Rev. Stephen Snodgrass
For Such A Time As This
“Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” Acts 3:6
He would have been labeled, a tragedy. His parents had noticed that his legs were not right and as he developed they found that he could neither walk nor stand. This handicap left him utterly useless in the society in which he was born. He was left to lead the life of a common beggar. We find him in Acts chapter three, where he had been placed by the gate Beautiful outside of the temple. He was left daily at his position beside the gate to beg and hope that someone would have pity on him
On this particular day, around three o’clock in the afternoon, the shadows of two men fell upon the beggar. Out of habit, he began to rattle his cup and ask of alms. It would be interesting to point out that he was strategically placed by the temple gate, in hopes on those entering who might feel a need to pity their less fortunate neighbor and thus gain God’s favor by tossing a spare coin in their direction.
As he looked at Peter and John, it is certain that he did not expect much. The scripture tells us that he ask an alms. He was at a low point and the only thing that mattered to him at the moment was the next meal and his well-being. J. Phillips writes about this incident, “the poor lame man is a cameo of the human race. Men are born lame, with no standing before God. They stumble and fall through life. They have nothing. The very best person in the world, outside of Christ, is a hopeless spiritual cripple, born that way; the wealthiest man is a spiritual beggar.”
The response that Peter gave him, was “look on us.” By making this comment, Peter and John were not attempting to draw attention to themselves, but it was their desire that this man would see in them the true reflection of the Savior. As he turned his hopeless gaze upon the apostles, Peter spoke, “Silver and gold have I not, but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
Adam Clarke related the story of Thomas Aquinas, surnamed the angelical doctor, who was highly esteemed by Pope Innocent IV., going one day into the pope’s chamber, where they were reckoning large sums of money, the pope, addressing himself to Aquinas, said: “You see that the Church is no longer in an age in which she can say, Silver and gold have I none?” “It is true, holy father,” replied the angelical doctor, “nor can she now say to the lame man, Rise up and walk!” This was a faithful testimony, and must have cut deep for the moment.
It seems that the modern day Christian has it all backwards. The beggar asked for money, but Peter and John did not have money, but they did have a miracle. Today if a beggar were to ask for a miracle, most would not have the faith adequate to product such an act, so we would resort to our pocketbook and try to make things better with money.
The question that we must ask ourselves is, “What do I have to give?” Now it would be easy for us to answer that question in general terms and lay the blame on the church. We here many such comments in this regard today. Like, “the Church has lost her power,” “the Church has forgotten how to pray,” “the Church is not taking her stand.” When I hear these comments, I’m compelled to point out that the Church can never act on its own. The Church is made up of people; Christians who are charged with getting a hold of God, praying till the answer comes, finding and knowing and doing the perfect will of the Father. So the question that is asked, “What do you have to give?” is not directed at the Church, but to you, my fellow Christians.
Do you have the faith that it takes to say to the beggar, “stand up and walk”? Do you have the courage to act on faith and believe God to stand good on His promises? Do you own a clear testimony that will challenge the heart of the unbeliever to desire what you have?
The beggar wanted money, but he needed a miracle. He wanted supper, but he needed a Saviour. He wanted attention, but he needed redemption. Those early Christians did not have much, but they did have what he needed. I wish to challenge you today, my friend, make sure that you have what this world needs … Jesus. His Love. His Mercy. His Amazing Grace.