Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. 2 As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.
4 Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. 6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”
7 Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. 8 He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.
9 All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. 10 When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! – Acts 3:1-10
Do you ever drive up to a beggar on the street corner and look away? Or do you look them in the eyes? I’ve noticed that many people will look away. They won’t engage. Sometimes, however, I’ve noticed the person on the street corner won’t look at me – even when I’m trying to engage him, or catch his eye. He will look past me, or have the 1000-yard-stare going.
Not Peter and this man. Peter looks directly at him. He is not going to avoid this one. He is not trying to figure out how to get out of this awkward situation. But Peter not only looks the man in the eye, he demands of the man, “Look at us.”
Some say that a coincidence is an event in which God wants to remain anonymous. Perhaps. But there is something very specific going on here. Jesus has ascended to the right hand of God. He has poured out the Holy Spirit. He is seated at the right hand of God on high. The rule and reign of God is at hand. Peter is about to introduce the man to the King of kings and the King of kings to the man. Things are going to change.
This is no accidental encounter. This is a divine appointment and Peter is not going to let that escape the notice of the beggar in the temple. He wants to connect. Man to man. Mano e mano. But this is no stare down. This isn’t a flinching contest. This is no game of chicken.
Next time you see a homeless person at the side of the road, if you have a McDonald’s or Chick-Fil-A gift card (for example), hand it to him. Look him in the eye. For that look in the eye, and that solid connection may be the catalyst for something far better than the gift card. The currency of true riches from Jesus is grace, love, respect, and kindness. It can all start with a look in the eyes.