When the Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary

And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 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!” Acts 3:4-6 ESV

Sometimes situations happen pushing the envelope of extraordinary. Things that are extraordinary are things that go beyond the usual, regular or customary ways of life. The healing event of Acts 3 is something unusual! Since we have the advantage of seeing the incident as a whole, sometimes it’s difficult see these circumstances as coming out of the ordinary. Look at how the day begins.

It starts with Peter and John going up to the usual day of prayer, following the usual time schedule allotted for this service. There’s the usual crowd going through the same usual gates, people making routine choices that have become ordinary, regular and customary preferences. The two Galileans, Peter and John, had only the expectation of prayer on their minds. They walked through the gate called Beautiful with the crowd of Jewish worshippers eager to give God glory. It was an average prayer service performed at the normal ninth hour.

This ninth hour was about three o’clock in the afternoon. People were making their way to the afternoon prayer service just following a day’s work. A lame man’s friends or family had just delivered a needy companion to his most effective location. That’s when Peter and John walk by. So far, there is nothing unusual here! The disadvantaged man arrived just in time to reach the majority of worshipers. He’d learned from experience the only folks who’d look at him were those with the capacity to make a contribution. And a gaze in his direction generally meant someone was willing to present alms. Everything was going as planned, people did what they normally do in life; nothing seemed out of place for the moment.

But now things begin to change—the extraordinary happens. As Peter and John headed up the steps this needy fellow confronted them. We read of the disciples stepping over to the disadvantaged and look steadfastly upon him. No doubt his hopes rise.

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.

We see nothing out of the ordinary yet. No doubt he was getting ready to give his customary display of gratitude. Verses 6-7:

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!”  And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.

The ordinary becomes extraordinary! Out of a predictable situation comes an astonishing event that no one, except Peter and John, expected.

8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

Extraordinary! There’s one little sentence fragment in this passage that says each of us has something extraordinary to offer. Verse 6:

But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you.

We have the same thing as Peter and John. What is it? “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” We enjoy the same extraordinary, common life. Maybe we’ll never see the extreme physical healings. But, what we do have is the same personal relationship with Jesus—which was what the two disciples desired to give in the first place. What is the key to this giving? It’s the willingness to take the needy by the hand; verse 7.

And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.

We must be willing to touch others. To see the extraordinary we need to take our hands and reach out to the one in need. Along time ago a band named Love Song wrote these lyrics in a song they titled, “Two Hands.”

Accept Him with your whole heart
And use you own two hands
With one reach out to Jesus
And with the other, bring a friend

These simple words point out one of the greatest callings of the Christian faith—and that message is to reach out to people. If we never give our hands in service we can never fully give our hearts in devotion.

The willingness to touch others, no matter the disability or deformity, is what makes way to experience the extraordinary life. This is how we turn our ordinary moments into extraordinary hours. Looking directly into the eyes of others, meeting them gaze-to-gaze, and taking their hand into our own is the way the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

J. Robert Hanson

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