Peter and John, after having witnessed the church expand by 3000 people in a day, went to the Temple to pray.  Upon entering, they happened to catch the glance of a dude born paralyzed asking for alms.  The strong tendency for alms-giving in the Temple was to draw attention to oneself like a look-how-good-I-am-for-giving-to-the-poor attitude.  Jesus confronts this tendency in Matthew 6:1-2, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them…when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others.”

So, here they are.  Peter and John gave him an intense look and said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”

The man’s biochemistry immediately was changed, his spinal cord regenerated and the man jumped up and began praising God all throughout the Temple.  Now, if this doesn’t draw attention I don’t know what does.  In fact, it even says, “all the people ran to them…astounded”.  So, heeding the words of Jesus, Peter quickly deferred the credit, “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?”

Peter was offended at the people even considering that he could have done this by his own power or religiousness.  He knew full-well of the rediculousness of that ideal.  Instead Peter sought the glory for his king Jesus. Everyone knew who Jesus was, as he had caused a scene more than once in the Temple.  Peter proceeded to preach the gospel of how Jesus is the Author of life whom they murdered.  But God raised from the dead, and so, since he is alive, his name holds a lot of power as you could imagine a resurrected Author of life would. 

This is different than the chant of the religious Ned Flanders of the world, “praise the Lord” to everything without any notion of actual worship happening.  We see it all the time.  Especially on award shows like the Grammy’s, “First off, I just want to thank God, and my family, and my fans”.  Sound familiar?  That is more often than not politically-correct, trying-to-please-the-fans, false humility.  Why?  Because it does not stop at God.  God’s hand is regarded as merely the extra credit to fill in the gaps of personal effort.  Real, Jesus-glorifying humility stops with Jesus.  “I want to thank God, only God, and it is all by the grace of God.”  Wouldn’t that be radical?  Wouldn’t that cause a stir in Hollywood?  Wouldn’t producers and fans be upset that they were not glorified?  Yes, yes, and yes.  We serve a high king who has a lot of glory due, and a king who gets very jealous when his glory is not given solely to himself.

Ponderings…

1.) Is Jesus’ name worth more than gold and silver to you? What are you willing to risk for Jesus’ fame?

2.) How do you do with recieving compliments from others?  Do people recognize that it is by the grace of God that you are who you are (1 Cor. 15:10)?

3.) How can you compliment others in a way that gives the credit to Jesus?

4.) Pray that God would give you a heart that loves His glory more than your own reputation.

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