Spiritual and Physical Healing (Acts 3:1-11)
Apr 12, 2010 by Craig Blomberg | 0 Comments
“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, walk.’” (v. 6 TNIV)
So often in the history of the church, the physical and spiritual dimensions of the gospel have been torn apart. One wing supports personal piety; another, social action. Jesus always kept them together. Peter, here in Acts, has learned from his master.
It is unlikely this soon after Pentecost that Peter was destitute. He may just not have had any money on him as he replies to the crippled beggar. What he offers the man, however, is not salvation instead of finances, but healing. He is still operating in the physical realm.
The effects of the healing are twofold. The man can now work for a living rather than depending on charity. Peter has addressed the man’s socio-economic needs better than a gift of money would have. But the man is so grateful for this miracle that it affects his spiritual life, too. He leaps around, praising God. Luke stresses this point by saying it twice in back-to-back verses (vv. 8-9).
Whether after a catastrophe like the earthquake in Haiti or simply as a response to the ongoing needs of the poor nearby, we must replicate all the dynamics of this account—material aid in ways that will most help long term, offered as part of a verbal witness to Jesus so that others might trust in him also.