I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
Acts 3:1-10 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Peter Heals a Crippled Beggar
3 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. 4 Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,[a] stand 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 Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 All the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
There’s a lesson for Christians today in this story of the first healing after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Take a look at some of the details and think about how they speak to you.
The story begins with John and Peter on their way to the temple to pray about three o’clock in the afternoon. It was at the regular time, so it was ingrained habit. On their way, they saw a man who was unable to walk from birth. He was undoubtedly among many others who were physically challenged or blind or suffering in some other way that forced them to beg as a way of surviving. When he sees Peter and John, he hopes that he can get some money from them. Maybe for some reason he saw them as compassionate people.
I think one of the most important parts of this story is verse 4, which says that Peter and John “looked intently at him.” They really saw the man whom others walked by. Perhaps they had walked by him on other afternoons at 3:00, but this time they looked intently at him, they focused on him, he was more than just furniture by the gate.
After all, it is easy to miss really seeing those around us. We can become so used to the pain and hurt in our world as the 24-hour news cycle numbs us to the reality of what is happening, that we don’t really see. Or, it is just too much to take in and we just don’t want to see anymore and we close our eyes to it all.
But, Peter and John really cared and they cared deeply enough to see the man and his plight.
Peter responded to his request for alms, saying, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” Then Peter surprised everyone—maybe even himself—when he reached out, took the man by the right hand, and lifted him up so that he was standing and he “entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.”
Because of people who really see and really care, God heals in our day through all the ways people have used their God-given minds and abilities to make healing possible: new knees, new hips, renewed ability and strength, cancer research and treatment, and all the others ways that healing takes place. What we see in Simon Peter is that he gives what he has.
We have received from God grace and upon grace and it is ours to give. We have received forgiveness and it is ours to give. We have received love and it is ours to give. We have received acceptance and it is ours to give.
The reality is that there are people we need to see—really see. There are people who are lonely and need a friend. There are people who need community and can find it at our church. There are people who feel unloved who can experience being loved and accepted.
Here’s my prayer: Lord, as I go about my hurried pace, help me to slow down and see—really see—and respond in loving ways that truly help. Amen.
There is a lot of theology woven in to hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “When Jesus the Healer Came Through Galilee” by Peter D. Smith (1979). I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul. Listen to this hymn on SoundCloud.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster