Acts 3:4-7 (NLT)
Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”
Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened.
My Bible translation inserts a subtitle for this story: “Peter Heals a Crippled Beggar.” The label seems to fit at first glance, but what is really going on here?
The real healer, of course, is God. We know that because Peter invokes the name of Jesus before he issues the command to “get up and walk.” Because we are disciples of Christ as Peter was, it’s important for us to understand Peter’s role in God’s healing of this suffering man.
In this short passage, Peter models for us three essential behaviors that God uses to heal the lame man:
- Peter initiates the encounter. He engages the man’s attention with the words, “Look at us!”
- Peter offers the man a gift, not out of his pocket but from the gifting that Peter himself has received from the Holy Spirit.
- Peter grips the man’s hand and helps him to stand upright.
This story beautifully illustrates God’s incarnation in Jesus, who came to earth to engage our attention, offers us God’s gifts of mercy and salvation, and through his humanity helps us to stand upright, healed and forgiven. It is God’s plan that we, too, incarnate the grace and love of God by offering to others the very gifts that we receive from God’s gracious hand.
Sharing our gifting is no more important than when we are called to forgive. In fact, it is so important that Scripture tells us directly, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” As Christians, we forgive for reasons that go well beyond our personal release from anger and bitterness. We forgive because we have known the blessing of being forgiven by God. Like Peter, we can help to relieve the suffering of others by sharing the miracle that makes us healed and whole.
FATHER, I offer myself to be used like Peter to extend your good gifts to those around me. Teach me more about the real value and meaning of forgiveness. Thank you for the wisdom and guidance you provide through Scripture and your Holy Spirit.
Luke 7:47; Colossians 3:13-14
Do you believe that God can work a miracle through your small act of forgiveness?