Underestimated Profit

Acts 3:1-20a NET - Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time for prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried up, who was placed at the temple gate called “the Beautiful Gate” every day so he could beg for money from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple courts, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked directly at him (as did John) and said, “Look at us!” 5 So the lame man paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, stand up and walk!” 7 Then Peter took hold of him by the right hand and raised him up, and at once the man’s feet and ankles were made strong. 8 He jumped up, stood and began walking around, and he entered the temple courts with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

A lame man desired money, but he underestimated the profit he’d receive from an unrecognized prophet and apostle!  While nobody today has the apostolic authority and ministry of Peter and John, there are some things to note from this amazing healing account.

  1. They were on their way to pray when they healed the lame man.  They didn’t need to go get “prayed up” or “prayed through”, because they walked in the Spirit.  May we be inspired to a life of prayer and walking in the Spirit that prepares us for supernatural ministry at any time or inconvenience.

  2. The lame man had been born that way and was a long-time regular begging at the Temple.  This likely means that Jesus would have seen the lame man…and walked by without healing him.  Just because someone has had past opportunities for Jesus to heal them (only to remain unwell), don’t assume He won’t heal them when His divine purpose and timing is right.  Have faith!

  3. Peter and John demanded the lame man’s attention.  They were bold as lions rather than sheepish or embarrassed or reticent or cowardly.  Boldness is a great handmaiden for the miraculous.

  4. Peter did not attempt to give something he did not have, but what he had was better than the lame man’s request.  It is 100% Biblical to give charitably, but at some point the American Church must emphasize the ministry of supernatural healing gifts and not just  give our money only.

  5. Peter and John didn’t do “drive-by” miracle ministry.  The man they healed was not “scaffolding” they used to build their apostolic ministry platform and brand.  Peter gave him his hand, and they continued walking together in the house of God.  The miracle magnified the name of Jesus not the names of Peter and John.  Peter even downplayed their spirituality or goodness, giving people a bold Gospel witness rather than accepting the awe of the crowd.  

  6. The miracle was a megaphone not only for Peter’s Gospel message but also for Peter’s call for the crowd to repent of their sins.  Do we tend to view healings as helpers to proclaim the word of truth - or do we view them as an end to themselves?  Do we tend to view miracles as megaphones to magnify Jesus and call people to turn from sin to God - or do we tend to be entertained or thrilled at the supernatural simply as an experience divorced from greater purposes?  Will we follow Peter’s example to pray for healings and miracles as merciful acts, yet with aware of a greater purpose to follow them?  Do we tend to underestimate the profit we can offer those hoping to receive something?  Do we underestimate all that God has given us to give away to others in spiritual, physical, and mental distress?

9 All the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and they recognized him as the man who used to sit and ask for donations at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with astonishment and amazement at what had happened to him.11 While the man was hanging on to Peter and John, all the people, completely astounded, ran together to them in the covered walkway called Solomon’s Portico. 12 When Peter saw this, he declared to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us as if we had made this man walk by our own power or piety? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate after he had decided to release him. 14 But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a man who was a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the Originator of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this fact we are witnesses! 16 And on the basis of faith in Jesus’ name, his very name has made this man—whom you see and know—strong. The faith that is through Jesus has given him this complete health in the presence of you all. 17 And now, brothers, I know you acted in ignorance, as your rulers did too. 18 But the things God foretold long ago through all the prophets—that his Christ would suffer—he has fulfilled in this way. 19 Therefore repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out, 20 so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…