I had the opportunity to sit in on a Bible study tonight and listen to an old lesson that I have heard several times before. But tonight was really cool. Although an old lesson, I found it to be both exciting and new. I’ve thought about why this was so new and fresh. And the short answer was my expectation level, meaning that as the lesson started I found myself relaxing and looking forward to what was about to be taught. I didn’t know what the lesson would be on but I had an expectation that I was going to learn something new and allowed myself to be open to listen with new ears.
The lesson was from Acts, chapter 3 – the story of Peter and John stopping outside of the gate called beautiful to listen to a crippled beggar. As I said, I have heard this story several times before but tonight, I guess, was the first time I have really listened to the lessons contained in this short story.
First, Peter and John were on their way to “do” church. They were on their way to take part in prayer at the temple when they encounter the beggar, who has been crippled since birth. Everyday, this beggar has been in this spot, asking everyone who entered the temple courts for money. Peter and John’s response at this intrusion? First of all, they stopped. Secondly they acknowledged him. Peter responds with “Look at us”. It would be easy to imagine the way he might have said this: a smartalec tone perhaps or maybe with an air of contempt possibly. The reason I say it would be easy is that I would probably be given to respond like this on more occassions than not.
For Peter, I think the answer is in his next statement Acts 3: 6 – Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” . I think he answered humbly knowing that physically, he had nothing to offer this man but spiritually he had life to offer. And his faith was so strong in Jesus, that he had no hesitation in doing so. He didn’t need time to huddle with John and pray about whether or not Jesus would want this beggar to be healed. He didn’t conduct a survey to see if the guy was worth all the trouble. He just did what we are all called to do – he did Church. He was the hands and feet of Christ to someone who couldn’t use his own.
Please read Acts 3 and see how it speaks to you. For me, my prayer is to be more like Peter and just start doing Church.