I See You

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. -Acts 3:5-10

Just before this story in chapter 3, Peter addresses a large crowd at the feast of Pentecost and thousands come to faith. After that great mass conversion in the previous chapter—when 3,000 people were saved—we might be tempted to think that the apostles were not concerned for the individual. Some might conclude that they were all about the big event and did not actually care for the small guy.

This story in Acts 3 gives a glimpse of a remarkable moment that shows us more detail about the apostles and the God they serve. Here we see that God is not only concerned for the masses but for small, unseen, often overlooked individuals.

More than Silver and Gold

Our story today begins with a man that is lame (unable to walk). Some people become lame through disease or through an accident but this man had never known the pleasure of being able to stand on his own two feet without help; he had never known the joy and blessing of being able to walk down the sidewalk, like you and I take for granted.

We are told that he is carried every day to the temple and laid there. Are these people his family, his friends? We don’t know. They would carry him into the temple complex and lay him so that people coming into worship would see him. In verse 2, Luke the Physician, says that they laid him at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate.

Though there is some debate about it, many scholars believe that the Beautiful Gate was the gate separating the court of the women from the court of the Jewish men. This gate would have been magnificent. Covered with gold and silver.

He was placed here intentionally so that as people came to worship they would perhaps take pity on him and give a gift. Alms giving was an important part of Jewish faith and he hoped that someone would see him and be moved to give.

Peter and John came to introduce this man to the True Gate, the Living Way to God—Jesus Christ.

After thousands had passed this man by, day after day, I’m sure he was used to be ignored. Perhaps he had become just a part of the furniture there. Peter and John show up. They walk up to him and say, “Look at us.”

Think of the last time you saw a beggar on the street. What is often your natural reaction? Do you look the other way and to act like the person doesn’t even exist. Perhaps you choose another route to avoid the beggar or roll up your windows if they are standing at a traffic light.

But Peter and John don’t avoid him. Far from it, they engage him and tell him “look at us.”

The passage says that he expected them to give something to him (verse 5). Indeed, Peter wants to give him something but not what the man expected. He wanted to show him mercy by healing his body, so that he could be introduced to the true Healer, the one who can heal souls.

This story reminds us that when we feel invisible, unseen, or ignored, God sees us. The miracle of healing that happens in this story is remarkable but equally remarkable is that God has even the hairs of our head numbered and cares for every single one of his people, intimately (Matthew 10:28-31).

I See You

God comes for his people and rescues them because he sees them and delights in them (Psalm 18:19). Even when our father or mother forsakes us, the Lord will take us in (Psalm 27:10).

God says to his people today, “I see you.”

The question for us is do we see him? Are we looking at him? Do we have our eyes fixed upon the One who loves us (Hebrews 12:1-2)?

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