“1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple.
3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms.
4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.”
5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.
6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up,
and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God,
10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” – Acts3:1-10
Imagine the life of this man – he is being carried daily to be put at the temple to beg (v2) which has been his case ever since he was born. What do you think would this man’s response be if you ever dare ask him about his condition? Will there be a message of hopelessness or hope? Will there be a sign of discontent or acceptance?
I was studying this chapter, and there were so many beautiful thoughts that the Lord has revealed to me about Himself. Whether seeing the story in the beggar’s point of view, Peter /John’s, or the reader’s, there is one message, among many awesome others, which stood out: It’s all about God. 🙂
Let’s first focus on the healing of the lame man. What an awesome God we have to give the beggar more than what he asked for. The man extended his hands to receive alms in order to survive yet another day, but God gave him life instead when, through Peter and John, he was healed that he may walk, live, and praise the Lord (v9a).
What does this story speak to us today?
1. On getting healed and moving forward – a reader’s point of view.
When the power of the Lord touches us, the change will be very visible (v9a). This is not just on the physical aspect, but on the spiritual aspect most importantly. One of my favorite authors once wrote, that when one person encounters Jesus Christ, it will be very impossible for that person’s life to be left unchanged. Just like how the people saw the lame man already walking and praising God (v9a), a person who has truly encountered Jesus Christ will have its fruits flourish before everyone’s eyes.
When the Lord pours His spiritual healing to His chosen ones, we will see the unbeliever believe in Him. The eyes of those who are spiritually blind will be opened. The rebellious people will acknowledge God.
It will not stop in knowing the truth, in the same way that the story about the lame man does not stop at just getting healed. The Lord brought healing to the beggar so that he could stand up, live, and bless others – not sit at the temple and continue to live his old life.
Jesus Christ did not die just to save us from the fires of hell, but in order for us to be reconciled to Him. And this reconciliation means walking with Him daily, carrying up our cross, and joyfully following His footsteps. A person touched by God will not remain stagnant but His power will definitely move His children – to stand up and rise from where we are paralyzed.
Is there an area in our lives that is holding us back and hindering us from moving forward? God does not want us to stay there and just strive to survive. He wants to rescue us from it so that we can begin to live. Just as how He rescued us from our sins so we can have eternal life. Take note of the command. It says, “Rise up and walk”. When being able to “rise up” signifies healing from whatever, a command to “walk” speaks of moving forward and pressing on.
2. On pressing on in order to be used as God’s instrument to bless others – the beggar and Peter’s point of view.
Once upon a time, we were like this beggar, who could only be content to ask for alms that will enable us to survive on this earth. For as long as we can eat, and drink, and have the things which we thought mattered in this life, whether big or small, then we can sleep at night and think we are safe. If we don’t have much, it means more work for the discontented.
Once upon a time, we may or may not have wondered, is life only about daily survival? We get what we just need for a day, or a week, or a month. We keep ourselves away from danger so we can survive. Just like the beggar in this chapter who gets his share from temple-goers, enough to keep him breathing for the day. But is life just about that?
Now this. Once upon a time, there were people like Peter and John, whom God used to heal our blindness which disabled us from being who God designed us to be. When the Lord healed us, we saw that there is so much more than this temporary life. It’s called eternal life. Just like the beggar who has been healed and immediately stood up, lived, and leaped to praise God, we too as Christians, who have received God’s spiritual healing, should not be stagnant but should keep moving forward and pressing on to witness and make Jesus Christ known. We have been healed, so apart from the natural response of rejoicing about getting healed, I think we owe the world the truth – that we have a God who came to the world to heal the sick (in other words, to forgive the sinners).
The lame man has blessed the world when he uncontrollably and joyfully praised God for being physically healed. Peter has blessed me, when he pointed the world not to himself but to Jesus Christ (v16) when the world did not understand that it was God who healed the man, and not Peter nor John.
One day, the Lord brought a “Peter” into our lives, so that we will know Jesus Christ. We can also be a Peter in someone else’s life by sharing Jesus Christ to them. Not silver nor gold, but Jesus Christ – the eternal life.