January 18, 2010 by Dwight Bernier
Imagine waking up one day, getting help from the people that live with you, so that you can go outside the local mall and beg for money. They have to get you showered, get you dressed, feed you, put you in the car, drive you there, set you beside the doors, and then come back to pick you up later. The whole reason for you being there at all is so that you can ask people to have mercy on you and give you money because from birth, you have not been able to walk or use your arms. You have never known what it was like to use these limp members connected to your body. They are more of a decoration than anything else. You don’t know what it is like to feed yourself, to have your arm go to sleep because you laid on it wrong, to hit your ‘funny bone’, to throw a baseball, to feed an animal out of your hands – nothing. All you can do is ask people to give you money and expect that they will give it to you.
This is the story of the lame beggar in Acts 3 (without the modern-day examples mentioned). As he got up one day to go and do what he had always done since birth, he met Peter and John. He asked them for money, as he did with everyone else, and Peter told him to look at him. This beggar expected to receive something from them (v. 5), but Peter disappointed him by telling him that he didn’t have any silver or gold. This would be disheartening because once again, no one could help him. This was truly the only thing that this man looked forward to – getting money. But Peter told this man something that he never would have dreamed anyone would say to him – “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” This would not seem possible, to be able to walk. This was not a reality in this man’s mind because he’s never seen his body walk before.
What would go through your mind? Would you think these guys were just messing with you? But Scripture tells us that Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and the ankles and feet that had never been used were immediately healed and made strong! His response was to enter the temple, walking and leaping praising God. This was a life that God had touched and changed in a way that everyone around him could see. This could have easily been an opportunity for Peter and John to receive praise and many pats on the back for their outstanding work. And Scripture tells us that all the people in the temple were utterly astounded to see this and that they ran to Peter and John. Probably they wanted to give them praise for what they did.
But Peter, in verses through 16, gives glory to Jesus for this healing and tells that this is a signpost of the kingdom to come. Peter wants people to see that Jesus is going to restore all things and that in His kingdom, there will be no lame because all sin and the effects of it were vanquished on the cross.
In our day, we too are signposts of the kingdom to come. While we don’t regularly hear stories like the aforementioned, we hear of Jesus changing lives and hearts. Hearts that were once against God and were dark, bitter, and deceitful and sinful beyond all cure, are now able to feel love for God and for His people because of what Jesus did on the cross. As God changes our hearts by the power of His gospel, we are signposts that point to the kingdom to come. We are not made new to be awed at – we are made to point to the One who is worthy to receive all glory. May we rejoice and point to the One who all healing, preaching, enjoyment and our lives are made to be about. May we be signposts for the One is who is the all-surpassing Value. His name is Jesus.