Today’s verses was supposed to be Acts 3:1-10, which describes the healing of a crippled beggar by Peter and John outside the temple gate. However, after further reading, I found that it made more sense to include the entire chapter here.
So again, in the opening verses of this chapter, John and Peter are about to enter the temple, when they come upon a crippled beggar. This is a man whose only source of income comes from spare change that people are willing to surrender to him because he is unable to work due to his condition. People entering and leaving the temple would have encountered this man EVERY DAY, asking for money. All of us who have spent any time walking downtown Chicago have encountered beggars looking for cash from strangers. What is your normal reaction when you see people begging for money? I know my reaction typically is to say sorry and keep walking. Is it un-Christian for me to do this? I’m not sure, but I know my reasons for not handing out change to every beggar I pass.
But this beggar in this situation is different than most of the ones I see in cities like Chicago. This man has been crippled since birth. In ancient times, this would have been a devastating condition for a man, since most men did manual labor jobs. So when Peter and John encounter him as they walk up to the temple, my first wonder is, how many times before have they seen and passed this man and given money? Or how many times have they just walked past and not done anything? But on this occasion, the holy spirit moved them to do something different. They healed him, IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST!
What happens after this? All of the people who witnessed this man now walking and jumping through the city, praising God are all amazed! They are amazed that two seemingly ordinary people, John and Peter, have healed this person. But this still isn’t the important part. It is Peter’s sermon that is what I want to get to here. Peter states that his ability to heal didn’t come from within, but from Jesus, whom the people of Jerusalem just had crucified not long before this.
So the important part here, you might ask? I think it is important to get the whole story here because it is important to see that the holy spirit leads us to do things that we do at the times we do them because of what the outcome can be. Here, because of this miracle, hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people who were in the temple at this time got to see the power of those who do works in the name of Jesus. They got to see and hear what this Jesus of Nazareth has to offer to those who believe. In the same way, the holy spirit provides us with opportunities every day to do God’s work in the name of Jesus, that we may bring someone to Christ.
My prayer for all of us today is that we use the opportunities set before us by the holy spirit to do God’s work in the name of Jesus. We may not even realize at the time what we were really doing. But upon reflection of our interactions of the day, we may come to know how we did God’s work each day.