“Giving What We Have”
The early believers considered themselves faithful Jews. Although they had undergone a unique “baptism” by the Holy Spirit, they had not to this point made a connection that they were anything other than what they had always been.
Part of the Jewish devotional life is the offering of prayers three times a day: 9 a.m., 12 p.m., and 3 p.m. As Peter and John are participating in this devotional practice, they encounter a man handicapped from birth in no control over his destiny. He is truly a symbol of crippled humanity.
The man sees nothing extraordinary about Peter and John. He sees them as two men going to temple prayers and as potential donors to the cause for which he pleads.
As he makes his plea, Peter and John instruct him to look their way. Probably he had been going through his spill for charity, having had his lines down pat and not expecting anything special. As he looks in the direction of the disciples, he thinks his request for charity is about to be honored. Little does he know the blessing he is about to receive.
When Peter tells him that he has no money, we can imagine that the crippled man’s heart must have sunk. But when Peter tells him that he has something to give him that the man never thought possible, “in the name of Jesus” he rises (hint of resurrection?) and walks.
The enthusiasm of the man, now healed, is impossible to contain. People around them pay attention because of the witness of someone newly changed. There is no mistaking how something extraordinary has taken place in this man’s life, solely because Peter and John have given what they have in their possession, the power of the risen Jesus.
The people to whom we are called to minister are often unaware of their real needs and that we possess the power to meet those needs. But when we offer what we have, our experience with the risen Jesus, the authority of the Lord Christ is brought to bear in ways that create “wonder and amazement” at what only Jesus could make possible.
Acts 3:1-10 (ESV):
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.