Startled, taken aback… immersed in disbelief. All adequate in describing my mind as it struggled to process the words I had just heard. All I wanted was my car washed and I’m on my way. No arguments and no back talk… just process my credit card and I’m gone… when all of a sudden the girl behind the counter uttered words that made time stand still. It began as an innocent enquiry with the woman in the line behind me. When I saw her AAA card in her hand as she prepared to pay I asked a simple question. “Can you get a discount here with a AAA card?” As the girl behind the counter handed my credit card back to me she cheerfully spoke up… “Not to worry sir, I gave you SENIOR DISCOUNT!” The words echoed in my mind as time stood still! Pardon me? It’s like that feeling when all you hear is your heart beating and the voices around you sound more like Charlie Brown’s teacher than normal humans beings. SENIOR DISCOUNT? I knew I looked tired and I’m close but I’m not there just yet! After the laughter… Terri thought it was funny as well. We laughed, I laughed… well, kind of. Fact is, this is really how she saw me. I know how people see me, but how do people see you?
In Israel a couple of years ago I was part of a briefing by Dr. Ian Stern who shared with our small group a number of things regarding the vast archeological digs happening in the Jerusalem and beyond. He mentioned that some of the earliest mass manufactured goods were clay pots, the abundance of which can be found in the Mediterranean region of the world today. There is considerable evidence among these remains of brands or branding the earliest of which being the potter’s mark. A potter would identify his pots by putting his thumbprint into the wet clay on the bottom of the pot. Wow, the mark of the creator right there on his creation. What should that look like in us?
Luke recorded for us the acts of the early church and in doing so he gave us the picture of two strong believers who were hauled into court to explain to the officials how a man they talked to on the way to temple was healed. Peter was ready just as he would later write encouraging us to be: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asked you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” So Peter explains “If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Now notice with me what immediately happens: “when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”
Let me suggest that first off, The Thumbprint of God speaks clearly. It’s not so much what the disciples did that stands out to me as much as it is what others saw in them. They Saw Jesus, they reminded them of Jesus!!!! I have been told I look like my Grandpa Henson, my Mom’s dad. Well I should! We tend to resemble those to whom we are related. Secondly, The Thumbprint of God Sparks Courage! They saw boldness in Peter and John! Boldness is defined as… “not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring.” I’ve heard that there is a big difference a mere desire to do a thing, and
a burning passion to do it… a determination to accomplish it at any cost. A mere desire is like warm water in a locomotive, it will never produce any steam. It takes fire and force and enthusiasm to generate the things that propel successful character. The third thing I want us to see is, The Thumbprint of God Shouts Proof! Now don’t miss this, “And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.” Right before the eye’s of the questioners was the answer to their question! May our lives shout the proof who Jesus is and what He can do! This is what others saw in Peter and John, but what about me? What about us? No excuses here, may the world see Jesus in me!
Tim Throckmorton is the former Executive Pastor of the Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace Ohio and the Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. He is currently the Senior Pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.