“Begin Again”: A Weekly Devotional for a New Year, Week 6

‘Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.’

Acts 3:6-10

Just before Peter says this to a “man lame from birth”, he says to him: “Look at us!” The man had been brought to the same place, every day, to beg for money so that he might eat. Every. Day. Every day at the temple gate: Thousands of people going in and out. It must have become routine, a blur, occasionally hopeful, but – for the most part – hopeless. This would be the man’s lot in life until the day he died.

Peter says: “Look at us!” Perhaps the man was – understandably – buried in his grief, in his feelings of being less-than. Perhaps he was stuck doing something that got him what he needed, but didn’t deliver him from a life of suffering. The man must have hoped, every day, for that deliverance: Even if it was faint, the desire of his heart was to walk; to know the freedom of movement most take for granted.

“Look at us!” is an invitation to look outside yourself: The world you’re trapped in; the one you think will never change. And the invitation is not to see Peter and John, but to see the One who sent them: Jesus Christ. Yes, He is not there in person, but He is with Peter and John in Spirit. Their lives have been so shaped by the Spirit of Christ – they have gone so deep in their communion with Him – that they can say to the man: “Look at us!”, and really mean: “See Him!”

We are told the man looked at them, “expecting to get something from them.” When we look to someone who walks with Jesus, we do expect something from them – even if we can’t quite put into words what that is. When we walk with Jesus, and others look to us, expecting something from us, then we are at the center of our call to be his disciples. In some cases, our help can be “silver and gold”, but it must also always be the Spirit of God who comes to heal, restore, forgive, and empower through us.

In your life, what stands in the way of being able to say: “Look at us”, and really mean: “See Him”? If you are open to it, ask the Spirit of God to come, and shine a light into every part of your heart, mind, and life. If it is really Him, that light may feel convicting, but ultimately you will experience it as grace. Then, He will take you by the hand, help you stand, and strengthen your legs so that you can walk.

Prayer: Lord, help me to see in the invitation of my friend, my family member, my colleague who knows and loves you, an invitation to see and follow you. Help me, Lord, to see in my life, what stands in the way of becoming like you: The Good Shepherd, gentle, humble – the One who provides true rest for our souls. Amen.

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