Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
Travelers tell us that one of the saddest things to be seen in Eastern countries is the crowding of beggars in the approaches to Mohammedan mosques, and at the gates of cities and large houses; many of them presenting the most painful and revolting pictures of human suffering. "The stationing of beggars, especially maimed beggars, at the gate of the temple, was evidently suggested by the persuasion that the feelings of those who were proceeding to, or had been engaged in, an act of solemn worship, would be more inclined to charity and benevolence than at ordinary times" (see 'Bible Lands and Customs,' Van Lennep, vol. 2. p. 754). Fix attention on the words actually spoken to the beggar by St. Peter, and consider
(1) The consciousness of power, and
(2) the responsibility of conscious power.
I. THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF POWER. "Such as I have give I thee." St. Peter felt that he had something. He knew that he could benefit and bless the sufferer, if not in the precise way which the man anticipated. The common power of "silver and gold" St. Peter had not; the far better power, to heal, St. Peter had. What we so greatly need is to awake to the consciousness of the power that we have in Christ Jesus; to believe in the abundant and varied powers with which the Church of Christ and the individual Christian are endowed. We should expect to see signs of power in each other, as fellow-Christians. God never renews any man by his Spirit without also endowing him with a gift, or talent, in trust. Powers differ in different men. Each man has his own. Wealth is a power - a dreadful power, if it has not been first laid on the altar of Christ, and then taken up and used as his; a glorious power if, on starting life, the soul has made a great covenant with Christ, and solemnly vowed that whatever may be gained shall be consecrated to him. Intellect is a power. Every man who knows a little more than his neighbor has a power. He can teach, he can enlighten, he can lead. But a man may have little money and little mind, and yet have the trust of that far higher thing - spiritual power. He may be able to lay hold of, and use for the blessing of others, the "great power of God." That "spiritual power" lies dormant too often in us. We need something to work in us as in St. Peter, and waken the consciousness of our trust; something stirring in us mighty impulses, shaking us out of our apathy and selfishness, compelling us to say, "A witness for Christ has to be made, and I must help to make it; a work for Christ has to be done, and I must help to do it; the world has to be won for Christ, and I must set to work to win the little piece of the world in which God has been pleased to put me.
II. THE RESPONSIBILTY OF CONSCIOUS POWER. All God's gifts to us are for our giving away to others. All God's strength is for use. If he makes an arm strong, it is for work. If he makes a voice strong, it is that it may plead with others for him. If he makes a heart strong, it is that it may inspire others to nobler things. There is no Divine blessing that is intended to rest with us. All blessings that flow to us are to flow through us, gain force from us, and flow on in refreshings beyond us. If you are compelled to recognize the fact that you could - you could give, you could teach, you could sympathize, you could cheer - then upon you rests a solemn responsibility. What you can do for Christ and for his brethren, you are bound, by all holy persuasions and considerations, to do. Such as you have, by gracious trusts from God, that you must be ever ready to give and spend and use for the service and the blessing of others. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.