And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. (Acts 3:4-5)
Peter and John went to the temple. They didn’t go to make a sacrifice, because they knew all that had been fulfilled in the perfect work of Jesus Christ at the cross. Instead, they went at the hour of prayer (Acts 3:1). Apparently, Peter and John saw no problem in continuing their Jewish custom of prayer at certain hours of the day.
As Peter and John came to the temple area, they passed a familiar sight: a particular beggar who sat at the same place, asking for kind donations from those coming to or leaving the temple courts. They had probably passed that man many times, but this time the Holy Spirit prompted Peter to do something different.
First, Peter and John looked at the lame man (fixing his eyes on him). The man must have been happy and encouraged when Peter and John stared so intently at him. Most people who want to ignore beggars are careful to not make eye contact with them. When the apostles looked at the lame man so intently, he probably thought he had a big gift coming.
That is why the lame beggar gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. From his place of laying on the ground, the man returned the eye contact with Peter and John; perhaps he stretched out his hand or a cup to receive their generosity.
This was good! The lame man did the right thing in expecting to receive something from them. His expectation was the simple belief that he would receive something.
Many people have not yet to come to the place where they really expect something from God. This is faith, plain and simple. Of course, our expectation must be rooted in God’s promises. We can’t take our dreams or wishes and expect God to fulfill all of them.
Yet, when our expectations are grounded in God’s promises, we can come to Him expecting to receive something from Him.
The lame beggar in Acts 3 was expecting to receive something, and he would have been satisfied with a few coins. But on that day God had something much greater in mind for this beggar than what he was expecting to receive. He would have been satisfied with far less than what Jesus wanted to give him. Working through Peter and John, Jesus wanted to heal the man of the cause of his trouble and poverty.
You have the wonderful privilege of starting a new year full of faith, full of expectation of what God will do. Just pay attention to God’s promises so that you can expect the right things from Him. We are often much too ready to settle for far less than what God wants to give, and our low expectations rob us. Get ready to start a new year full of faith.