Perfect health … what is that?
The last time I was reading Acts 3 devotionally this phrase perfect health jumped out at me.
“And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.” Acts 3:16 (NRSV)
Maybe it caught my eye because of all the rancorous debate about healthcare in our country. Or maybe I noticed it because as a pastor I’m aware we have hundreds of health-related prayer requests within our congregation. Or maybe I underlined perfect health because my joints and waistline are daily reminders that I’m not in perfect shape myself.
Peter used the phrase perfect health (in Greek it’s holoklería, a compound word that means “whole in every part”) to describe the lame beggar who had been raised to walk and leap about, praising God. In the aftermath Peter was explaining the wondrous healing to the astonished Jews at the temple. The source of the miracle certainly wasn’t our power and piety, he said of John and himself. Such perfect health was only possible in the name of Jesus.
For years we’ve heard about the advantages and the failures of Obamacare. Currently our national legislators are locking horns over the future of healthcare and what many are already referring to as Trumpcare. I’m not going to raise my voice or head in the middle of that fray. Anyway, I’m a proponent of Jesuscare, which sets perfect health as the standard. I want you to sign up for Jesuscare; and I promise, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”
You can read more about it in Acts chapter 3, specifically the testimonial in verses 11-16. Jesuscare is named for the “Author of life” who himself was raised from the dead. That’s a pretty good starting point for a health care system!
I hope to see you this Sunday at North Lake. Or you can catch the message next week at our website – northlakepc.org. In the meantime, in the name of Jesus Christ may you experience what it means to be whole in every part!
Dr. Jeffrey A. Hosmer
Maybe you heard about the call that went out over the walkie-talkie: “Can we have some underwear to court 18?”
It was another underwear violation last week at the Wimbledon tennis tournament with an all-white dress code. Tournament supervisors had to intervene at least twice to insist that players change their underwear before proceeding with their tennis matches. No hint of dark or colorful undergarments is permitted on the stately, dignified lawn tennis courts of the All-England Club in Wimbledon, London.
The traditional dress code dates back well over a century. Historically it was even more stringent, as the photo of the 1908 women’s finals shows. How could they even move in those outfits, competing for a tennis championship? When American Gussie Moran scandalized Wimbledon in 1949, showing up in a new designer tennis outfit with a shorter skirt and lace visible around her thighs, the All-England Club officials accused her of “bringing vulgarity and sin into tennis.”
Once we humans have decided our standard of good and right, we are typically reluctant to tolerate violations or exceptions. When we deem something truly beautiful and noble, we don’t want anything to tarnish or diminish its beauty.
First century Jews had their magnificent temple in Jerusalem, the house of the Lord built by the unscrupulous King Herod. Of course he was welcome at the temple regardless of his villainy. Royalty had its privileges. But anyone lame—basically anyone with a physical disability or obvious blemish—was not allowed to enter the temple. It would have been a violation.
Some persons with apparent defects would get as close as possible, hoping to beg from the worshippers entering for daily prayer. One advantageous location for beggars was on the steps outside the gate called Beautiful. What a notable and sad contrast: the elegant, colossal bronze gate that opened to the holy ground of the Jewish faith … and the steps littered with deformed, helpless, impoverished souls.
That was the scene for Acts 3:1-10 where Peter and John accomplished the healing of a lame beggar. In the name of Jesus Christ and by the hand of Peter, God did something truly beautiful at that gate. This Sunday at North Lake Presbyterian Church I invite you to “Come to the Beautiful Gate” with me. And you don’t need to worry about the dress code!
Dr. Jeffrey A. Hosmer