The name of Jesus has power.
As Peter and John approach the temple at the hour of prayer, they notice someone they may not have noticed before. Or, perhaps they have seen him many times before, but passed by knowing there was nothing they could do for him.
Either way, things are very different now.
By the Beautiful Gate of the temple rests a man who has been daily carried to that location. He has been lame since he was born, and his only means of income has been to beg alms of those who were about to enter through the gate.
We know what this is like. Those begging for alms often arrange themselves at points of entry where people are forced to pass by them – as the Salvation Army does during our Christmas season. The only way to make it by is to avert your eyes and press forward. If you should happen to make eye contact, then the press is on and you feel obligated to do something.
This pressure is only ramped up at the entrance to God’s Temple. Beggars knew those coming to worship the Lord according to the Law were coming in consideration of their performance according to the Law, and they were (supposed to be) weighing their good with their bad as they approached.
To give an alm to an unfortunate beggar would be one final way to do an act of ‘good’ prior to approaching God in worship. (One more ‘point’ for performance.) Since beggars knew this about human nature, they always arranged themselves by the gates of the temple. It was a logical location where the most gain was possible.
But you have to imagine most would avert their eyes – unless they had intentions of allaying themselves of their sense of guilt. Peter had none of that in mind. Prompted by God’s Holy Spirit, Peter looked directly, intently, into the eyes of this man lame since birth. By faith in the name of Jesus, Peter spoke a very bold and profound and dangerous statement: “I am not here to give you money, but what I do have I give you!”
What Peter was about to give this man was the name of Jesus…All this man would ever need.