Acts 3:1-7 “One day Peter and John were going up to the temple courts at the time of prayer–at three in the afternoon. Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.”
There was nothing unusual about going to the temple and finding people begging for money. We find ourselves in similar circumstances today when confronted by panhandlers. Some people who beg for money may be abusing the charity of the generous. This man simply was unable to support himself because of his disability. He genuinely needed help. Since he was lame from birth, there was no reason to think he would ever be cured.
Peter and John wanted to help. They weren’t trying only to quiet the lame man. Nor were they acting from guilt or annoyed into helping. They loved this man from the heart, and they did more than buy him a meal.
First, they demanded his full attention. “Look at us.” It was important for the man to hear exactly what the apostles had to say, to understand what they were doing. Then came the gift: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” With those simple words, the man was healed. Peter gave him more than a little bread. He gave him a new way of life. Contained in this gift was a very personal reason to trust in Jesus Christ. The healing was so complete that, though the man had never walked a day in his life, now he was able jump and run. No one could deny a miracle had taken place.
Do we see where Jesus is in all of this? Cowardice had led this same Peter to deny he knew Jesus three times. This same John once so thirsted for power that he tried to manipulate Jesus into promising to make him second in command in his kingdom. On the night Jesus rose from the dead these men had locked themselves in an upper room for fear of the Jews.
Now they were boldly and publicly healing this man in Jesus’ name. Peter and John were not acting alone. Jesus was working in and through them, using the disciples to heal the crippled man. We see Jesus in the lives of his people, loving others through his power.
Do we find him in the same place today? We haven’t been given the gift to heal people miraculously. But we do have gifts for serving others. These are no less the work of Jesus. He is still working, still serving others, even in those who clean the church, or make the coffee on Sunday morning. His love moves those who send a sympathy card or visit us when tragedy strikes. He is knocking at the unbeliever’s door when someone from the evangelism team makes a visit, and he is seeking the straying when elders call on those who have stopped attending worship.
We may not see him with our eyes, but Jesus hasn’t disappeared. He still serves us in the love and help of other Christians. He still uses us to be his loving hands and mouths today.