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In our study of Acts chapter three, we see how God uses the healing of a beggar to provide an opportunity to share the gospel.
"One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer -at three in the afternoon." NIV translation
The early church knew the value of prayer as we see here. They were intentional about their prayer time. Are we as intentional? We do not have to go to a temple to pray and in fact we have the ability to pray all through the day.
"Now a man crippled 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. 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." NIV translation
This scene is both familiar and different from our culture today. We see, in the first part of this passage, that the crippled man was taken to the entrance to the temple courts. He was carried there by people that knew that it was the place where he would receive help. We have the same types of people with needs as the early Christians did but, in many cases, the church has ceased to be known for compassion for these people. Instead of the Christians of today helping people, the responsibility has been turned over to the government.
In the last part of the passage, we see that Peter and John stopped and spoke to the man. We also see that the man listened to them because he was expecting help.
Do we, as individuals, do the same thing as Peter and John or do we ignore the people and walk away? You see, we individually have the responsibility as well as the church as a body. Yes, the man is expecting to receive money but, as we will see, he ends up hearing about Jesus.
"Then Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'" NIV translation
Can you imagine the look on the beggar's face? He must have been stunned. There is a big lesson in this scripture for us today. In many cases today, we will give money, food, clothing, etc. to those in need but that is all we do. Though there are some things that people must have to survive, what good does it do them if they don't know Jesus Christ? We should tell people about Jesus and be the example of Jesus by meeting their needs. The two must go together to be an effective witness for Christ.