Friday, 10 December 2021
who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. Acts 3:3
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).
The narrative continues concerning Peter and John’s going to the temple at the ninth hour. As they were going through the Beautiful gate of the temple, Luke noted that a certain man was placed there to ask for alms, meaning he was a beggar. It is he “who, seeing Peter and John” is described by Luke.
The verb is aorist. Rather than “seeing,” it reads “who, having seen Peter and John.” The idea is that he noticed them coming, but as will be seen in the coming verse, he really didn’t pay any special attention to them. Peter and John were going through the gate, and they were “about to go into the temple.”
The words “about to go” are correctly rendered. Luke is writing as if they are passing by as we read. There is a beggar, sitting at his place of begging, and he noticed two people coming. As they were passing through the gate (the door) and about to enter the temple complex, it says he “asked for alms.”
Now the verb is imperfect. More appropriately, it says, “he was asking for alms.” If one is reading it in the proper tenses, the scene is more alive, and the mental picture is that of a movie scene. Young’s Literal translation catches the sense –
“who, having seen Peter and John about to go into the temple, was begging to receive a kindness.” YLT
This poor beggar, unable to tend for himself, probably worn out from the degrading life he was assigned, is doing what he did from day to day. When someone passes by, he notices them and picks up his mournful call, “Alms… alms… can you spare a kindness? Alms… alms… it’s the Lord’s temple. Have mercy!”
There he sat from day to day with no hopes or expectations beyond the kindness, or maybe the pitied conscience, of whoever passed by. This man was not one to plan a vacation or even a weekend walk up the Mount of Olives. His life bore little meaning except maybe to a couple of people. He was afflicted, probably thought accursed of God by many, and one who was easily ignored as the healthy people passed him by without a care in the world.
Life application: It is true that there are people standing on the side of the road with signs that are there to scam those who drive by. Many make more than people who go to a full-time job. By handing them money, you also only increase their desire to continue begging, and you will spur others on to do the same. It is a problem. The desire may be to help people out, but our kindness may be taken advantage of.
However, this doesn’t mean we should turn a cold shoulder to those in need. Often, we have the opportunity to help people that are truly in need, and we should do so. But the most important thing we can do is share the good news of Christ with them. To meet someone’s physical needs, without tending to his spiritual needs, is a temporary bandage on a fully open and septic wound.
But this goes beyond us to the church or denomination we attend. Think of the Roman Catholic church for a moment. Regardless as to what you think about its theology, the world looks at it as the symbol of “Christianity.” They have certain organizations set up for tending to the needy, the outcasts, and so on. And yet, there is little or no sharing of the true gospel as presented in the Bible. Instead, there is an unceasing number of scandals that come forth from it – sexual abuse, perversion, even murdering of youth which is evidenced by unmarked graveyards filled with unknown children.
Along with that, the “pope” of the catholic church places himself into countless political entanglements, works to direct world events that will ultimately benefit him and the church, and now the current pope (2021) is a champion of social justice, redistribution of wealth, ecumenicalism, religious pluralism, and even climate change.
The pope regularly champions ridiculous clauses. These things are undeniable because they happen openly from day to day. And yet, knowing this, ask yourself if you have ever – even once – heard the pope give a clear presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as it is outlined in Scripture. The answer is assuredly “No.”
Where are your priorities placed? There is nothing wrong with engaging in politics if it is intended to bolster the moral state of a society. However, there is a world of difference between that and what is carried out by the Roman Catholic Church.
Now extend that to the other large denominations you know of. How many of them have social programs galore, and yet how many of them present the gospel while engaging in these social programs? Be aware of your surroundings! If you are a part of a church or denomination that is presenting a social gospel, but which is failing to simply preach the gospel, you are a part of the problem. Evaluate yourself and determine to do right before the Lord. Your day to stand before Him is coming. Be about His business now.
Lord God, if we are not sharing the gospel in our churches and in our daily lives, we are not acting in accord with what You expect of us as Christians. Help us to correct this. To Your glory, O God. Amen.