Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” Acts 3:4
Here was this man waiting at the gate of the temple. The striking thing about this is that when he asked alms of Peter, Peter stopped, and said to him, “Look at us.” This is very important, because it is right in line with the activities of Jesus whenever he wanted to heal anyone. He rarely walked up to someone and merely touched him and healed him, without first directing his attention to himself. He always captivated the attention of the individuals he wanted to heal, directed them to focus their gaze upon him. The reason is that this arouses a sense of expectation. It always activates faith. This is what happened here. This man expected to receive something from Peter and John. He did not know what he was going to get, but his faith was quickened by Peter's words. This is very necessary in order to receive anything from God. You must expect something from him.
One of the reasons why there are people who attend church but whose lives are hardly any different than when they first came, is that they have never given their attention to God. They have never expected to receive anything when they came. Unfortunately there are those, young and old alike, who turn off their minds when they get into a church service. They start thinking of all kinds of other things, start taking mental trips and playing mental games. I have always thought it would be most interesting after service to know where everyone had been! Unfortunately, the life-changing truth that goes out from the Scriptures misses many, passes right by, and and church attenders can sit here for years and never be changed.
There are young people who have been raised in church, but who are no different, exhibit no evidence that God is at work. This is largely because they never have heard that word, “Look at me,” and paid attention. This is why Jesus always said to the crowds to which he preached, “He who has ears, let him hear...” (Matthew 11:15) Let him listen. This is always necessary for the working of faith.
The minute Peter had this man's attention, he did two interesting things: First, he admitted his bankruptcy in the material realm: “Silver or gold I do not have,” he said. “That's what you are looking for, but I can't help you there.” He then demonstrated his amazing adequacy in the spiritual realm: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” In that electric moment, as this man was looking at Peter and John, and heard these words, at the mention of the name of Jesus something remarkable happened. Strength came flowing into his ankles, and Peter, sensing it, took him by the right hand and lifted him up. The man rose and began to leap and shout and jump around, trying out this new found strength in his legs which he had never known, because he was lame from birth.
Father, thank you for the name of Jesus. It has lost none of its power. It is still transforming men and women, as it always has — and not only spiritually, but occasionally physically. Thank you for those demonstrations of your power still today. We know that you can change a sick and ailing body and make it well. But also you can take a sick and ailing spirit and make it whole.
- What does this passage teach us about our expectations of God? How does it apply to you?
- Are there any broken areas of your life that you have accepted as normal? What’s one step you can take today to begin healing?
- When people look at you are they drawn to the power and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ?