Acts 3:1-11 Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. 2 As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.4 Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. 6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene,[a] get up and[b] walk!”7 Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. 8 He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.9 All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. 10 When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! 11 They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon’s Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John.
In this passage the beggar has been placed on the steps of the temple. He sat at the beautiful gate, which was one of the most popular entrances to the temple. Daily he begged for someone to give him a little of their leftovers. He could be begging for food, money, clothing, or anything to help. His expectation everyday was to beg and receive gifts of charity. I wondered how many people passed him by each day at this busy gate. Peter, prompted by the Spirit, meets his eyes. Peter says, “Look at us!” The Greek word here for look means to be completely fixed upon, fastened, or to look intensely at something. Peter is demanding the man give him his undivided attention. The man looked at them expecting to get some type of coin to go in his cup. The beggar felt his biggest need was money for essentials, but Peter was about to expose his real need: Jesus. As the man looked at them expecting coins, Peter deflated him by saying, “ I have neither silver nor gold, but I give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ get up and walk.” Then Peter bends down and offers him a hand. Don’t miss this part. Peter has spoken the words of healing, but the man has to make a choice to receive it and get up off the mat. Here is where I want to make the first point. Someone can buy you the most elaborate gift, but if you don’t receive it, you don’t benefit from it. The man had been on the mat his whole life with people passing him by daily without giving him a thought. However, now a man not only sees him, but says, “get up and walk in the name of Jesus.” The man had no reason to believe he could walk other than having faith in Peter’s (a stranger’s) words. I wonder how many times Jesus has commanded us to get up and walk spiritually, yet we continue to stay on the mat. How many times has he spoken his healing words over our hearts, yet we continue to mourn? I am not talking about for a loved one here, but maybe over a relationship, job, etc. How many times has he spoken words of forgiveness, nevertheless we remain bitter? The man had a choice, and so do we. We can continue to be on the mat or reach for God’s extended hand and fulfill our purpose. The man chose to cling to faith and leapt to his feet. I love that about God. The man didn’t get up like an 80 year old man, but God empowered him to leap to his feet. God so desires us to take great leaps in our faith by taking His hand.
Another thing that I love is that Peter saw him because he was walking in the Spirit. Peter himself may have even passed by this beggar before. However, on this day the Spirit moved Peter, and he was obedient. He said, “I have no money, but what I have I give you.” Right here Peter announces that nothing he has will meet this man’s deep need, but the power of Jesus is more than enough! You see, the miracle had been sitting on the steps everyday, but it had just not been realized yet. Sometimes opportunity presents itself in the form of a problem, or what we think of as a distraction. God opened Peter’s eyes so he did not see the beggar as a distraction, but as an instrument by which he would preach the gospel. Sometimes in our lives, we are asking for God to change our circumstance or the people we find ourselves surrounded by. However, sometimes God creates the circumstance to change us. Somebody probably does not want to receive what I just said. I sure didn’t want to receive it when my friend said it to me. Basically, sometimes God puts us in situations to grow us in the Word. It is easy to read the Word and say you believe; it’s way harder to walk it out. The statement is simply implying God puts us in difficult circumstances or around difficult people to chisel the rough edges off our spiritual lives. Maybe we need to ask God what He is trying to teach us in our current situation or surroundings. We might be surprised by the answer.
Often times we are like the beggar looking for a few blessings to get us by in life, but God says He wants to radically change our lives from the inside out. Ephesians 3:20 says. “God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work in us.” God is saying, “I don’t want to give you a few coins to get by; I want to do beyond what you can even imagine.” Do you think the beggar got up that morning and believed he was going to walk? Absolutely not, but when the opportunity came he clung to it. He reached for Peter’s hand and left his mat behind forever! Why in the world when God reaches down His hand do we not take it?
We often look at God through glasses with limitations. You see, the beggar was merely asking for a few coins, but Peter opted for doing something beyond the man’s wildest imagination: healing, which would in return take care of his financial needs. Sometimes we know what we want but not what we need. Our expectations of God are so low at times; it is embarrassing. Think about the last prayer you were praying. Did you believe that God was going to take care of it, or did you hope? There is a big difference. God is calling us to be bold in our prayers, to expect mighty things. George Muller, a man of unwavering faith said, “If we desire our faith to be strengthened, we should not shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried, and therefore, through trial, be strengthened. Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends."
Lastly, the beggar was a living, breathing message of God. When the man went into the temple running, shouting, and rejoicing in the Lord, the people took notice. Although the Lord did not heal everyone, He always had a purpose when He did. Peter had the people’s undivided attention to preach the gospel because of this miracle. Because they saw the miracle with their own eyes, their hearts were turned toward the message. The council became angry with the disciples because they were proclaiming resurrection in Jesus name so they arrested them. Over 5,000 people had believed! “16 “What should we do with these men?” they asked each other. “We can’t deny that they have performed a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it………….21 The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go because they didn’t know how to punish them without starting a riot. For everyone was praising God 22 for this miraculous sign—the healing of a man who had been lame for more than forty years.” Although the religious leaders wanted to keep them in jail, they had no grounds. Everyone there had witnessed the miracle with his or her own eyes. There was no way to deny what the people saw. We all have a story and more than likely an answered prayer that only God could have supplied. I heard a pastor say once, “How would we know God was God if we didn’t experience problems?”
How would we know God as Jehovah Rapha (healer) if there were never any sickness?
How would we know God as El Roi (God who sees) if we never feel lost on our way?
How would we know God is Jehovah Jireh (God will provide) if we are never in need?
How would we know God as Elohim (strong) if we do not experience weakness?
How would we know God as El Shalom (peace) if we never experience turmoil or unrest?
Today God wants to be all these things in your life and so much more. He wants to perform amazing miracles in your life, just as He did for the beggar, through the Spirit. I pray that we will begin to pray BIG prayers with deep unwavering faith! What can God do in our lives if we will fully depend on Him?????????