Begging isn’t much of a job, but it was a legitimate way to spend your days if you had a disability in the First Century World. So the man Peter and John met that afternoon wouldn’t have been a threat, a nuisance or a freeloader, just another man with a desperately sad story and incurable condition, trying to live as honestly as any other (vv.1-3). In a few seconds his world is transformed, and a city is confronted by the power and the word of Jesus.
Peter and John have little money, but something far, far better than even a whole bag of it: they know that Jesus wants to heal this man (v.6). And He does. Just see him walking and jumping! “And leap you lame for joy”, urged Charles Wesley in his famous hymn. We can. Jesus comes with power, and when He does, we should be “filled with wonder and amazement” (v.10).
When the Colonnade is crowded with astonished people, Peter and John seem quite calm, and they know what they must do. This is the time to declare that God vindicated the very One they had condemned a few weeks before, His servant Jesus (vv.12-16). Jesus brings healing. More than that, Jesus has the power to forgive. They are to repent. They may have acted in ignorance, but now they must act with the knowledge they have, to turn to the crucified Lord and to seek His forgiveness (vv.17-19).
Peter explains that Jesus is the Prophet Moses spoke of long ago, and He is the Returning One. If they are to be truly part of God’s People, then they must listen to and obey Him (vv.21-23). Exactly the same is true for you and for me. It is not enough to know that God is powerful, or that God has been faithful to our ancestors: we must find our peace with God, and our place amongst His covenant people through repentance and faith in Jesus (vv.24-26). Accept Him, and we are accepted – and alive!
A Prayer to Pray
Father, Your Son has set me free! Thankyou so much for life in His name. In a world where people are starving to find life, please give me the daily bread of Jesus, and the compassionate and believing heart to share Him with others. Otherwise, they will die – and so will I. Amen.