People are often criticized for waiting for someone else to do for them what they should do for themselves. People are also criticized for failing to wait on God to get results.
In both cases, it is important to remember that God uses people to accomplish His will in the earth. God uses preachers to minister salvation and deliverance. He uses doctors and health professionals to heal . And I’ve frequently said that you will never get a check signed by God.
(Acts 3:1-10) Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 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!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 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.
It’s really interesting how this fellow positioned himself at the temple. I believe this is because he saw himself yoked to the law. But, when Peter and John showed up, Grace presented itself and prevailed over his circumstances. He likely hung out at the temple because he saw himself under condemnation because of his condition. But, because of Grace, he left his condemnation behind and leapt away, liberated from the yoke of his situation.
Ascertain the Position — Locate
The first thing we see in the text is this man had friends or family position him at the gate of the temple with the hopes of receiving money (v2). This was typical because those who were invalid during the time of the Book of Acts were incapable of meaningful work and, therefore, were reduced to begging. In order to receive a miracle, you must be willing to put yourself in position to receive it. In Matthew 8:5-13, a Centurion made his way to Jesus to get healing for his servant. In Mark 5:21-40, Jairus came to Jesus looking for healing for his daughter but was interrupted by a woman who came to get healing for an issue of blood. In the midst of the delay, Jairus’ daughter died. Instead of healing for his daughter, he witnessed a greater miracle — seeing her resurrected from the dead.
Just like salvation requires an effort on your part, sometimes you have to be in the right place at the right time to receive the miraculous. Sometimes, though, you just simply need to locate God in you to receive it. The distance between these two scenarios is discernment. Grace gives us discernment.
Ascribing the Power — Look
The next thing that happens is Peter gives the man an instruction to look upon them (v4). Beggars typically begged with their heads lowered as a means of demonstrating humility. Contrary to what you may see, here, Peter was not getting the man to focus on them — he was getting the man to look at the power they were carrying. The author of Hebrews tells us that we should look to Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith. Peter had firsthand experience in looking because he had enough faith to look upon Jesus and step out of a boat in the midst of a storm. He also knew what happened when he looked away from Jesus — he began to sink (Matthew 4:28-33).
When we look to Jesus for what we need, we always find it. When we look to the world, we suffer disappointment and defeat. Grace gives us the power to overcome!
Attention to the Promise — Listen
Sometimes the voice of God comes in thunder (Matthew 17:5); sometimes it comes in a whisper (1 Kings 19:12). Sometimes it comes in the voice of your children or your spouse. Sometimes, God will use something so ridiculous as a donkey (Numbers 22:27–35). In this case, Peter indicated that he had no money to give but he wanted to give the man something greater. He told the man to rise up and walk, IN THE NAME OF JESUS (v6)! This had to be a difficult instruction for the lame man to obey because he knew his condition — he was lame from birth! However, God knew him and his condition better than he, himself, did and God gave Peter a ridiculous instruction to give to the man to receive an amazing result.
All of God’s promises find their “yes” and “amen” in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). We need to learn to listen for what He has already promised!
Sometimes, the instruction we get makes no sense. But God isn’t bound by our logic or our natural understanding. Grace makes impossibility possible!
Appropriate the Possession — Lift
In America, we frequently speak of how individuals should “pick themselves up by their bootstraps.” Well, God sent me here to tell you that that ain’t His way! In v7, Peter extended a hand to him to lift the man up. This was not a handout, it was a hand-up! Hear me folks, we are our brother’s keeper! It is our job to demonstrate the love of God toward us and our love for God by loving others (John 13:35). In order to manifest love, you must have compassion. In order to demonstrate compassion, you must have empathy. If Peter and John did not stop to speak to the man, they would have been lacking in compassion. If Peter did not reach out to the man, he would have been lacking in empathy.
In order to demonstrate the Love and Grace of God, we must be willing to reach out and help. The only time we should ever look down on someone is to lift them up! Grace moves us to reach out and help others!
Acknowledge With Praise — Leap
This is the part I really love! When Peter extended His hand to help the man up, the text tells us that he didn’t merely stand, HE LEAPT (v8)! He was excited! All his life, this man watched people walk around him and past him but, today, he was able to walk with them. And God not only strengthened him to walk but to run and leap. His praise was ridiculous. His praise was contagious (v9:10). His praise drew the scrutiny of the religious folks (Acts 4:57). Now, this man praised God after he received his healing and wholeness but I believe that when we praise God in advance — and the world and the devil hear this praise beforehand — then it manifests in the natural, this is an extraordinary testimony.
There are folks who will tell you to never trust a preacher who doesn’t lead with a limp. Well, I don’t buy that. I will tell you that God doesn’t desire lameness in anything He does — I believe He wants us to lead with a leap! Grace takes you from lying down before men to leaping ahead of them!
So leap! Shout! Make noise! Let everyone know what God has done for you! And if you really want to testify, let everyone know what God has done for you before it has manifested!
When God tells us to get out of the boat, we need to have faith and do it.
When He moves us to touch the hem of His garment, we must believe and do it.
When He tells us that all things are possible to he who believes, we need to trust it.
When He says rise up and walk, we need to get up and start leaping!
Rise up and walk. Rise up and run. Rise up and leap! God wants you whole!
© 2015 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)