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Offer them Christ | Religion

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A few months after the death and resurrection of Jesus, two of his disciples went to the temple for the time of the afternoon prayer. Peter and John had, in various ways over the previous years, failed miserably. But conversations about the Kingdom with a risen Jesus and the events of the day of Pentecost had changed them dramatically.

A man crippled from birth sat in front of one of the doors. Unable to enter the inner courts of the Temple due to religious regulations, he begged day after day for financial support. As he has done countless times before, he demanded money from the two passing men. But, unlike countless times before, their response was dramatic.

“Look at us!” asked Peter. “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk. And, unlike countless times before, the deepest need of the he man was touched, and more than walking, he jumped for joy.

Of course, the watching crowd was shocked. Perhaps even more shocking was Peter’s explanation that this healing came from Jesus (who had been very publicly executed).

This response leads the Temple aristocracy to bring in Peter and John for questioning. At this point, Peter is on a roll. He explains his actions simply, but deeply. This exchange culminated in a fascinating observation by Luke, the author of these accounts: “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were ordinary uneducated men, they were amazed and noticed these men had been with Jesus. .”

Ordinary people who had been with Jesus. This is what Peter and John were to give to the world.

There is a story of John Wesley commissioning Thomas Coke to lead the new Methodist movement in America in the late 1700s. His parting words were, “Offer them Christ, Thomas.”

Our world is hurting and desperate right now. The collective trauma of the past two years is catching up with us all. And right now the world needs the kind of healing that only Jesus can give.

But the reality is that you can’t give what you don’t have.

Too often we don’t have hope or real help to give people because we don’t have it ourselves. Too often our response to hurt people is something like, “Christ I don’t have, but what I have I give…”. Like a bandage when you need surgery, our offering rarely heals.

Whether it’s today or tomorrow or next week, you will meet people in need. Whatever problem arises, the real remedy, the one that can touch their deepest need, is Christ. So give them what they need! Offer them Christ.

Stephen Hopkins is pastor at Kendricks Creek United Methodist Church in Kingsport.