S174P2 – The early Church: ready for the greater work

Acts 3:1-6

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.  Now a man who was lame 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 do have I give you.  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

The documentary was about the movement of the Holy Spirit.  Some events certainly were sought, such as interactions that would be opportunities for powerful prayer.  People who went to a public place and offered prayer or encouragement would see some take them up on the offer.  Other events reported were spontaneous and not necessarily pursued.  They occurred during innocuous times like eating out, and a server would express a concern that would turn into a call to action.  I would call these Holy Spirit surprises, but we cannot be surprised.  When we are focused on something else and caught off guard by someone’s spiritual need, the hope is that we are not actually caught off guard.

When I first started following the Lord, I used to help feed people downtown on weekend evenings.  It was a good thing to do, no doubt, but a little outside my comfort zone.  I was in an unfamiliar environment, and I was not sure that I could relate to the people we were there to help.  Some came just for the food and music, and that was expected.  Others came for spiritual food, which was the ultimate hope of our work, but not all of us were ready for that work.  I could hand out a plate of food and serve coffee, but it never occurred to me to pray for and expect a move of the Spirit like healing.  My faith was not yet mature, and I thank God that others there were of greater faith than I, ready to walk in the full power of the Spirit.

Peter and John showed confidence and courage.  Their experience with the Spirit changed something in them, and they were ready to do Christ’s work in that moment just as He had done.  That man wanted money, which anyone could give, but Peter and John fulfilled a greater need.  Had they not been ready to work, the opportunity would have passed them by.  They might have filled his pocket while still leaving him empty and broken, but that would have been no victory.  Just like them, we need to be prepared now for the greater work.  Father, change us in this moment, and lead us in the teaching we need to surely be ready for the greater work now.