Focus verses: Acts: 3:1-16
The very public miracle of healing the crippled beggar was a great teaching tool for Peter and John. Notice first that Peter did not give the man what he asked for. The man asked for alms. Peter gave him wholeness. Peter gave him the health needed to earn his own living.
There are some lessons for us in these verses.
First, ask for what you need, not some outlandish greed. God knows what you need before you ask, but He wants you to acknowledge the need and your dependence upon Him for it’s fulfillment. That recognition of our total dependence upon Him is part of our connection to Him. Our total dependence upon Him is part of developing a closeness to Him. If you are leaning, you cannot be far away.
Second, be willing to accept what He gives you. The man could not think in terms of anything but a few alms. He had no illusions that he would ever walk or be a whole man again. But God made him whole. True, He used the words of Peter to manifest this miracle, but it wasn’t Peter who made the man walk. Or as King James version puts it walking, and leaping, and praising God.
Third, know whom to thank. He didn’t thank Peter, although I’m sure he was grateful for Peter’s intervention. The formerly lame man knew that God alone had performed this healing. Peter was simply the instrument through which God had manifested this miracle. The beggar probably thanked Peter as well, but he knew that the praise all belonged to God.
Fourth, don’t let the vessel become the source. Peter was the vessel through which God worked, but the beggar didn’t drop everything and chase after Peter. He entered the temple. His loud praise was for God, not for Peter.
Too often in our world we see preachers, teachers and ministers doing dramatic things. And to our shame and their detriment, we expect more of them than a human being is capable of giving. Then we are appalled when this idol is found to have feet of clay. Any teacher who takes the focus off God and puts it on himself is a false teacher. The emphasis should be on God, not on the person.
In verses eleven through sixteen, Peter said plainly that it was not his and John’s power that had made the man walk, but through faith in the name of Jesus. Jesus had told them that they would do all the miracles He had done and even greater works. The purpose of these dramatic events is to bring glory to God. Not just pomp and circumstance kind of glory, but the glory of winning souls to His kingdom.
Help us to see the purpose in spectacles. Let us not be distracted by the surface appearance, but teach us the lesson that lies beneath. Keep us true to Your purposes and grant that we may always point people to You and Your love for them.