Summary: Peter doesn't have any money to give to the beggar, but Peter does heal him and the man is able to walk.
Acts 3:1-10 “The Good Gift”
The writer of the Gospel of Mark understood that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus was, “The Beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ the Son of God.” Jesus’ walk on earth was the first chapter. Following this premise, the Book of Acts is the second chapter.
Jesus entered human history in order to be the clearest revelation that God is a God of love who is intimately involved in human lives and creation. This was God’s gift to us. As disciples of Jesus we share that gift with those around us. Our words are the proclamation and our actions are the demonstration that God is a God of love who is intimately involved in human lives and creation. We see this truth in the story of Peter and the healing of the lame man.
SEEING THE INVISIBLE
Every day the lame man had his friends carry him to the temple gate so that he could beg for money. It was the ideal spot. The man could be seen by people going in to and coming out of the temple. Since the teaching of the Hebrew scripture encouraged giving to the poor, the people might have been more willing to drop a few coins into the man’s begging cup. I suspect, however, that the man was invisible to a majority of the people; they simply didn’t notice him.
Invisibility is a problem for those of us who want to share the good gift with others. We can’t share it with them if we don’t see the people in need. There are times (quite frequently really) when we get so caught up with ourselves that we don’t notice the other people in our lives or their needs. The gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to live beyond ourselves, though, and see the invisible. Peter and John saw a man in need.
Living in community with other Christians helps us see the needs of others. As members of Desert Streams we are aware of the need for mothers of young children to have fellowship and support—the MOPS ministry. We are aware of the need for the homeless to have water to drink in the summer. We gather cases of water for them. We join with others in providing the basis personal care items through Shoebox Ministries. We know the need of abused spouses and family and respond to their need through Eve’s Place.
It is hoped that our communal awareness sparks an individual sensitivity within us of other people’s need.
SEEING GOD’S POWER
I went through the Sunday school system of my congregation beginning at an early age. I always wondered why things today didn’t appear to work like they did with Jesus and the disciples. There aren’t a lot of reports of people being healed miraculously and then walking, leaping and praising God. I was like a lot of people. I thought that I could only see God in the big and miraculous, but this isn’t the only place we can observe God’s presence and power.
We can see God in the mundane and minute.
• Faye and I saw God moving when our youngest son had cancer. In a few days’ time we had fifteen hundred people surrounding us with prayer.
• We saw the Spirit working when, though a small congregation, Desert Streams raised $12,000 for a family whose husband/father was battling metastasized melanoma, and again when we raised $15,000 for a home lift system to increase an individual’s mobility.
• We see it in Angel Tree, Eve’s Place, Youth Spaghetti Dinners and Swap Meets.
• We see it in MOPPETS Caregivers, X-Stream Kids teachers, Land Cleaners and those who set-up and tear-down.
When we share the good gift and observe God’s presence and power we gather together for worship and praise.
SEEING GOD’S HOLINESS
Peter and John were going to the temple for prayer when they happened across the lame man and he was healed. The lame man entered the temple with them and joined them for prayer.
The people who observed the healing of the lame man were filled with wonder and amazement. They too may have responded with praise and worship.
Those who had proclaimed their faith in Jesus and belief in the good news beheld these great works. They too gathered for worship, communion, study and fellowship.
Like the disciples and the first Christians, we have good gifts to share. We share those gifts by gifts and talents through our words and deeds. People see the good gifts, receive them, and gather with us to praise and worship the Lord.