To begin with, we discover that this man had been lame from birth (Acts 3:2). He was over 40 years old (Acts 4:22), and he had never had the opportunity to run as a boy, work as an adult, or even practice walking in any way. He had an incredible physical problem.
The man’s physical disability is representative of every person’s spiritual disability. The Bible teaches that we all are born as spiritual cripples. Romans 3:23 reads, “We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God,” and Romans 5:12 and Psalm 51:5 teach that we have sinned since our birth, since we have all been born with a sin nature. That is why a parent never has to teach a child how to be bad. We’re all born with a proclivity towards selfishness and sinfulness, and the Bible teaches that sin brings deformity, disability and death to our lives (Romans 6:23). Therefore, we are living in a world of moral, emotional and spiritual cripples because of our sin and everyone else’s sin.
Question – “Who comes to your mind when you think of physical cripples, emotional cripples, or spiritual cripples?” Whoever that is, they are in the same desperate situation as the man in our text.
Another thing we want to note is that the crippled man was sitting outside the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. Every day he was exposed to the teachings and trappings of religion, but the Bible teaches that religion will not save a person from hell, nor solve his or her greatest problems.
Then Peter and John showed up and introduced the man to Jesus. They didn’t talk about their power, their passions or their resources. They said in Acts 3:6, “We don’t have any money, but we’ll give you what we have. In the name of Jesus Christ, get up and walk!”
Second Question – “What are we offering to people in order to help them address the greatest needs of their lives?” Oftentimes we offer people some sort of monetary or physical help, which is a good thing to do when we are able to extend such support. At other times we offer people religious help, inviting them to come visit our church. Again this is a good thing to do, because it helps get people on the right track. But the real need of every person is to have a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ and until they have such an encounter with the Lord, they will never be completely healed or helped.
Third Question – “What can we do to help ‘crippled people’ like Peter and John did?” We can be attentive to people’s needs as were Peter and John. Many others had passed by the lame man that day, but Peter and John saw his need and stopped to help him. We can be kind to people as Peter and John were. People usually respond amazingly well to kind words and actions. We can extend a hand to help as Peter did (Acts 3:7). The Bible teaches that we are the hands and feet of Jesus today, and so when God performs His great miracles in the lives of others, He almost always does so through the efforts of His people. Therefore, we need to be constantly reaching out to people in need, expecting the power of God to flow through us to bring healing and salvation to those who desperately need it. There are many ways that we can help “crippled people.” The question is, are we willing to be used by God to do so?
As you pray today: 1) Ask the Lord to show you any areas of your life that need “healing,” and ask Him to bring that healing to you; 2) Ask the Lord to reveal to you the names of people around you that need “healing,” and ask Him to show you how to minister to those individuals; and 3) Ask the Lord to work through you today in a miraculous way to bring help and healing to someone in need.