Sept. 11-10, 2021
Pastor Timothy J. Spaude
Text: Acts 3:1-10
“WHAT I HAVE I WILL GIVE YOU!”
Acts 3:1-10 (EHV) “Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour] an hour of prayer. 2 A certain man who was lame from birth was carried there every day and placed at the temple gate, which is called Beautiful, so that he could beg for donations from those entering the temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple, he asked them for a donation. 4 Peter looked directly at him, as did John. Peter said, “Look at us.” 5 So the man paid close attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I will give you. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” 7 Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately the man’s feet and ankles were made strong. 8 Jumping up, he stood and began to walk. He entered the temple courts with them, walking, jumping, and praising God. 9 All the people saw him walking and praising God. 10 They recognized him as the one who used to sit begging for money at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”
His day began like so many other days before had. His friends, good friends, faithful friends, stopped at his house and carried him to the Temple. They carefully placed him in position by the gate called Beautiful. It was the best spot for begging. His friends always wanted to do more but they only made enough to feed their own families. This was as much as they could do and he was grateful. Many people from many different places came to the Temple to pray so there was a steady stream of potential helpers. Over his life he had gotten used to the looks. Most of pity and compassion. Some of disgust. The hardest ones were when the children were with their parents. It was not their fault. They were curious and did not know any better. The finger point. The whispered response to the innocent question, “What happened to him?” By the body language and wide eyes he could tell when it was said. It had been repeated by the rabbis. “Either he or his parents sinned. That’s why he can’t walk. It’s judgment from God.” He hated that because all his thinking life he had asked the same question and came to the same conclusion. I’m not good enough for God to help. Now one of his friends had told him about a man named Jesus. Many said he was the Messiah. This Jesus taught that God was first and foremost merciful and compassionate and wanted sinners in heaven. That’s why Jesus had come. But the rabbis and teachers of the law said he was crazy and in league with the Devil. And then over Passover the Romans had put him to death. A glimmer of hope faded away.
He looked up. Fresh meat approaching. Time to get ready for action. By their dress they looked like Galileans. Probably not much money there. But you know what they say, “Beggars can’t be choosers.” He went into action. “Eleison! Eleison!” Have mercy. Have mercy. They stopped. Good news! And then…and then… “Peter looked directly at him, as did John. Peter said, “Look at us.” 5 So the man paid close attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I will give you. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” 7 Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately the man’s feet and ankles were made strong. 8 Jumping up, he stood and began to walk. He entered the temple courts with them, walking, jumping, and praising God.”
Brothers and sisters, there is all kinds of neat stuff in the word of God but what I want you to really focus on is this phrase, “What I have I will give you.” First the Holy Spirit put our eyes on Peter and John who were just going about daily life. Then he introduces us to a man who is a beggar and knows he is a beggar but he thinks he knows what he needs but really doesn’t. He thinks what he needs is silver and gold. He thinks what he needs is to be able to walk. But what he really needs is Jesus as His Savior. And that’s exactly what he got. Now you might think that this lame man was just happy he could walk again but look at his response. Walking and jumping and praising God. Not Peter and John. No thanks to them. His relationship with God was restored in the name of Jesus Christ. That’s what Peter and John gave him and if you want to crack open those Bible in front of your or on your phone app and read the rest of the story you will see Peter and John using this healing miracle to point not only the onlookers at the Temple to Jesus but also the Jewish Sanhedrin, their ruling council. What I have I will give you.
Where did that come from? Well Peter and John knew that they were beggars too. These are disciples of Jesus post Pentecost. That means the Holy Spirit matured them in a hurry. Peter so bold and brash and self confident who gets the dirty laundry of his threefold denial of Christ despite repeated warning splashed on the pages of Scripture. John, whose, early “what’s in it for me” is also clearly exposed. But you know what? I contend Peter and John are glad that’s all they got outed for. They have the same sinful hearts you and I have and if you don’t think that’s all that bad then imagine if God would miraculously display on these screens all your evil thoughts from the past week? Would you want to be here? I’d never show my face around here again! They were beggars before God. What could they offer Him? “Here Lord, this is what I bring to the table, choose me.” And God sees a pile of smelly sins. “No thank you. But I choose you anyway.” “Freely you have received. Freely give,” Jesus said. “What I have I will give you,” Peter and John said. They had Jesus and they gave Him.
What I have I will give you. Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge that we too have been beggars before God. With what shall we buy His love? Our money? No, let’s offer Him our holy righteous living. Oh, not so good. How about this? At least I tried. Yuck. Not good enough. Nothing in my hand I bring simply to thy cross I cling. We were beggars before God entirely dependent on God’s mercy. Eleison. And God said, “Yes. I have had mercy on you and now I give you my Son Jesus. He is your Savior. You are now His sin and He is your righteousness and I give you the right to live and rule with me in heaven.” Do you see what that means? We are beggars no more. We are rich! “Freely you have received. Freely give,” said Jesus. “What I have I will give you,” said Peter and John.
And so can you and I. Let’s go back to the beginning. “Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour an hour of prayer.” What were Peter and John doing? Just going about their regular business. It was a time for prayer so they were going to pray. God put in their path someone they could give to. God’s way of working has not changed. He still wants all people to be saved. He still chooses to use His people to be a part of that work which means He has chosen you. When Jesus said “You will be my witnesses,” He was graciously speaking to all of us. Here at St Jacobi we are making a congregation wide emphasis to get us all actively involved in sharing Jesus. What I have I will give you. Our fall Bible Class series “One by One” will help open our eyes. And that’s really where it starts. With a prayer. Lord open my eyes to see the beggars you place before me. These beggars who are ready for Jesus will likely think they know what they need. To get over the loneliness of the death of a loved one. Cure from a disease. Fix a broken relationship. But what they really need is Jesus. You have Him. What I have I will give you. It’s that simple.
There’s no Paul Harvey “the rest of the story” about this lame man who had been healed. We are not told that he joined Peter or John on any missionary journeys or went himself anywhere special. He may have. Or more likely he stayed in Jerusalem, lived a normal life, but realized he had as supernormal purpose. Keep his eyes open for more beggars to share Jesus with. Freely he had received Jesus. Freely he would give Jesus. Keep your eyes open, brothers and sisters, and when the Lord provides your opportunity remember, “What I have I will give you.” Then give ‘em Jesus. Amen.