Peter and John went to the Temple…
a man lame from birth was being carried in.
When he saw Peter and John about to enter,
he asked them for some money….
But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you.
But I’ll give you what I have.
In the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, get up and walk!”
…the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened.
He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk!
Then, walking, leaping, and praising God,
he went into the Temple with them. From Acts 3:1-8.
Everyone else walked past the dirty, crippled beggar. They may have dropped a few coins at his feet to absolve their responsibility of connecting with the man, as they hurried in and out of the temple where they met with God.
But Peter and John learned from Jesus to stop, notice, love, and connect with hurting people. Jesus taught and showed them that opportunities for real life happen in the interruptions.
It’s likely begging for money was the only love language the crippled man knew. I don’t think Peter was broke. Peter realized money wasn’t what the man needed.
How can we help stinky, crippled people when free handouts and pity is their only love language? Free handouts and pity don’t make a person healthy, productive, and socially pleasing.
But love does. A love so deep that it heals. This kind of love was a language no one had spoken to this man who had been born crippled. Many humans don’t have the capacity to even interact with a person who’s broken and filthy.
Peter said, “In the name of Jesus… by Jesus’ love and not ours… rise up and walk.”
To everyone’s astonishment, the man stood up. He paused. Then he began dancing and shouting. Not the wail of a poor beggar, but the delighted sounds of a man set free. Could he keep a beat or carry a tune? Maybe not. But it didn’t matter. Today his heart had learned a new language.