Peter and John went up to the Temple to pray one afternoon.  A lame beggar called out to them for a little help.  

Peter said, "Look at us."  The beggar figured they were about to give him some money.

"I don't have any silver or gold," said Peter, "but I give you what I have.  In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!"

Peter took the lame man by the hand, lifted him up, and he began leaping around praising God in total amazement and gratitude.  

A crowd gathered, and Peter and John had to explain what happened.

"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 had made him walk?
The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him.
But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.
And his name, by faith in his name, has made this man strong whom you see and know; and the faith which is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
Acts 3

Do we believe that this really happened as it's described in the book of Acts?  And if we believe that this lame beggar was healed in the Name of Jesus, how come we don't see such simple, direct healings in his name today?  

Yes we have healing services, and healing seminars, and St. Luke Societies.   And these are all a good thing, a sign that the Spirit is moving the Body of Christ in the kingdom direction. And then we have healing evangelists moving about the country with all the equipment of rock bands and celebrity singers and putting on a great show.  But simple, clear, direct healing in the name of Jesus, without any hype---the way Peter did it, where is it?

Jesus hasn't changed.  The power of his Name hasn't changed.   What Peter and John did that day is still being done here and there across the earth and could be happening here.   But such things are only happening where men and women are living under the authority of the real Jesus

What do you mean, "the real Jesus."? Is there any other?   How could there be any mistake about Jesus?  His name is everywhere.  Who on earth has not heard about Jesus Christ?   Statures and crosses, and crucifixes representing Jesus are found all over the earth.   His name is venerated, his words are quoted; Jesus is known as one of the great ones of the earth.  But what few people realize is that there are actually two who are called Jesus Christ, and they are not the same.

To put it bluntly: there is the Jesus that you control and there is the Jesus who controls you.   And it makes all the difference in the world, which Jesus you are following.


The Jesus you control is found everywhere.  He's in our churches, he's proclaimed on TV, he is featured in best-sellers.  This Jesus, too, is presented as the One who died on the cross and rose from the dead.  But the thing that makes him radically different from the Jesus Peter invoked when he healed that lame beggar, is that this other Jesus is one you can exploit.  You can bend him to suit your politics.  You can enlist him to win your arguments. 

For instance, we frequently hear people say, and we say it ourselves, "The Lord showed me."  And that's a perfectly reasonable thing to say.  "The Lord showed me that I have a bad attitude."   "The Lord showed me that I need to forgive my brother."   

But sometimes we use that expression to claim divine guidance for a dubious decision of our own.  Sometimes we say, "The Lord showed me," when what really happened was that we made the decision all by ourselves and then claimed it was a direct revelation from the Lord.   And of course, this Jesus whom we control, never convicts us for our lack of integrity, because this Jesus is simply our own personal idol, an idol we can use any way we wish, bend in any direction we choose.   We can even perform miracles!

Someone is troubled by a demon.  No sweat, you simply shout, 'In the name of Jesus, come out!"  The only problem is, no matter how loudly you shout, "In the Name of Jesus," nothing happens.  

Why? Because this Jesus is at your disposal, but he has no more power than you have, because he is your personal idol.  Nothing more.  

What do you mean, "personal idol?"  Well, this Jesus shares your political views, agrees with your less-charitable attitudes, blesses your vain ambitions.   He's comfortable to have around.  He never gives you a hard time.   He lets you do your thing.  He even attends church with you and makes you feel warm all over.   But ten years go by, and all the old attitudes and vanities and fears remain unchanged in you.  Because this Jesus does not control you.  You control him.   

Does this Jesus heal the sick?

Does this Jesus raise people from their spiritual graves?

Does this Jesus ever bring you to your knees in repentance?


Because this Jesus has no control over you.  You control him.  He fits into your program like a well-behaved mascot.

But when Peter said to the lame beggar, "I have no silver or gold, but I give you what I have.  In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!" Peter was under the control of the real Jesus.  This Jesus was not at Peter's disposal, Peter was at his disposal.  This Jesus was ruling Peter's very life from the inside out.  

Peter understood one thing about this Jesus that folks who serve the other Jesus never figure out.  You obey him; he doesn't obey you.  Peter trembled before this Jesus as One who is Holy.  Jesus was his Burning Bush.  Jesus was his Fire from on high.  Jesus was truly his Lord, his God. 


You wouldn't catch Peter saying , "The Lord showed me the right way to slice an apple."   Or "The Lord showed me that you're supposed to join my church."   Not that the Lord Jesus didn't reveal many things to Peter as he traveled this earth.  But Peter understood that the Crucified and Risen Jesus was not only his Fried, but his King.  Peter lived in awe of his Master. He never trivialized Jesus' words or Jesus' name.

So when he met the lame beggar, Peter didn't have to tell the man, "The Lord showed me that you're to be healed."   Peter simply obeyed his Master and healed the man with a simple command. No hocus-pocus.  

And so… we have the Jesus of Christendom, the Jesus we invoke at public ceremonies and quote in our political speeches And then we have Jesus of the Kingdom of God.  Jesus who is even now King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Whose eyes burn with fire and whose voice is like the sound of a thundering waterfall.  This Jesus is known only to those who submit to his control.

So, which Jesus are you following?  A Jesus who always agrees with you?  Or the Jesus who commands your days and rules you heart and causes your tongue to speak the truth?  If you are following this Jesus, he may one day send you up to your temple to heal a lame beggar, or drive a demon out of an oppressed soul.    Or he may lead you, as he led Peter, to a cross where you will lay down your life.   If you're following this Jesus, you will follow in fear and trembling, with your eyes on him.  You will pick up your cross and follow him, one day at a time for the rest of your life.

This Jesus offers you but one door into his Kingdom…. into his power: the door of total surrender.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Whoever loves their life loses it, and whoever hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If any one serves me, they must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor them.
John 12

If you follow the Jesus of Peter and John, you will be that grain of wheat that is dropped into the earth, and you will learn daily what it means to be crucified with Christ, until being hidden with Christ in God becomes your second nature.    You will say with Paul,

I am crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

                                                            Galatians 2

And as you live a crucified life, a life dead to yourself and alive to the Lord Jesus, you will bear fruit for his kingdom.   You will bear fruit because Jesus is calling the shots, not you.   He is in control, not you.   If you listen and obey, as he speaks his Word, you will be in the company of Peter and John and Mary Magdalene, and a million others. 

The Jesus of convenience, the Jesus of shallow religion, will be around until Judgment Day. And then he will be gone. 


But the Living Lord Jesus, who controls you from within and guides you from within as you obey his words, will be with you forever.

Yes, the Lord Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.  What he did through Peter and John that day, he is still doing through his disciples today.   He leads them not only in paths of righteousness, but also through valleys of suffering.  He intercedes for them before the throne of heaven and holds them firm as they walk though fire.  

And this Jesus is calling us as individuals, and as a body of believers, to turn away from our distractions, pickup our cross, and start obeying him all the way.   He's calling us all to make a fresh start, by abandoning our lives to him anew, right now—here in this place.

If we do this, if we abandon ourselves to him, get under his yoke, every one of us who does this can expect that the Lord Jesus will visit us this hour with power from on high.  He will send his Spirit into us afresh, now in this place.  And when we walk out of here   today, it will be under the power of a Master whose light will shine through everything we do, as we walk with him.

"I have no silver or gold, but I give you what I have….."

I give you what I have.

God grant that every one of us may have what Peter had, and use it the way Peter did.