Expectations. We all have them. Sometimes, our expectations end up leaving us disappointed. Usually, because our expectations are unrealistic, humanly speaking. But for one lame man who encountered Peter and John at the temple, he is about to receive something far beyond any expectation he could have imagined.
Some lame expectations
If you had spoken to him that morning and he said to you, “I woke up this morning knowing that by the end of the day I will be walking,” you would say his expectations for his day were unrealistic. You might even feel pity for this man who not only was lame, but also seemed to have some mental issues too.
This man had been born lame. He had never walked a day in his life. His expectations for his life would be to beg for alms and hope each day he would receive enough to feed himself for the day. He didn’t have grand expectations. In fact, you might could say his expectations were rather – well – lame. There was no “fair labor laws” that would allow him to have an occupation even though he was lame. There were no government assistance programs where he could claim “disability” and receive money. He earned money by swallowing his pride begging others to give him a coin or two.
Because he was lame, he was carried to the temple gate called, “the Beautiful Gate,” and he begged people for money. He probably was there so often that he became an expectation of people as they came to pray at the temple. This day started out no different for him. He was carried to the gate and they sat him down and he began asking for alms.
A day like any other
He watched as the rich walked by without a care or concern. They simply walked by as if He wasn’t there. His stomach grumbled. He watch a young boy who stared at him while his mother grabbed his hand and steered him far away as if his “lameness” watch catching. He looked in his container. One small coin. Not enough for even a piece of bread. Gathering both his pride and courage, he held the container out and called, “Alms? Alms for the poor.”
Two men came walking towards him. They’re just ordinary men and from the looks of them, they probably don’t have much to spare. He lowered the container, not expecting anything from them. But the look in their eyes was different. The man looked at him – not with sympathy or pity, but with kindness and compassion. He changed his direction and walked towards him. As he got closer, the lame man, with his eyes looking towards the ground, again begs, “Could you spare a coin, sir?”
The Bible tells us that Peter fastened his eyes on the lame man and said to him, “Look on us.” The man looks, expecting them to give him a coin – or maybe, if he were lucky, they each would give him a coin. Two coins would let him buy bread. Can you imagine him looking at them, hope in his eyes, but yet there had also been others who had given him hope for a coin and then laughed and walked away. Would these men be like that? His stomach growled again, so he held his container stretched out for them to drop a coin in.
The encounter started out positive, but Peter’s next words probably were very disappointing. Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none.” Can you imagine the thoughts going through the lame man’s mind? Thoughts like, “Then why did you want me to look at you?” or “Just another person making fun of me. He was never going to help me anyway.”
Confused, but hopeful expectations
But then Peter continued, “but such as I have give I thee.” Perhaps now the lame man is feeling a little perplexed and thinking to himself he says, “you just said you had no silver or gold.” Then he thinks that maybe the man was going to give him some food or an extra coat to keep him warm. People had offered food before, but it was usually bread with mold. He had picked off the spots of mold and ate the rest. Something to eat was better than nothing to eat. But, little did he know that through Peter’s next words he would encounter the power of God and it would change His life forever.
Expectations. We all have them, but for one lame man who encountered Peter and John, he is about to receive something far beyond any expectation he could have imagined. He asked for alms but encountered the power of God working through Peter – and it changed His life forever!Tweet
The Power of the One Who Defies All Expectations
Peter said, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” Peter takes him by his hand and pulls him up. The Bible tells us that instantly the man’s feet and ankle bones received strength – not just to stand on, but a man who had never taken a step in his life went walking and leaping, and praising God!
When the lame man encountered Peter, his feet and ankle bones immediately received strength. He came to the temple lame and had never walked a day in his life – but he left the temple walking and leaping and praise God!Tweet
Notice who he gave praise to. He didn’t praise Peter and John. He recognized the healing came from God and he rightly gave God the praise. Peter and John were both just ordinary men. In fact, they were fishermen when Jesus found them and said, “Follow me.” They had no power to heal anyone. Which is why Peter said, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” That was where the power came from – not from Peter. Yet Peter was willing for the power of God to be given to the lame man through him and the lame man was lame no more.
