Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Glossy Eyes

“1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, ”Look at us.“ 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk! 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.“

Acts 3:1-8


Peter and John had been eyewitnesses to Jesus’ crucifixion. After seeing that and His subsequent resurrection they were forever changed. Gone was their doubt in His name and His power. Peter would never again deny the Lord even to at the cost of his own life. And now they not only walked with a new confidence in Christ but also by the power of the Holy Spirit and through faith in Christ’s name. And so here they encounter this man that has been laying by the gate daily asking for alms. He had one concern, one focus and that was to get money. In his mind he thought that that was all that he needed. That was the utmost that he could think of ever needing to survive. And in his mind that was all that would ever be offered besides scoffs and the dust off of people’s feet. Never in his wildest imaginations would he have ever dreamt of an encounter like the one he had that day with Peter and John.

Here come two men walking straight towards him. They most like looked like any other men walking by. But then they both direct their gazes directly at him. It is most probable that most people would try to avoid his gaze like many of us do to the homeless man outside of our car windows. But these two stared at him intently and even commanded him, ”Look at us.“ And as he did perhaps there was a glimmer of hope that they would throw some money his way. But they were able to discern his heart; his yearning for silver and gold. But they knew that they had something much more valuable to offer him. And so they healed him through the name of Jesus Christ and it says that he got up and started leaping and praising God. He did not simply get up and walk and thank them for what they did. He recognized that it was indeed God who had healed him and that it was Him that deserved the praise. He had been given the gift of a renewed heart and a very tangible example of God uplifting the weak. His actions leave little doubt that he was hit by Peter’s subsequent Gospel message and that he was numbered with the 5,000.


Many times in my life I feel like God has told me to look at him. Not to simply look to him or for him. But at him. To gaze intently. To look at Him for who He claims to be; not who I wish him to be. Much like this lame beggar I often look to God expecting something that from my perspective would make everything better; would give me satisfaction and joy. But He has so much more to offer than what I am expecting him to give. In his infinite wisdom and mercy he knows exactly what I need. Just like Peter and John were able to perceive the true needs of that man so God know my true needs past the expectations that my glossy eyes convey. Most of the time what I think is good for me is not God’s best.