“Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer (the ninth hour). 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. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple he asked to receive alms. (And) Peter directed his gaze at him (as did John) and said: ‘Look at us.’ And he (the lame man) fixed his attention on them expecting to receive something from them. 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!” And he (Peter) took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
…all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel: Why do you wonder at this or why do you stare at us as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk?” Acts 3:1-7; vs. 11b-12
This is not a record of a first miracle by any of the disciples—probably not the first by Peter or John. It is a record of one of the first miracles done when Jesus wasn’t physically around. What does this mean to a knucklehead like me?
When I read through the Scriptures I begin to wonder about how folks I read about decide to do what they do? What triggers them? At the extreme how spooky do they get?
As a card carrying Charismatic from way back, I think this is stuff I ought to be doing. But the flip side of my “card” reads Chicken as well. Candidly, the times I have stuffed down my man-fear and reached out in courage in Jesus, I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I have been in the presence of an immediate miracle like the lame man: ZERO.
I have searched out, thought about, periodically prepared myself (deep breathing exercises, practicing in the mirror, and other silly things), and decided that the next time I am in the grocery store and see a wheelchair, I am going to stop and pray. Did that a couple of times, more often than not I do like the old song “Walk on by…”
So what should I be doing? Again, candidly, this falls into Biblical understanding and consciously mirroring the Word of God—when I fail in doing something, confess, repent, and get going again. Repeat until becomes habit.
Here is what I am after in myself: I want what I see in Peter and John and indeed the whole Bible to become reflex in me. I want what I learn and become convinced in to be seamless in my life from the time I wake up every morning to the moment I lay my head on the pillow at night.
I can’t help but think Peter and John did not have an idea that the lame man was going to be in their way. They just had a nice lunch, talked about the scriptures, the local middle school sports, the weather… and then 3pm came around and they said “Let’s go up to the temple and pray.” However, this may have been the difference: they were prepared, not in any overt or specific way, but they have been practicing “putting on the Lord Jesus and making no provision for the flesh.” Peter and John did not switch into Christian gear; they were purposeful in pursuing seamless integration of the Scriptures in their life.
That’s what I want…
Lord, do I reach too high? I don’t think so. It had been said of Charles Spurgeon “He bleeds the Bible.” When I think of Charlie’s example I want to be like that—including Jesus’ life integrated into mine. I am so disappointed in myself when I find myself “being religious”, as if an artificial cloud dropped over me. Please make me holy in my secret places, in my house and around my wife, well before my footsteps outside in public. AMEN.