1 Peter and John were going up to the temple at three o’clock in the afternoon, the established prayer time. 2 Meanwhile, a man crippled since birth was being carried in. Every day, people would place him at the temple gate known as the Beautiful Gate so he could ask for money from those entering the temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he began to ask them for a gift. 4 Peter and John stared at him. Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gazed at them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 Peter said, “I don’t have any money, but I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, rise up and walk!” 7 Then he grasped the man’s right hand and raised him up. At once his feet and ankles became strong. 8 Jumping up, he began to walk around. He entered the temple with them, walking, leaping, and praising God. 9 All the people saw him walking and praising God. 10 They recognized him as the same one who used to sit at the temple’s Beautiful Gate asking for money. They were filled with amazement and surprise at what had happened to him.
For ten years I commuted by train to New York City and then I walked the ten blocks to work. If you want a lesson in human nature, watch people’s reactions to someone begging on the busy streets of our cities. People will be either intimidated, repulsed or angry enough to keep their distance, or feel sorry for the person and walk closer to give them some money. Pretty much everyone has their reasons why you should or should not give money to someone begging. Either way, the truth is they are strangers, and we make assumptions about people who are begging because we don’t know them or their stories.
I imagine the people rushing past the begging lame man on their way into the temple felt the same way we do at times. Some people gave him coins, some didn’t. But Peter and John saw him with different eyes. They had no money to give the man, so they gave him the one thing that would radically transform his life. Peter told him to rise up and be healed, body and soul, in the name of Jesus Christ. Then Peter took his hand and raised him up and his feet and ankles that had never walked became strong. The ‘no longer lame beggar’ went into the temple with Peter and John walking, leaping and praising God. To those who witnessed this, it was a miracle. Peter and John knew it was their faith in the power of Jesus’ name that God healed and transformed the life of the lame beggar. The miracle always points to God.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
This story illustrates the life of a disciple of Jesus: meeting people where they are and looking for opportunities to share about his love. When they receive Jesus, they praise God for the transformation he makes in their lives. We give them a hand and support them till they get on their feet. We invite them to worship with us. Little by little they grow into followers. This is how we make disciples for the transformation the world: we meet people where they are and we tell them about Jesus, so that like us, they too can be healed body and soul.
Today, ask God to help you see people with different eyes to meet them where they are.
Prayer: God of transformation, the world is in desperate need of your healing – body and soul – by the power of Jesus’ name. Renew our faith to be your disciples and let us see with different eyes so we can meet people where they are. Amen.