. 3 min read

to Worship, Psalm 23 (KJV)
Acts 3.1-26
Acts 4.5-12 (1-12)
Opening: (with announcements)
trip, 25th anniversary, pics in entry
Dodson, parting wishes:
      “Relax and enjoy Robin’s company all to
      Mom on the plane – son with 1 in nation
genetic anomaly
      Heroin addict
      Lynn, investment performance, move to
Sedona, spiritual journey
      Park ranger,
            “kicked to the curb” after 35 years
so she could “find herself”
      Couple’s daughter losing her baby
Robin, this is just what “comes natural” to her
and John and the healing of the lame man, in the name of Jesus
do you look at us, as if by our power or piety we made him walk?”
rejected and resurrected!
Message body:
a difficulty: Exclusive salvation language in re Jesus
      “There is salvation in no one else, for
there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be
saved” (Acts 4.12)
      Bonhoeffer: “The more exclusively we
acknowledge and confess Jesus Christ as our Lord, the more fully the wide range
of his dominion will be disclosed to us” (cited by Moltmann, The Church in the Power of the Spirit,

conversations after the healing
      Crowd: Why do you look at us?
      Authorities: How was this man healed?
assumptions by the audiences
      This is clearly NOT a natural human
            (requires power or piety of some
      This is clearly natural to THESE humans
natural for Peter and John as it is for Robin’s presence to invite people to
tell their stories
            But it is Peter and John’s “nature”
only because it is Jesus’ nature
Woodward: “I’m not but he is. I can’t but he can. I don’t want to, but he wants
to … and he’s in me”
            It is natural for Jesus’ people to
do Jesus’ work
audiences had rejected Jesus, and both were offered a new opportunity to
receive him.
      Crowd: About 5000 believed
      Authorities (people with the most to lose)
said NO
because they were teaching the people and proclaiming that in Jesus there is
resurrection of the dead” (4.2)
      [Use two flashlights to show overlapping
beams]. We live in a world shaped by what Jacques Ellul called “the power of
suicide” which is AT THE SAME TIME under the power of resurrection
      Resurrection is God’s final word to the
finality of death, and all that death means in the world – the power of
coercion on which so much authority is based, the brokenness of human beings
and families, racism, addiction, sexual assault, cancer, a planet raided for
resources rather than cultivated and cared for.
      Resurrection is God’s final word. We can
choose to live in the light of resurrection, or live in the light of death. We
remain under both, but we choose what will define us.
      “God rules in a disputed and hidden way”
(Moltmann, 190)
      “The arc of the moral universe, although
long, is bending toward justice” (MLK, Stride,
      We choose what will define us – reject or
receive Jesus. (The paradox of rejection as a path to salvation.) Receiving
Jesus … becomes natural to do his work.
Jϋrgen Moltmann, The Church in the Power of the Spirit.

Luther King, Stride Toward Freedom.