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!”Acts 3:4-6
It is just as Petra wrote. It is like she pre-empted my train of thought and the direction I wanted to take in this Gem. This is an awesome verse (Petra’s favourite). What we have inside is more valuable and precious than just silver or gold. The power of God is within us. If what we have inside is more valuable than gold or silver, then we must be the most wanted (sought after) people in the world. We need to meet every person who doesn’t have God in their lives. All we need to do just to be available to be used by God the way Peter and John were. Connected with heaven, so we will know how to share the “good news” and perform miracles. The italicised words are Petra’s words. Those of you who have followed Gems for a while know that on occasions I clip what one of you wrote, even on occasions using it as the whole Gem.
What is ironic in this verse is it contrasts what we have and what we don’t have. So many times when faced with the world of human need, we don’t have the resources to meet the needs we encounter. Money is the number one request that comes to us most days. The world is in need and interprets that need as the need for money. We often see our situation as a lack of money.
As I have told you many times I wondered initially how we were going to do all that God was asking of us back in 1981. How would we pay for it all financially? He told me. “Don’t worry about what you don’t have. Let Me take care of what you need. Just press on in the direction I set for you.” We have been doing that now for 39 years and He has indeed met our need.
Many times those who are in need see their need as a financial one. But God can do anything and everything for you. While you may not have money, you have something more powerful. As Petra commented, the power of God is within us. I don’t have the financial resources to meet all the world’s needs. It strikes me as interesting (to say the least) that on the one hand we have depicted here a financial need made known. Contrast this with the final verses of Acts 2:42-47, where the early church had no need. This man and “his financial need” is set in juxtaposition with a church where all needs were met. We desire the situation found in the description of the early church. The place where all our needs are met. But often times for the wrong reasons.
Let’s look at this story closer: Here we have a man with a perceived need for funds. He has no money. So he is sitting outside the temple gate begging from those who are entering, supposedly willing to give alms. We are told he sat there regularly. He perceived his need would be met by the worshippers going to the temple.
I have encountered daily the beggars who sit in places where they assume they will encounter generous people. Sitting in the preferred location, begging on a Sunday after church, or on a Friday close to the mosque at a time when they sense the people they will encounter are willing to give. I have given money to one child only to have ten more run to me and cling on asking for their share. They even tried to get their hands in my pockets to access my cash for themselves. There is a sea of need out there.
The man was lame and had to rely on his friends and family to take him to his chosen place near the temple where he would gain the most. But his need was not money. His need was to be healed so that he could walk again and work. He had become so adjusted, so attuned, to his perceived need that he missed his real need. In this case Jesus didn’t ask him (as He had asked others), what it was he wanted. Why? Because he didn’t encounter Jesus. We looked at Pak Suryadi’s question: why was it that Jesus didn’t heal him if He passed by those in the temple and many times healed all those in need? Why wasn’t this man healed by Jesus? Why did he have to wait for the “second string” disciples to meet his need? Isn’t that what many of us think? We go up for healing at church and are wanting the senior pastor or the visiting “faith healer” to be the one to pray for us. Isn’t the power in the one who is special and anointed for the role? Some say, “No, I don’t want a deacon to pray for me, I want the senior pastor to do it.” I don’t want you to pray for me Ian, I want X to pray for me. A number of times in those situations the person wasn’t healed. I can’t help but wonder if the reason was their attitude of heart when they rejected the “second string” in favour of the “anointed one”, little realising the same God is in both. Allow me to muse and go with the flow at this point.
I believe we have to come to the point of realising in ways we have not realised before, that the power of God is within us. We HAVE not because we ASK not. Or as James reminds us many times, we ask with the wrong motives or the wrong underlying assumptions. If Jesus had asked this lame man what he wanted Him to do, I wonder what he would have said. His focus was clearly money. I suspect he might have told Jesus he needed money. How would the God who created him have answered his need? If His disciples were astute enough to cut to the chase and focus on what really matters, how much more the Creator Saviour. Jesus and the Holy Spirit always know our real need. And you my dear friend, have the power of that same Redeemer King, that same God and Saviour within you. It is more a case of learning the principles which govern how and when God works. Moses knew the ways of God; the people of Israel only saw His acts. So often that is the case with us. We are mystified when God heals and when He doesn’t. I addressed that issue in Gem 1395. Oh, there are still times when I was certain God would heal but He didn’t. It wasn’t because of lack of faith on my part. There were other factors involved. I don’t have it all worked out. As I have told you, I am content to leave it with God knowing His ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts beyond mine. But I do know that the motivation of our heart plays a big part in how and when God is willing to respond to us. Other times He chooses to leave us with the mystery.
What is remarkable in this story is the fact that the disciples by-pass the perceived need of the man to give him what he really needed – Healing. It is not money he needed, it was healing. That much is obvious to onlookers and to these two disciples but it was not obvious to him. And what’s more, it is Peter and John who are used as the means of bringing healing to him. Not Jesus who could have easily done it. No, He left this one to Peter and John. Would the healing have occurred if John had not been there? What part did he play in the healing? What is clear is that when 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!” he was speaking for both of them. They were both part of the healing and implicated in it. The inference for us all is that we too can be the means whereby others are healed if we walk in the Spirit of the God Who made us. As Petra said, All we need to do is just be available and be used by God the way Peter and John were. We need to be connected with heaven as we walk through this earth. Now that is the challenge. It can start with us realising our position in Him and being willing to step out in faith and trust. Rather than passing on the sick to the senior pastor or prayer team to pray for them, realise that we have that same power within us. Hint: you are not responsible for the outcome. You are merely required to be available and act when God prompts you to be his heart, hands and feet. God is the One who responds with healing or not. The healing is not in you, it is in Him. That is why Peter said, In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Be willing to be the channel of blessing but give the glory to One who deserves it.
I love my life but more than that I love the One who gave me life.Roseanne Laurelia Manangka
He was crucified on a cross of wood, yet He made the hill on which it stood.Yvonne Butler
Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.Ian Vail
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet. God controls history to do His Word.Matthew 1:22
Learn to trust Him Who has all under control and step out in faith.Ian Vail