Worship, Evangelism, and Leaping

It is a spring afternoon in Jerusalem, and at the temple is a hurting brother. He is a man who has been born lame, and this is nothing new. He has suffered in this condition for more than 40 years.

On this day, what is he doing at the House of Prayer? He is not at the temple to …

  • Praise God
  • Give thanks
  • Present tithes
  • Offer sacrifices
  • Repent
  • Hear God’s Word
  • Increase in knowledge
  • Grow in faith and love
  • Fellowship with brothers and sisters
  • Supplicate for healing
  • Interact with Jesus

No, he has been deposited at the temple gate for one purpose – that he might beg for money. This hurting man, he cannot think beyond his real, felt, short-term needs. He is just trying to make it through one more day.

However, Jesus, has a tendency to do “more than we can even ask or think.” On this particular day, Jesus has something else in mind. Something better!

Jesus, by means of the Holy Spirit, sends Peter and John his way. Sovereignly and providentially, their steps are guided to intersect with this lame brother.

Jesus, by means of the Holy Spirit, arrests the attention and warms the hearts of Peter and John. They hear the man’s plea and are moved with compassion.

Jesus, by means of the Holy Spirit, immediately heals the lame brother. No mud, spit, water, or handkerchief is required. No seed-faith request or love gift is necessary. There is no ministerial mantra, organ music, mystic smoke, alter call, or declaration of faith. No, with ease, Jesus sends his Holy Spirit, the Spirit works through Peter, and the lame man is miraculously healed. Instantaneously, his legs regain function, strength, and coordination. More importantly, his heart is fixed as well.

And what is his response?

And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. (Acts 3:8-11)

He clings to the Apostles. They are going into the House of Prayer. They are on their way to talk to Jesus of Nazareth, and so he follows their lead.

He enters the gates of God’s house. He goes further into God’s sacred courts. Boldly he comes into God’s holy presence. He approaches the throne of grace with confidence.

There, he focuses his attention and worship on his Lord. All glory, honor, boasting, and attention goes to the One who graced him.

And he begins to worship in accordance with God’s Word. He keeps the “regulative principle.” Scripture calls for the clapping of hands and raising of arms. It is to include glad singing and the making a loud noises. God’s worship is to be augmented by groups of skilled singers. It includes the strumming of guitars, the blowing of horns, and the beating of drums. And bodily postures include walking, standing, sitting, kneeling, lying prostrate, leaping, and dancing. All of this is in the divine instruction manual. All of this is in the directory of worship penned by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And so, he obeys God by worshiping with his lips and his limbs. Putting the pieces together, he worships with his heart, soul, mind, and strength. Brain, emotion, and body are all involved. He glorifies God. He enjoys God. On this day, his worship involves joy-filled fun.

And in the process of worshiping God, he speaks to and edifies others. He gives testimony to the wonder-working power of Jesus. Through his reverential, exciting, and enjoyable worship, he is used by the Holy Spirit to amaze, astound, and build a crowd.

And ultimately, through his worship, he is used by the Holy Spirit to focus attention on Peter, who focuses attention on the Word, which focuses attention on Jesus Christ and his Gospel love, which results in bringing many more sons to glory.

His leaping was grace.

His leaping was worship.

His leaping was evangelism.

His leaping was contagious.

How about it friends? What has Jesus done for us? Are we excited? Are we amazing and astounding? Can we be found this week leaping, worshiping, and evangelizing? Is our exuberance contagious?

O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise. The the glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace!

My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim. To spread through all the earth abroad, the honors of your name.

Jesus the name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease. Tis music in the sinner’s ears Tis life and health and peace.

He breaks the power of cancelled sin. He sets the prisoner free. His blood can make the foulest clean. His blood availed for me.

Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb. Your loosened tongues employ. Ye blind, behold your Savior come. And leap ye lame, for joy.

Psalm 150:1–6     Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! 

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