When the lame learn to walk

Praising God in the temple—and out loud too. That is precisely what a certain beggar did when Apostles healed his paralysis. And what does that have to do with the here and now? Here too, believers must learn to walk. Following is a therapy session from a divine service with the Chief Apostle.

A man sits in front of the temple of God. He has been paralysed since birth and is dependent on the help of others. When Apostles Peter and John walk by, they call upon him to get up and walk—and a miracle occurs.

In a divine service in Kingston, Jamaica on 3 August, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider interpreted these events as they apply to the present. The basis of the divine service was a Bible text from Acts 3: 6: “Then Peter said, ‘Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’”

“This account is an image for the redemption of mankind,” explained the Chief Apostle. The beggar was not able to enter the temple due to his illness. And: “Ever since the fall into sin, human beings have been paralysed in the sense that they cannot come to God.” God has also sent the Apostles of today in order to “liberate human beings from this dominion of sin” so that they “can thereby meet God and enter into His kingdom”.

Touched by Apostles

The Apostles then spoke to the paralysed man and extended their hands to him. Similarly, the Apostles of today proclaim the gospel and touch human beings as they dispense the sacraments. “And once people are baptised, hear the word of God, and come to believe in it, they are able to enter into the kingdom of God, and then they can also come to God.”

This man in the Bible story was forty years old and had been paralysed since birth. And then someone came along and simply told him to get up and walk. “This is unbelievable,” the Chief Apostle said. But the beggar had to believe these words in order to be healed. We must likewise believe in the preaching of the Apostles. Even if others say it is impossible, unrealistic, or crazy.

Praising God

After having been healed, the man went into the temple with the Apostles. “We have begun to walk, to move forward, to draw nearer to God. That is our decision,” said the Chief Apostle. “We walk, just as this man did, with the Apostles.” Perhaps there will be some disappointments along the way—such as unfulfilled prayers or similar ­issues—but there is no reason to give up.

The man went into the temple with the Apostles, and praised God—and everyone was able to see it. Similarly, the believers today approach the glory of God and praise and glorify Him. And the Chief Apostle went on to explain exactly how we can do this. By

  • giving thanks: “Even if one is seriously ill or suffering under the most difficult situations, there is always a good reason—or perhaps several reasons—to give thanks to God.”
  • keeping our promises: “We have vowed to renounce the evil one and to do good works.”
  • serving: “Praising God also means that we are part of the Church and that we are active members of the Church.”
  • accepting our neighbour: “Yet another way to glorify and praise the Lord is to accept one another just as Jesus Christ has accepted us.”
  • professing: “I often say that we should talk less about what other people do or what the devil does, and rather talk a little bit more about that which Jesus does, be it in the church or in the world.”

Moving forward

The people around the beggar heard him praising God and realised that this was none other than the paralysed man who was suddenly able to walk and loudly praised God for what had happened to him. This convinced many of them to be baptised. “Our neighbours, the people who live around us, can see us and know very well that we are not perfect,” the Chief Apostle said. “However, they should also be able to notice that we are walking, that we are on our way, that we are moving forward, in order to enter into the kingdom of God—and that we praise the Lord along the way.”

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Katrin Löwen
Jamaica, Chief Apostle, Divine service