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Acts 3:1-10   Additional Meditation






Peter and John are going to prayer (v.1).  Often in the church there has been a tendency to separate off spiritual from material.  These two men are going to be holy, to perform a 'spiritual discipline'. Their minds could have been set on 'the prayer meeting'.   On the way they encounter 'low-life', a beggar (v.2).  He is probably unkempt and scruffy; after all, he is a beggar.  He is not holy.  He is unclean and he is dirty and he's not concerned with prayer meetings or with being holy.  Pass him by, he disturbs the peace I am cultivating in myself as I go to the prayer meeting to 'meet with God'.

But God doesn't separate spiritual and material; that was the work of early philosophers.  Yes, He delights when His children come into His presence in prayer, but He also is concerned for the sick and the lost, the weak and the poor.  God has this beggar in His sights.  How many 'poor' people around us has God got His sights on, yet we miss because we are too focused on 'the holy'?  Many church people delight in meetings, yet fail to touch the lives of ordinary people around them.  Thank God that Peter and John didn't miss this man.

The man, as beggars do, asked them for money (v.3).  How do we feel when we are accosted by street people?  They're going to use the money for drink or drugs, we rationalise, and so all we'll be doing is confirming their bad habits.  Don't give, ignore them, that's safer.  Certainly don't get involved with them!

Peter looks straight at him (v.4).  As the main study suggests, it would seem the Holy Spirit is nudging him. To look at the man indicates he is about to get seriously involved with him. We avoid eye contact when we want to avoid real involvement. Peter is homing in on this man.  He instructs the man, "Look at us".  Why?   Well, the truth is that beggars get into a routine and so just ask, sometimes only asking by habit with little expectation.  So he utters the words with no great expectation, perhaps, that these two men are going to help him. Sometimes God turns up in situations where there seems a complete absence of faith, but He knows the potential, He knows what He can do.

The man gives them his attention (v.5).  Hullo something is happening, have I got a giver at last, or what is going on here?  There is a level of expectancy suddenly but it is for the wrong thing. He simply expects a coin, something to help him buy bare essentials.   He's not expecting anything more because life has taught him not to build his hopes up.  How many of us have the same low expectations?  Do we ask God for a few coins when instead He wants to give us a whole new life?  Are we, in fact, the beggar with low expectations?

I haven't any money, is what Peter basically says (v.6).  The man's hopes are dashed. So why are you bothering to get me to look at you?   Are you just playing with me?  We don't know what went on in the man's mind at that moment, but it is quite likely for a split second it could have been like that.  We hoped God would turn up with what we'd been asking for but suddenly our hopes are dashed - just like we knew they would. That's what life tells us, isn't it?

Walk!  What?  What are you on about, I can't walk!  Peter takes him by the hand.  What are you doing.  He's lifting me up?   What?  What?  I can stand? I.... I can... I can walk!   The man needed a little bit of help along the way before the reality of the healing got through to him.  Sometimes we need that or we need to give that.  God knows we are sometimes slow to appreciate the wonder of what He is doing in our lives, but that doesn't stop Him doing it! 

What is it that God wants to do for you that is so much bigger than the tiny requests you've been making of Him?