When Peter and John go about in Acts, they meet physical needs in order to minister people in matters of the heart. This is a theme throughout the book and one that can be easily applied to the Church today.
A blind beggar approaches the two in Jerusalem with a request for alms. Here is their response:
3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
They meet his needs, in the name of Jesus, and allow this miraculous encounter become a platform for the gospel. The man’s story is point and case the power or Jesus these men have proclaimed today. He is a key witness and Peter leverages his testimony for an even more crucial conversation:
11 While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. 12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? 13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus…”
So what does this mean today?
Meet people where they are today, here and now, as a means to bring the Gospel of Jesus home. There will be no relevance to the saving grace of what He offers without a real, often tangible connection to change a life in a visible way.
My neighbors downstairs may never come to church without an offer to come upstairs for a cup of coffee first. Strangers to the gospel and America may never want to hear what we have to say without a dental appointment and a kind word in their own language. A friend may not hear a hard message of admonishment without a question to check in with how he’s really doing first.
Jesus cares. Jesus loves. In the most real and personal way. Why shouldn’t His message of genuine love and care be attached to the same message of eternal love?