The other day I was reading Acts 3:1-10. It’s such an amazing story. It’s the one where Peter and John go to the temple following Pentecost, and heal the beggar at the Beautiful Gate. A couple of things hit me. One is, it seems as though the beggar is still underway when we asks Peter for money. How desparate is this guy to beg on the way to begging? Secondly, he’s unclean, because he’s a lame beggar. Yet, when Peter heals the guy, it’s not until Peter touches him that he is healed. Yet, that disqualifies Peter from the temple worship. He is now unclean. Why does Peter still go? I think it’s to show the guy off. Maybe, maybe not. But I don’t think that Peter can be allowed to worship since he touched the guy. Someone else mentioned that Peter has to tell the guy to look at him. He’s so ashamed, he won’t make eye contact, but Peter demands it.
It seems that this is a story about recognizing the human value in a worthless person, and the healing power it can bring. I mean, clearly God physically heals the man to help spread the good news to others at the temple. But there is this parallel piece where Peter is healing the man of his belief that he is unclean and worthless. He looks him in the eye, he touches the untouchable, even at great expense. And this man, this beggar, was so desparate for help that even though he believed himself unworthy of eye contact, he asked boldly for money.
Am I ever like Peter? Do I see past the pain and differences to find the person? Surely Peter’s redemption on the beach with Jesus (“do you love me?”) was still ringing in his ears at this point. Peter feeds this man in so many ways. He heals him physically, spiritually, and emotionally, all in one fell swoop.
But too, am I willing to be the beggar; humbly, desparately asking others for help, when I know I’m not worthy? Or do I instead pretend to be worthy, and not seek help from anyone? Too often, I know it’s the second. Clearly, I am not as wise or honest as the beggar. Yet I am nothing more than him, nor less.
Just some thoughts. What do you think?