Does our faith in Jesus’ name attract this kind of attention?

The man threw his arms around Peter and John, ecstatic. All the people ran up to where they were at Solomon’s Porch to see it for themselves. When Peter saw he had a congregation, he addressed the people: “Oh, Israelites, why does this take you by such complete surprise, and why stare at us as if our power or piety made him walk? The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified his Son Jesus. The very One that Pilate called innocent, you repudiated. You repudiated the Holy One, the Just One, and asked for a murderer in his place. You no sooner killed the Author of Life than God raised him from the dead—and we’re the witnesses. Faith in Jesus’ name put this man, whose condition you know so well, on his feet—yes, faith and nothing but faith put this man healed and whole right before your eyes. Acts 3:11-16 (The Message)

There is a common misconception today that when people show any interest in what it means to be a Christian, the church needs to do a p.r job for him. Creating an attractive image of Jesus, and by association the church, is a high priority in the institution. I hope we don’t get sucked into this misconception in our own life and witness though. You see, Jesus has never been an attractive propostion to the masses. What appeals to people is the display of power and sense of spiritual security that we seek humanly. Paul was fully aware of this when he wrote, to the church in Corinth, Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,’ 1 Corinthians 1:22-23 (The N.I.V translation) Preaching Christ crucified is exactly what Peter did, following the show of God’s miraculous power in healing the lame man. If we are looking for the power of God, the apostles say, don’t simply look for the fulfilment of your physical need or good sense by which to live, but look to the powerlessness of Christ on the cross. There is the power of God over our sin and death, there is the restoration of our hope and peace with God. If we are looking for Jesus to become the main attraction through miracles at work in our own and other people’s lives we must not miss out the messiness, barbarity, and bloodiness of Christ’s cross.

May we keep the reality of Jesus’ sacrificial love at the centre of or life and witness today. May we realize that the greatest power of God is displayed in Christ’s weakness on the cross. Amen.