Simon saw a hussy, a streetwalker, a scamp.
Simon didn’t see the woman.
What do we see when we see…
The figures beneath the overpass, encircling the fire in a 55 gallon drum?
The news clips of children in a refugee camp?
Reports of 1.75 billion people who live on less than $1.25 a day?
What do we see?
When He saw multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no Shepherd: Matthew 9:36.
This word, compassion, is one of the oddest in Scripture. The New Testament Greek lexicon says this word means to be moved as to one’s bowels… For the bowels were thought to be the seat of love and purity. The study of the visceral parts is what science calls it. Compassion, then, is a movement deep within – a kick in the gut.
Perhaps that is why we turn away.
Who can bear such an emotion, especially when we can do nothing about it?
Why look suffering in the face if we can’t make a difference?
What if we could?
What if our attention could reduce someone’s pain?
This is the promise of the encounter.
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.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and anklebones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. Acts 3:6 – 8
What if Peter said, since I don’t have any silver and gold I keep my mouth shut?
But he didn’t.
He placed his mustard seed size deed (a look and a touch) in the soil of God’s love. And look what happened.
The thick, meaty hand of the fishermen reached for the frail, thin one of the beggar. Think Sistine Chapel and the high hand of God. One from above, the other from below. The holy helping hand. Peter lifted the man toward himself. The crippled man swayed like a newborn calf finding its balance. It appeared as if the man would fall, but he didn’t. He stood up. And as he stood, he began to shout, and passersby began to stop. They stopped and watched the crippled man skip.
Don’t you think he skipped? Not at first, maybe. But after a careful step, then another few, don’t you think he skipped the jig? Parading and waving the mat on which he had lived?
The crowd thickened around the trio. The apostles laughed as the beggar danced. Other beggars press towards the scene in their ragged coverings and tattered robes and cried out for their portion of a miracle.
So Peter complied. He escorted them to the clinic of the great physician and invited them to take a seat.
Faith in His name, has made this man’s strong…
Repent therefore and be converted, and your sins may be blotted out,
so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord
verse 16 and 19.
Blotted out is a translation from the Greek term, which means to obliterate or erase completely.
Faith in Christ, Peter explained, leads to a clean slate with God.
What Jesus did for the legs of the crippled,
He does for our souls.
An honest look led to a helping hand, which leads to a conversation about eternity. Works done in God’s name long outlive our earthly lives.
Let’s be the people who stop at the gate. Let’s look at the hurting until we hurt with them. No hurrying past, turning away, or shifting of eyes. No pretending or glossing over. Let’s look at the face until we see the person.
A man in one of our old congregations lives with the heartbreaking reality that he is homeless. He was kicked out at 17, and with the exception of a few calls and even fewer visits, his parents have had no contact with him for over 30 years. He allowed me to use his story in this message. As I prepared for this message, I asked him why he was willing to disclose his story.
He responded, “I want to change the way people see the homeless. I want them to stop seeing problems and begin seeing mother’s sons. Son’s who long for just the touch of their Mothers and Fathers in Love!”
It all began with an honest look and a helping hand. Could this be God strategy for human hurt? First, kind eyes meet desperate ones. Next, strong hands helped weak ones. Then, the miracle of God, we do our small part, He does the big part, and life at the gate beautiful begins to be just that.
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd,
He had compassion on them,
because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
A prayer for us: Gracious Lord, in the Bible You are called the one who sees me, and I know that Your eyes are always upon me to guide and protect and bless and correct. You have given me eyes too. Grant me the power to use them to truly see. Help me see those You put in my path – really see them, with all their hurts, their desires, their longings, their needs, their joys, their challenges. As You open my eyes, prompt me to open wide my arms to offer whatever help and encouragement I have to give. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.