The Dust off their feet : Acts 3- responding to need

The Dust off their feet : Acts 3- responding to need

How do you respond to beggars (or need) ?

– The guy who cleans your windscreen at the intersection in Auckland ?
– One on the street asking for money ?

– share some of your reactions  with the group


In Acts 3 we are starting to get hints of what this new community of the spirit might be like. Unlike at pentecost, here the action happens outside the gathering, but on the way to a jewish prayer meeting.  This is more Monday to Saturday life than Sunday.

Read Acts 3:1-10

Notice the following phases :
When approached with a need
1 – Peter and John looked the beggar straight in the eye.
2 – They recognised what they didn’t have (Silver and gold)
3 – They responded with what they did have (Jesus)
and offered a ‘hand up’ rather than a hand out.
4 – After verse 10, the rest of acts 3 is an explanation where Peter
tells people about Jesus (It wasn’t me)

When you look back at your encounters with beggars, or just people in need, how do those 4 phases fit ?

Put yourself in the story

The gates around the temple are gilded with gold and Silver and brass. They are rich and ornate and massive. The Beggar is not allowed inside as he is not whole of body.

Imagine yourself outside the temple begging. Imagine peter and john, responding with the huge gold gates in the background. Imagine getting up and jumping and for the first time ever being allowing to go into the temple ! How does that feel ?

The explanation

Peter has to explain that it’s not them. He resists the temptation to look good, instead he points at Jesus.  IN his explanation, he does some of the following (can you find it)
  • Starts by answering the questions they are asking  (v12)
  • Make it clear it’s not him  (V13)
  • Introduces Jesus  (v13-)
  • Put them in the story (v13-)
  • He is unflinchingly  honest (you did this & that)
  • He finishes with a reminder of the jewish call to be Blessed to be a blessing. (v24)
How do we explain what we do ? How can we help each other resist the temptation to ‘look good’ and take the credit ? How can we avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed by need ? What’s the difference between a hand out and a hand up ? (Hopefully that should keep discussion going for a while)
You could finish by praying as a group, for our church and for all of us to see the right needs and respond with Jesus.