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Love and Thankfulness

by | Apr 19, 2022 | Faith, God's Love, Healing, Love, Thankfulness

“Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

(Acts 5:12-16 ESV)

That must have really been something to see—that the people of Jerusalem “even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them.” They wanted miracles, and they were confident Peter could give them some. It was enough to give anybody a swelled head. Anybody except for Peter, I suspect.

Peter had a kind of protection against ego trips. He could never forget what he had done just weeks ago, when Jesus was on trial for His life. Peter was so scared that he denied Jesus, even cursing and swearing that he didn’t know Him. And when Jesus turned and looked at Peter, Peter broke down crying. It was a fall Peter would never forget.

But neither could he forget Jesus’ love. After Jesus rose from the dead, practically the first thing He did was go to Peter for a private conversation (see Luke 24:34), the content of which was never recorded in the Bible. We can only guess what happened. But afterward, we see Peter behaving like a man struck to the heart with love and thankfulness. Jesus forgave him and gave him back his place of service as an apostle—and Peter carried that out as faithfully as he could. He knew where the real honor and glory belonged—with Jesus, who forgives and saves and heals.

We too sometimes face the temptation to take credit for God’s work. People may praise us for something we know very well is God’s doing, even if He used us to help carry it out. And the devil tempts us to take the credit—to behave as if we ourselves had done it from start to finish—to bask in the spotlight and say mock-humble things to keep the praise coming just a little longer.

What can protect us against this? Only Jesus. He knows what to do with glory—the same thing He did through His whole ministry. He gives it to the Father! And His Holy Spirit living in us can help us do the same thing. If we need our egos punctured, He can remind us of our weaknesses. But far more important, He reminds us of Jesus’ love—of the incredible warmth and compassion He showed us when He lay down His life to save us and make us God’s own. If we’re loved like that, who needs an ego boost?

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to rejoice in Your love and pass the glory to the One it belongs to—You. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on April 20, 2023
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved

Reflection Questions:
1. Do you find it easy or difficult to know how to answer when people praise you?
2. Would you rather be loved or honored?
3. If Jesus appeared visibly and called you by name, how hard would it be to drop everything—including earthly honor and power—and run to Him?