In Acts chapter three a man who was crippled from birth was laid at the temple gate called Beautiful to beg for money. Everyday he was carried there. He depended on the generosity of those who carried him there and the generosity of those who gave him money. This was how he made his living.
Peter and John are walking by as they enter the temple courts. The man asked them for money, as he asks everyone. He looks on to the next person. Peter and John both see the man. Though the man had asked them for money, he had not looked at them. Peter calls to him, “Look at us.” Only then did the man look at them.
Luke is specific in pointing out that Peter and John saw the man, but the man did not pay attention to them, even as he was asking them for money.
We don’t see one another.
Imagine being crippled from birth with no way to provide for yourself. Imagine setting at a gate everyday, named beautiful, and begging for the means to live. A gate signifying the beauty of God’s kingdom, an entry way into the presence of God, crippled and broken. The temple signified God’s presence in the world, the promise of Eden to be returned. The man born broken sat at that gate begging to be noticed. He had done it so long, he stopped seeing those around him.
Those entering the gate had become so accustomed to his presence, they stopped seeing him. Today, you and I are distracted with work, video games, songs, gossip, vehicles, status, value and being liked. We are so enamored with our own needs we don’t see one another.
Peter and John saw the man and they said,
“Look at us. We are looking at you.”
Have you seen someone today? Have you seen someone’s value today? Yes we see one another, but we don’t see one another’s value. Justice only works when we see one another. When we see the value of the other person. The value of good and beautiful. Justice works when we act as though everyone has value. Justice is broken with corruption when we see only ourselves. When we act in our own interests.
We must see one another. We must see the value, the image bearer of God who is our neighbor.
Peter told the man, “Silver or gold I have none, but what I do have, I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth get up and walk.”
Silver an gold only last a moment. It only gives a moment of respite, but what Jesus Christ of Nazareth gives, is life. It is value. It is beautiful. It lasts eternity.
The man entered the temple courts for the first time in his life, on his own. He danced into the presence of God. What was broken had been healed by Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Luke wants us to see Eden returning through Jesus. This only happens when we see God in one another. When we allow Jesus to speak through us. We are his hands and feet. We are the Kingdom of God on earth.
We must see one another.
“Look at me.”
“I see you. I give you what I have in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.”