Acts 3 is a scripture full of verses to build on, but the one that catches my eye this morning comes from verses 3-5: “When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.”
The man spoken of is one crippled from birth. He was carried daily to the temple gate to beg; it was his livelihood. Day after day, the crippled man was left there to ask for money. When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple, his response was no different for them than any other passerby; he looked up only to beg, probably with low expectation.
But notice how the scripture reads “Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” Do you see the focus of these two disciples on the man? They looked straight at him, it says. They didn’t glance his way; they gave the man their full consideration. Then see the exclamation point at the end of Peter’s command. This was no polite suggestion to kindly take a glimpse; they commanded the crippled man to pay strong attention to the moment. Something important was about to happen and it wasn’t about dropping coins into the man’s hand.
The crippled man was about to receive a life-changing blessing. But he had to do his part by shutting out every distraction and giving full attention to Peter and John. And what happened when he cooperated, when he gave full attention? He received a miracle. No, it was a miracle upon miracle, for he didn’t simply stand, he walked and jumped about! Can you imagine? It would have been incredible enough had he been able to stand on his own, but this crippled man’s legs and feet behaved as if they had always been strong and able.
This is the way of our Lord. When He gets ready to bless, there is always something extra, something so supernatural, its power and origin can’t be denied. But we must pay attention; we must be in the moment. And I think there is something more we must do once we’ve received an extraordinary blessing. We must expect.
A first miracle might come to an unbeliever, as it did in the case of the Acts 3 man. He had to be helped to pay attention to receive his miracle. Once having known an incredible gift of mercy and grace from the Lord God Almighty, however, we should be on the alert for more. We ought not sit pitifully by and beg, rather watch with trust that our loving Father will again pour down miracles on our need. We are his children and He wants to bless us – if we will only believe.