Giving What Money Can’t Buy

Have you ever encountered people with great needs and felt overwhelmed at their plight? I think that’s one reason why ordinarily good people still find it easier to not make eye contact with the street person, because of the fear that comes with not knowing what to do to help.  Sometimes its easier to just turn a blind eye to problems than to face them with no idea of how to fix them. I know I’ve wrestled with that in my own experiences.

We may look at ourselves and think that we have limited resources or no noticeable skills and discount any contribution that we could make in advancing the kingdom of God…but the passage we’ll be reading this Sunday in our study in Acts will challenge our thinking about that. We’ll be reading Acts 3:1-10.

As you read the passage, consider the setting (v1-3). Where does this event take place, and what is the situation that sets this stage? Who are the characters involved, and what is each of them doing? In what ways could you picture this arrangement as symbolic of the world’s plight?

Everything about the scene is familiar and even normal in the current system of things until we get to v4. From there, the story takes a radical turn.  The MLFB (man lame from birth) looks expectantly to Pete and Jack. What do you think he was expecting from them? They explain they are cashless, but their lack of resources does not limit their sense of ministry one iota. Pete explains that he will give what he has…so what does he offer? How does this challenge our understanding of ministering when we have limited resources of our own?

If we follow the chain of events, what is the first thing Peter does with this man in v4 and 5? What significance do you see in this exchange of attention?

Some believe this account is a blueprint to follow, expecting that everyone who is prayed for in Jesus’ name will be healed if a person can muster enough faith – others see it as exemplary of the redemption found in the activity of Christ through his church – still others see it as simply a one-off sign to confirm the validity of first church’s claims about Christ. Do you share one of these views, or have an opinion about this to expound on?

What is the result of this event (v9-10)? On a scale of 1-5, with one being extremely low and five being extremely high – how would you rate your expectancy when it comes to miracles occurring?   In what ways can we start to remove our sense of limitations when it comes to our participation in advancing God’s kingdom?

I really love this passage and everything that follows – it should prove to be an encouraging/challenging study! Hope to see you Sunday.

One comment

  1. Intriguing questions…that lead to more questions!! The event takes place at the entrance to temple, the gate called beautiful. As I picture this it says it’s the hour of prayer and Pete and John are on the way there along with probably a sea of other Jewish folks. Some have reached out to carry a cripple man perhaps they are the same ones who bring him everyday to this high traffic area of people who surely have heart enough to extend financial help to a begger…why didn’t they take him in? Were they not going in themselves? Were they just dropping him off, kind folks seeing a need taking him up to the “church” knowing some people there would surely help but not feeling the need to enter themselves or maybe they were going in but hadn’t yet found wholeness themselves, offering what they could, not knowing their potential within, assuming material help was the best they could give, the best he could hope for? or was there some law not allowing beggers into the temple? I hope not.. but if so, I suppose that would represent religion who bring the rich in to sit in the best places and leave those who may be dirty and lacking “proper attire” outside with the animals…Maybe the begger didn’t want to go in?? Maybe he was too ashamed. depressed, felt inadequate, didn’t expect acceptance…sorry to ramble on, over thinking probably…
    Either way, what may be symbolic of the worlds plight is that there is a flow of traffic, a sea of people on this highway of life, like those headed to the temple, and there is a wonderful rest area available to all, some turn off the main road the one the world is following, enter the rest area through the gate beautiful(Jesus) to find true peace and wholeness. Some pass by the rest area distracted by other destinations, uninterested in rest, and some come near the rest area maybe even bring others near knowing there must be something they need here, curious, standing so close, looking to others for help but not finding the strength to push open the gate themselves. The MLFB was right there at the gate, others had even brought him and left him there ..I picture him on the ground, head down, like the picture, maybe seeing only a sea of legs and feet maybe holding up his cup, mindlessly uttering a thank you when he felt coins drop in. I’m sure he expected nothing but money from Pete and John but they had much more for him! Pete told him to look up ..at them initially..but essentially up to where true help is found…not down at his debilitating circumstances, not out to the world around him but up where they could point him to the Hope living within them. They knew the Beautiful One for whom maybe the gate was symbolically named!! …His presence lived on the inside of them. Maybe as he began to lift his head to see their faces, he even saw a twinkle of Jesus’ eye through Pete and John’s looks of compassion. We may not have material wealth but we have EVERYTHING hurting humanity needs!!!!!! We have been made more than rich by the King of Kings let’s purpose to share the wealth of Hope He’s shed in our hearts to walk others through the gate of God’s grace!!!

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