Thursday, December 6, 2012

Seeing the Broken

"One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 
Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I 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

We all know what is like to be crippled.

In this case, the disciples saw a man who was literally crippled, but there is more than one way to have your legs knocked out from under you. Sometimes it can be a very real physical infirmity; sometimes it is an emotional one – depression, anger, lust, greed, grief – that robs you of your ability to function. Sometimes it is addictions the break us. Sometimes other people do things to us that cripple us through abuse, heartache, broken families and failed relationships.

In the kingdom of God, we should never just walk past the broken, because Jesus didn’t walk by us. Peter and John, acting as representatives of Jesus, saw the man and helped him. Jesus wasn’t around in the same way he had been not so long before, but He had empowered others to carry on His work with His power.

God wants his people to see the broken and crippled and help them in His name.

Do you remember what it was like when you were in the midst of a struggle, and God sent someone who gave you their hand and helped you back up on your feet?

The first challenge of the story in Acts 3 is to see broken people, just as you were once seen. If you don’t see anyone in your church or your city who has been crippled by life, you are not looking hard enough.

The second challenge is to not walk away. Stop. Offer help. There are people all around you who need to be truly seen, and who need to have the representatives of Jesus remind them of the healing and hope available only through Christ.

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