Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” (Acts. 3: 1-6 NLT)
I always find it interesting when someone witnesses a crime and can give details like, “He was 5’10, 170 pounds, had red hair and a scar on his cheek, and he was wearing an Old Navy sweatshirt and jeans that were torn on the right leg.” I’m lucky if I could tell you what my own kid was wearing! Forget about someone I saw for 15 seconds! My attention to and memory for details just isn’t that strong, usually because my focus is split between all the different things I am trying to do. I may look at someone, but am I truly seeing them?
I have been studying the book of Acts for the last few weeks using the Verse Mapping method developed by author Kristy Cambron. One of the first verses we examined was Acts. 3:4. I’ve read it before and not paid much attention to it. After all, I always thought what came after it was more important- Peter and John healed the lame beggar and he could walk again. That was the exciting part!
But the more I focused on verse four, the more it stuck in my mind. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” I looked the verse up in different translations. That phrase “looked at him intently” also translates as “fastening his eyes upon” and “looked straight at him.” Nowhere did it read, “caught a glimpse” or “took a passing look.” Peter and John, emboldened by the Holy Spirit, really saw this man- someone who the rest of society probably tried hard to ignore. They truly took notice of him and then they were able to meet his greatest need.
Feeling unseen, unnoticed, or overlooked is something we all can relate to. When we realize it is happening to us, it is hurtful. But we can take heart in the fact that we are earnestly and steadfastly seen by Jesus. Our tiniest details, our innermost thoughts are known by Him. None of it is insignificant, either.
The second part of this verse contains some important information, too. After Peter and John saw the man, they said to him “Look at us!” This use of “look” is a little different than what Peter and John did. It literally means to see with your eyes, but figuratively it means to turn your thoughts toward or examine. That’s something we need to remember, too. If we aren’t actively looking at God, it’s very hard to feel as though He sees us. While God sees us and knows us, no matter where our gaze wanders, the important work of healing begins when we look at Him- really direct our thoughts toward Him and His will for us.
As you go through this week, make it a point to turn your eyes, both the physical and spiritual ones, toward God. You will be amazed at what you begin to see!
*****This is the first devotion in a weekly series about being seen and known by God. New posts will come out on my blog each Tuesday this summer with discussion to follow in my Facebook group. I would love for you to join in the conversation! Visit https://bit.ly/LivingTheGoodLifeEG to join.