalm 146 on page 120 in Christian Worship
Praise the Lord, O my soul.
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortal men, who cannot save.
Blessed is he whose hope is in the Lord his God,
the maker of heaven and earth.
The Lord gives food to the hungry,
the Lord sets prisoners free.
The Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down.
The Lord watches over the outcast
and sustains the fatherless and the widow.
The Lord remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Gospel Lesson: Mark 7:31-37:
31Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. 32There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.
33After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). 35At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
36Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 3 People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Second Lesson/Sermon Text: Acts 3:1-10:
1One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
6Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
It was twenty years ago, yesterday. I’m sure that, if you are old enough to remember, you know exactly what you were doing when you heard the news. I remember that beautiful September Tuesday morning like it was yesterday. I had just gotten done teaching confirmation class at Immanuel. As I left the building to drive home, Mr. Huebner told me that there had been an incident in New York where planes had hit the World Trade Center. I turned on my regular classic rock station in the car and heard no music, only reports of what was unfolding that day. An ordinary day had turned into a day never to be forgotten. For those who were closer to the events, they remarked pretty much the same thing. It had been a normal day of riding the subway and going to work until their whole world was turned upside down. As we remember that day this weekend, we look at another day that started out ordinary and turned into something extraordinary.
Let’s Follow Peter and John…
I. On an ordinary day…
II. With an extraordinary event
I. On an ordinary day…
- This is the first event that we hear about in the book of Acts after that Pentecost
- Peter, John, and the other disciples had seen something quite amazing that day
- They saw the tongues of fire, the speaking in tongues, the sermon, 3000 converted
- Now we hear about an ordinary day in the lives of Peter and John, Jesus’ disciples
- They headed to the temple around 3:00 PM a normal time of prayer & sacrifice
- They were expecting to offer their prayers and their testimony about Jesus there
- At the same time, there was a man who was begging for alms at the east gate
- He was there habitually because this was a good spot to get some good donations
- Neither he nor the disciples were expecting anything unusual for that one day
- The man asked Peter and John for a donation of some kind or other, some money
- That was when everything changed and something extraordinary happened
- We also live out our lives thinking that nothing out of the ordinary will happen
- There are those times that stick out: a tragedy, a great joy, a windfall, etc.
- Those occurrences, though, are few and far between and we don’t expect them
- But something extraordinary has happened and can happen again and again
II. With an extraordinary event
- When the man asked for money, He said he didn’t have any. Perhaps dramatically
- He said that he did have something that he could give him. Perhaps revelation
- He took the man by his right hand (detail) and his feet and ankles became strong
- All of a sudden, he was not only able to walk, but also to leap about and dance
- All the people who were there took notice and knew that this was extraordinary
- This gave them the opportunity to tell them about what Jesus had done for them
- We have had something happen to us that is just as extraordinary as this
- When we were brought to faith, we received full forgiveness & a heavenly future
- We are also able to bring this extraordinary truth into the lives of those we know. Amen.