Saturday, 11 December 2021
And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” Acts 3:4
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
The lame man sitting at the gate called Beautiful had noticed Peter and John going into the temple. Upon noticing them, he asked for alms. In response to this, Luke records concerning Peter, “And fixing his eyes on him.” The Greek word, atenizó, gives the sense of the attention of the individual being completely fixed on what is before him. It is a word that is used fourteen times in the New Testament, and all but two are from Luke. The other two uses are by Paul in 2 Corinthians 3.
With this directed and steady stare upon the beggar, Luke adds in the words, “with John.” Peter is the one who is inspired to act, but John is there as well. As such, he is able to confirm the event as a second witness to what will take place. With this noted, the verse ends with, “Peter said, ‘Look at us.’”
Here, Luke uses the word blepó. It is not an uncommon word, but it gives the sense of looking attentively. The previous verse used another word when it said of the beggar, “who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple.” There, he saw, but he wasn’t attentive to what he was seeing. He just simply saw a couple of guys coming and was set to ask alms from them without really paying attention to who they were. He discerned their presence, but his attention was not fixed upon them. However, Peter now asks for full and undivided attention.
Life application: In your daily life, you will see many people and many things without really paying attention to them. This doesn’t mean you are uncaring. Rather, if we took the time to carefully observe everything we passed, we would never get anywhere.
When we drive down the road, we see trees, but we don’t see each tree. And even if we went slow enough to see each tree, we wouldn’t see each branch. But suppose we stopped and looked at each branch. We still probably wouldn’t continue by looking at every leaf or pine needle. Again, if we were attentive to every detail, we would never get anywhere.
However, there are things we should be more attentive to than others. The word of God, for example, is something we may read every day. But our level of attention to it may be more or less, depending on how careful we are with it.
As noted above, the word atenizó is used twice by Paul, both times in 2 Corinthians 3. The second time he uses it, he says –
“Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament because the veil is taken away in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 3:12-14
Paul compares the veiling of Moses’ face to the veil which blinds the eyes of the Jews to the truth of Christ. The same words of the Old Testament are read by Jew and Gentile alike, and yet, unbelieving Jews have no sense of discernment concerning how it all points to Jesus. The same is true with us before we are shown how it anticipates Him.
Have you ever read a passage and thought, “I wonder why that is included in the Bible?” And then, shortly after, a preacher does a sermon on exactly that passage. In his sermon, he carefully explains how it anticipates Christ. It is as if a light goes on. “Yes, of course! I see it. If only I had thought it through.”
When we read the Bible, we are reading the word of God. It is a book intended to show us what He has done, is doing, and will do in redemptive history. And every bit of it is centered on Jesus. If we keep that in mind, and if we are careful to think about what we are reading, we can often see things that are right there in plain sight, but which are veiled in how they are presented.
When reading the Bible, be careful not to insert what you are looking for into what you are reading. Rather, ask the Lord, “What are You showing us?” Then think on what you have read, considering it in relation to the rest of Scripture. In this, you may find types and pictures of what God is doing in the text right before you.
Fix your gaze attentively on this precious word, contemplate what it says, and cherish what it conveys. This word is what tells us of Jesus, and Jesus is the One who reveals the unseen Father to us. Yes, cherish this sacred word and this beautiful gift that God has given to reveal Himself to us.
Lord God, how wonderful it is to study Your word, to think on its precepts, and to consider its lessons. There are foundational truths recorded there. In it, we find a properly established moral base for our lives. And through it, we are directed to You – the Giver of all good blessings in Christ. Thank You for this precious word, O God. Amen.