3:1 Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; 3 who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. 4 And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” 5 So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” 7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God. 10 Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him."
It's a great story. Songs have been written about it. Sermons preached. Children amazed by it. Then we start thinking. We get cynical. We wonder why we never see such things now. Then we wonder if it really happened then.
I don't wonder any more because I have seen miracles. I even lived some. So I don't wonder if stuff like this happened. I wonder something different. I wonder why it doesn't happen more often. Clearly it was rare then too because the people who recognized him were "filled with wonder and amazement". Is God reluctant to heal? Does He know something about miracles we don't?
There was some tension in this area when Jesus was here. There were some who followed Him around asking for more signs, more miracles. Apparently the blind seeing, the lame walking, the mute speaking, leprosy banished, walking on water, endless food, and Lazarus walking out of his tomb weren't enough. I have come to understand that it wasn't so much miracles they wanted. What they wanted was to be the puppet master. They wanted Jesus to make things happen but they wanted to pull the strings.
It's true that Jesus said with faith we can move mountains so why don't more mountains move? Because the Word of God also says faith comes by hearing. Faith is acting on what God says. If God never said to Peter "I'm going to heal this man right now" the rest of the Story wouldn't exist. Peter had no power to heal anyone nor was God his puppet. God lead, Peter followed.
For me, that's the most miraculous part of the Story. Peter heard and he followed through. He didn't have to. No one would have known the difference. What if he said to the man to stand up and nothing happened? There was risk in following by faith. There was no risk in simply ignoring the Voice and continuing on his way.
Therein lies the trouble. Too often we hear Him, but move on because faith is too risky. Next time the fear of risk seeks to paralyze you think about what you are risking and missing out on by not following...