Now Peter and John – (Best Buds) were on their way to the temple for the midafternoon prayer. (Someday I’m going to do a study on the “hours” mentioned in Scripture…especially as they relate to what’s been named the Threefold Daily Prayers picked up by the early church – 9 am, noon and 3 pm. It’s the ninth hour/3pm prayer mentioned here.)
The whole idea of “church” is a new thing and the Jesus people are still interrelated to the practice of their Jewish faith. They are following their traditional customs which I think is pretty cool and why not? They had been waiting for a Messiah because of their Jewish faith and culture so Jesus showing up would have been the fulfillment of their destiny rather than a dividing mark.
There are some people carrying a lame man – lame from birth – to place him at the Beautiful Gate at the entrance to the temple so he could beg for alms. The contrast is telling – a lame man and a beautiful entryway. Something is coming…
That would be Peter and John approaching and the beggar targets them to ask for a charity donation. It’s interesting that the Jewish rabbis taught giving to the less fortunate but this malady may have kept the man from actually entering the temple. (I wonder how many times I have done charity giving without welcoming the person who was the object of my charity. That’s a convicting thought.)
Not the case for Peter and John – they gaze at the man. Gaze – that’s a word full of meaning if you think about it – to look steadily and intently, as with great curiosity, interest, pleasure, or wonder. This brings to mind the idea that P and J may have had a twinkle in their eyes. Could they have been interested and curious because they saw this as a God ordained encounter? Maybe they just couldn’t wait to see what God was going to do. (What a difference that would make in my day if I was using eyes like that!)
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!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
“In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” – that’s what God can do! The lame man had never, ever, ever walked in his whole life. Now he is standing and walking and leaping and praising God and going right in the temple with P and J. This man did not confuse his healing as having come from Peter or John. He knew exactly who deserved the credit!
All the people saw it and they knew it was the lame guy and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. (Frankly I think Peter and John might have been just a bit on cloud nine themselves. Can you just imagine God allowing you to be a part of something like this? I’d be radioactive for weeks!)
Power, Power, wonder working Power…
Gaze at people with great curiosity and interest…what exactly can you offer them from Jesus today?
About the World?
People will notice when God intervenes in someone’s life.