“Then Peter said, ‘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 NIV)
The cripple at the Beautiful Gate was certainly not the only beggar that day; there may well have been others calling for Peter’s and John’s attention. But the Bible says that “Peter looked straight at him.” Other translations say, “Peter, fastening his eyes upon him…” (KJV) or “Peter looked intently at the man” (Phillips)…
By the Spirit [Peter] perceived that God was about to do something for this individual. Peter did not feel drawn to everybody at the gate in some wholesale sort of way, but only to this particular man.
There was no indication that the cripple believed in Jesus the Messiah. He didn’t ask Peter for prayer. He simply uttered the Jewish equivalent of “Buddy, can you spare some change?” like all the rest.
Yet Peter knew in his heart what to do—or rather he somehow knew what God was about to do. He initiated contact. “Look at us!” he declared.
This insight is something we need to recover today. Not very many of us expect God to give us these kinds of supernatural indications and leadings. The Holy Spirit may want to touch someone with his divine power and change his or her life for ever—but he can’t seem to find a channel to use, someone whose spiritual antenna is pointed outward in a heavenly direction and ready to obey God’s prompting. The story in Acts 3 is not hocus-pocus mysticism but a factual account of what the Holy Spirit did through two yielded servants.
Too often we pray about problems in a mechanical way, mouthing the same words over and over regardless of the case. We would do far better if we waited on the Lord and were sensitive to the mind of the Spirit about what to do, what to say, and what not to say as we walk among needy people, broken relationships, and other problems that come our way. The same God who led Peter can lead us today.
Please notice that Peter did not declare healing to every beggar at the temple gate that day, only to one in particular. There is no basis anywhere in the New Testament for mechanical, assembly-line operation of any spiritual gift according to some whim of the Christian believer. Rather, every indication is that we need to be open and obedient to the moving and sovereign mind of the Holy Spirit.
Think of all we miss by not being in tune with the Spirit’s sensitive and yet powerful leadings. Within minutes that day in Jerusalem, a crippled man was up on his feet, jumping around and dancing for the first time in his life…
This man’s sudden walking and jumping and leaping were fairly dramatic evidence that the name of Jesus had power…
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon