Who are these two in Acts 3:1-6? Indeed, they’re Peter & John.
Yes, but who are they? Who or what are they filled with? And if we know the answer to that what drives them? What “leaves them no choice” to engage in their commission and purpose in life? And if we know the answer to that, what will they offer the crippled beggar?
The beggar thought they were going to offer him money.
And we’re tempted to think they were offering him physical healing. There’s an element of truth in that, of course, but with the treasure they had to offer, to offer only that would have been robbery.
To physically heal him so he could dance joyfully would be no little thing but the years would go by and aging—the approach of Death—would enfeeble him and finally Death would rob him of his dancing. They didn’t want to give him less that joyful ‘dancing’ they wanted to give him more! They wanted to give him Jesus, immortality and the power and reason to dance even a world of pain. A dance that Death couldn’t end! They were offering him DEATHLESS LIFE as a gift from the Living Lord!
The government may provide health through medicine, good income through economic structures, national freedom through military might, education via educational systems and society may give us pleasure through movies, literature, partying, music, art and other fine things (and some not so fine). But Death trumps all these. Only the Lord God trumps Death and He shows that in Jesus of Nazareth who is now Lord of All and conqueror of Death (Acts 10:36; Hebrews 2:14-15). With HIM to offer, they couldn’t and wouldn’t offer less!
And in light of the Lord of Glory they offered him a new vision of the WORLD. His world had been a world of beggary and disease, rejection and helplessness and they offered him a new way of seeing it, a new way of experiencing it. It’s true there was still beggary, injustice and the poor; but now GOD was in it for him. And since God has no “pets” this man is an assurance that He sees all and cares for all of the helpless. God hasn’t died since Acts 3. They offered him a new experience of God! God as one who had heard his prayers, as One who saw his being carried every day and as One who heard his daily begging that had so little success that like many others he just uttered the words without looking (cf. 3:4). What they offered this man was an experience that really did change the world!
In Wasserman’s stage-play, the imprisoned Cervantes is mocked by a lawyer when he heard Cervantes was a poet. The sneering and “realistic” lawyer accused him of spinning nonsense out of nothing and said that people should “see life as it is.” Cervantes snarls back:
Life as it is. I’ve lived for over 40 years and I’ve seen life as it is.
Pain. Misery. Cruelty beyond belief.
I’ve heard all the voices of God’s noblest creatures. Moans from bundles of filth in the street.
I’ve been a soldier and a slave.
I’ve seen my comrades fall in battle or die more slowly under the lash in Africa.
I’ve held them in my arms at the final moment.
These were men who saw life as it is,
yet they died despairing. No glory, no brave last words,
only their eyes, filled with confusion, questioning “Why?”
I do not think they were asking why they were dying,
but why they had ever lived.
When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies?
Perhaps to be too practical is madness
To surrender dreams – -this may be madness;
to seek treasure where there is only trash.
Too much sanity may be madness!
And maddest of all—to see life as it is and not as it should be!
( Holy Father how vast is the host of suffering humans that were and are compelled by the savagery of life that they couldn’t and can’t take their eyes off “life as it is” for them? Only you know. They were never given an occasion to dance and still in their millions they can’t dance and hard people rule over them and won’t allow them to dance. One Mr. Bojangles and his lovely story doesn’t seem enough, surely it isn’t all you have to say; You will do what is right and beautiful. And so it is that even now I have seen some of them smile and dance even in a world of abuse and heartache and heartbreak. Did you do that? Did you empower them to dance? Even though they don’t know it? I believe you did. Will you thrill us with the teachers the cripple met, won’t you thrill us with the Lord Jesus they gave to him and won’t you enrich and skill us so that we won’t offer people less than the joys of this life but more! Help us also to offer You and change someone’s world. This prayer in the Blessed Savior’s name, Jesus of Nazareth.)