After the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples in Jerusalem, as we read yesterday in Acts 2, the disciples-now-apostles began to walk and live in the power of the Spirit, doing miracles amongst the people. Aside from the 3,000 people that were baptized on that first day of the Holy Spirit’s broad work here on the earth – an amazing miracle in and of itself! – the first miracle that we see is with Peter and John as they go to the temple for prayer.
As they are going up to the temple, they pass by the gate called “Beautiful” and in that place there was a man who had been lame and unable to walk since his birth. This man asks Peter and John for alms, for money. Peter looks at the man, tells the man to look at them, and then says:
“Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”Acts 3:6
Peter is not a rich man. He has left everything to follow Jesus and is now living in Jerusalem without any real job to support him. However, what he does have is a life lived, and true personal experience, with the risen Son of God, with the Messiah himself. And through that experience, he has received the Holy Spirit who is able to heal the man from his infermity.
Peter has the opportunity in that moment to truly change the man’s life forever. He doesn’t leave the man at the gate to continue to beg for money. He gives the man a whole new life.
This is also what we are called to do. So often as followers of Jesus, we think that we are to serve and help someone eat, or have clothes, or to have a roof over their head. And of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with that.
But what if their life changed completely? What if these dear people no longer needed to ask for food, or lack shelter, or receive clothes to put on their back? What if the very thing that prevents them from having these things was completely changed.
What if this man’s legs suddenly began to work? That is exactly what happened. Peter takes the man by the hand, calls him to stand and walk, and that is what the man does. He stands and walks into the temple with Peter and John. Now the man, no longer needing to stay there outside at the gate, can go inside for the time of prayer. His life is completely changed.
This is what we are called to do. As people who follow Jesus, we are called to be agents of transformation here on the earth. God is working, but he seems to always work through people.
Today, as I read this story in Acts 3, I later read this quote from someone named “LaSor” in the Enduring Word online commentary for Acts 3. I really liked it:
It is not the Church’s business in this world to simply make the present condition more bearable; the task of the Church is to release here on earth the redemptive work of God in Christ.
I pray that this is who we would be. Because of our experience in living with the risen Lord…because of our experience in living a transformed life, we can go on to give away the same to others. We don’t want to just make this world more bearable. We want to give the people that we meet a whole new life, a life transformed in Christ.