THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

Opening Prayer

I come to your Word today, Father, with expectation. I am looking to you to teach me, to convict me, to show me how to live more closely with you.

Read ACTS 3:1–10

Peter Heals a Lame Beggar

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.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

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Meditate

As we live by the Spirit, may we ‘keep in step with the Spirit.’1

Think Further

The division between two chapters here should not mislead us. This story is closely related to the description of the new community that we have previously noted, and the words and actions of Peter and John illustrate the radical nature of its shared life. The tragedy of the crippled man at the entrance to the temple is emphasized: he had been unable to walk ‘from birth’ (v. 2) and was ‘put every day’ to beg in the same public space. The plight of disabled people in the ancient world was truly desperate. We are told that ‘all the people … recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate’ (vv. 9, 10) – as if he had become part of the temple furniture!

The actions of the apostles in this situation demonstrate two of the consequences of Pentecost. First, the Holy Spirit, poured out on ‘all people,’2 creates a new compassion for the disadvantaged, neglected, and despairing human beings in society. Peter and John ‘looked straight at’ the man (v. 4) whom the crowds passed by and were deeply moved by his plight. This compassion for needy people was a leading characteristic of Jesus himself, so that the disciples’ concern for people at the margins is evidence of their imitation of Christ.

Second, Peter’s declaration that he possessed no ‘silver or gold’ (see v. 6) reveals the apostles’ commitment to the shared life of the new community in which believers ‘had everything in common.’3 The gift of the Spirit creates new patterns of interpersonal behavior and it has serious social and economic implications. This ‘fruit of the Spirit’4 is often overlooked but, at a time when money has come to dominate life as never before, Peter’s words demand serious Christian self-examination.

Apply

What role does money play in your life, in light of this text?

Closing prayer

Father, help me to share my greatest treasure, Jesus, with those needing him; help me to share the riches of his grace.

Last Updated on May 23, 2024 by kingstar

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