When you have no expectations left
More than likely this lame man had reached a point of having no expectations left in life. You may be in the same place. You’ve been let down so often until you just stop expecting anything from anyone. The people who should have been there for you, were not. Those who should have cheered you on, looked down on you. You may even be ready to give up and walk away from that dream God placed in your heart. But can I tell you that our God is a God of the impossibles? In fact, He likes doing the impossible because then He get the glory and not us. And in those moments where we have absolutely no expectations left, God shows up and when he does, He works so that your grandest expectations look rather lame compared to what He does.
Have you reached a point of having no expectations left? It in those moments where God likes to show up and when he does, He works so that your grandest expectations look rather lame compared to what He does.Tweet
Knowing and experiencing are not the same
Maybe you have a specific prayer request and you’ve been praying and praying – for years. And it seems as if God walks by without even noticing you. The Bible doesn’t tell us if the lame man ever prayed for God to heal him. Perhaps he was just sitting outside the temple because people who go to church are supposed to be kind, giving, and helpful. Or maybe he had prayed for God to heal him so many times that he gave up and stopped asking. We really don’t know because the Bible doesn’t tell us. But since he did recognize that his healing came from God, he knew God how the power to heal him. But knowing God has the power to answer your prayer and experiencing God’s power are two different things.
Are you shortchanging God in your expectations?
Maybe the lame man had even heard of Jesus and how he had healed many people – some lame, just like him. But they had crucified him. Maybe he had moments of jealousy and bitterness that others had been healed and he had not. Again, we don’t know. All we do know is he was there, asking for money but received something far beyond his wildest expectations. What if what we are asking for so shortchanges what God wants to do in our lives because we don’t have the faith to ask the impossible? Or what if we ask the impossible so many times and then give up but we were just one prayer away from receiving the impossible?
Why? or How?
When we are waiting on God, it can often feel like God is not at work. However, we can trust that He is working all things out for our good (Romans 8:28). His answer will come and will come at just the right moment. He’s never late and His answer is always the very best one.
This lame man’s story would become part of the story of the early church growing and thriving and spreading. God choose for this man to encounter Peter and John on this day, in that moment and his story would be a testimony for what God had done for him. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” I can only imagine how many times in his life the lame man asked, “Why me God? Why was I born lame?” What if instead of asking God “why?” we asked, “God, how can you use this experience?” If we truly trust Him, then we can know that every experience we face in life has a purpose and when given to God, He can do something far beyond our wildest expectations.
I can only imagine how many times in his life the lame man asked, “Why me God? Why was I born lame?” What if instead of asking God “why?” we asked, “God, how can you use this experience?” If we truly trust Him, then we can know that every experience we face in life has a purpose and when given to God, He can do something far beyond our wildest expectations.Tweet
Encountering the Power of God
The lame man came to the temple with the expectations of receiving enough coins just to feed himself for that day. He had no expectations of leaving the temple on his own two feet, much less walking and leaping and praising God. But the moment he encountered the power of God working through Peter he was instantly changed. He asked for alms – he received a miraculous healing.
We can trust God that even if he doesn’t give us what we are asking for, that He has something so much better in mind or that while we think something we are asking for is what we really need, God sees something we don’t and what we are asking for is not for our good – so He doesn’t give it to us. Or the time is not right, so He waits. Perhaps, God has an expectation of you that you’ve not met and He’s waiting on you. Even when things come our way that we don’t understand, we can trust that God will only do what is for our best interests.
What are your expectations?
What expectations do you have today? Have they left you feeling let down and disappointed? Are you ready to give up on that dream God placed in your heart? Surrender your expectations to God and trust Him for His plans for you – whatever they are – and when you encounter the power of God at work, your greatest expectations will be nowhere near anything you can imagine. In fact, your greatest expectations will look “lame” in comparison to what God will do in your life.
What expectations do you have today? Surrender them to God and trust His plans for you – whatever they are – and when you encounter the power of God at work, your greatest expectations will be nowhere near anything you can imagine. In fact, they will look “lame” in comparison to what God will do in your life.Tweet
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