Sometime after Pentecost, Peter and John were going into the temple and a man crippled since birth asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him and said, “Look at us!” So the man, expecting to get something from them, gave them his attention.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. (Acts 3:1-10)
Before the man could be healed he had to look at the presence of God in the person of Peter. He had to be willing to look God’s way before God could act in his life. It may have been a first step for him, a small step, in moving toward God, but it was a small step that led to him leaping for joy in praise of God.
God in his love, mercy and generosity, will take the smallest movement from us toward him and act on it. Having been a cripple since birth, this man had probably been begging for many years at the temple gates. He was likely ignored by most people passing by. For the few that dropped a coin in his cup, even they may have gone on without acknowledging him.
So here was Peter, who did something hardly anyone ever did. He stopped, gave the man his full attention, talked to him and offered him God’s presence and healing.
There is a lesson here for people on both ends of this spectrum. To followers of Christ Jesus, we have the capacity to bring the presence of God through the power of the Holy Spirit to the people and circumstances in our lives. To those who are lame, in need and impoverished in spirit, the smallest response on their part toward God begets a response from God.
Once or twice a month I take communion to the residents of a local nursing home. Sometimes residents afflicted with Alzheimer’s are not able to physically receive the Body of Christ in the host, so I offer to say the Lord’s Prayer with them. That happened this past Sunday with a gentleman, and while he could not receive communion, as soon as I started to say the Lord’s Prayer with him, he began to try to say it with me.
A small step for both him and me, but one where God was fully present!