Acts 3 tells a wonderful story that provides us with some key spiritual principles. This lame man lived a very dreary existence, and he had only one hope. He was “expecting to get something” from Peter and John. The possibility of a good day for him depended on the generosity of those who passed by where he was begging at the temple entrance. Then came that day when he heard the words from Peter that changed his life: “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (v. 6). All of us expect certain things from life, and we may become cynical and negative in those expectations. Then God shows up, or He sends someone like Peter who blesses us in ways we were not expecting. Can we agree that our God is a specialist at doing the unexpected?
Even when that happens, our cynical natures may call it coincidence. I heard Albert Einstein quoted in a movie I was watching: “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” The results in our story are hard to explain by coincidence. The man “jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God” (v. 8). The onlookers “were filled with wonder and amazement” (v. 9). The truth is that God’s answers to our everyday situations are over and above human explanation simply because they are from God! When the onlookers wanted to praise Peter and John, Peter was quick to correct them: “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong” (v. 16a).
Another principle here is how Peter quickly turned the attention of the onlookers to Jesus. “You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this” (v.15). We should always stand ready to point people to the reality of Jesus in our world where there is so much cynicism and frustration. We don’t have all the answers, but we do know God’s power, and we can share like Peter: “What I do have, I give you.” During this Christmas season when Jesus may be on the periphery of everyone’s thinking, tell your children, tell your neighbors, tell everyone: “It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him” (v. 16b) that makes all the difference in life!