Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Looking both ways...a word study

Preached on Acts 3 on Sunday. It is the story of God healing the crippled beggar through Peter and John. Luke says that "Peter looked straight at him" which is an interesting word in the Greek pronounced a-te-NEE'-zow.

It is used 14x in the NT, twice by Paul, twice by Luke in the Gospel and 10 times in Acts. Every usage in Acts seems instructionally significant. The first two times a-te-NEE'-zow is used is the believers "looking intently" up into heaven. Godward. Second time - Peter and John "looking straight" at the beggar. Toward human need.

Good lesson here. To look Godward is symbolic of the first of Jesus' two great commandments "Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength." To look toward human need seems symbolic of "Love your neighbor as yourself."

I once thought it was easy for Christians to think heaven all day without being moved toward those in need of our compassion. I no longer think so. The vast majority of those who call themselves "Christian" have no vital prayer life, are largely scripturally illiterate and are theologically inept. Most also don't take seriously the hurting in their midst.

But the abundant life is found right there taking looking intently with eye and hand with the weekly warp and woof of our lives.



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