Peter and John were going, as usual, to pray at prayer time in the temple. There a man who was lame from birth, who continued, as usual, to beg for alms. When he begged from them, they commanded his attention and asked him to look at them. The beggar was expectant; but so also was Peter who asked in him to walk in the name of Jesus.
He was expecting to receive money, but when Peter offered him something better, he expected that too; He believed because Peter affirmed in verse 16 that through faith in God’s Risen Son, the beggar was made well.
Faith can be contagious. Before the disabled man met Peter and John, his expectation was determined by what he was accustomed to. When those men introduced him to the Jesus in whose name he would find healing, he caught faith through his encounter with them. they inspired faith. He stood up, and walking and leaping, he praised God. And when the people saw him, they were amazed! They were already in the place where they were ready to embark on a journey in faith. He told them, “You killed the author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses”. They boldly declared what they knew to be true. Their faith was authentic.
In the face of this healing miracle, the people would hear Peter’s authentic message that he and John were not the source of healing but only the instruments whom God had used. Healing had come from the very one whom they had rejected and killed.
It was a harsh message, yes, one that called them to repentance, but the stage was set for new births in faith, because live faith was very present all around them.
We need that authentic personal faith as witnesses who can reach others in the name of the Lord.
Give me the faith which can remove and sink the mountain to a plain
Give me the child-like praying love which longs to build thy house again
(Charles Wesley 1707-88)