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In Whose Name?

by on September 18, 2014

If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.

Acts 4.9-10

Peter’s words here in Acts are a response to being brought before the Sanhedrin after healing a man who had been unable to walk. Often our familiarity with Scripture and the stories of healing in the Gospels and Acts allow us to miss the tumultuous nature of the events taking place. Here are Peter and John, two men who look later describes as “unschooled, ordinary men,” who had not only been the agents of a miracle, but were publicly teaching in the temple and because of their teaching, “the number of men who believe grew to about five thousand”! This is a massive group of people quickly responding to the proclamation of the gospel.

The catalyst for the large crowd was the healing. People witnessed their work and came to see the commotion. The healing is also the instigator for the Sanhedrin’s questioning – “By what power or what name did you do this?”

Peter begins to speak and is very clear in his answer: this act of kindness was done the name of Jesus.

In whose name are your acts of kindness carried out?

Often when I am kind to another person, it’s done in my own name. Maybe I’m kind to another person because I want them to like me, or offer me kindness in return. Or I do it under my own strength, budgeting the amount of kindness I choose to show based on what’s comfortable and easy for me. This sort of kindness makes sense to us.

But it’s the benevolent kindness done in the name of Jesus – kindness that goes beyond our normal expectations towards strangers and those who have nothing to offer us in return, regardless of how the person might receive it – that often causes people to come running to see the commotion. At which point we can bear witness to the power of the crucified and resurrected Jesus Christ who enables to show kindness beyond ourselves.

What acts of kindness in the name of Jesus can you show this week?

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