But Peter looked intently at him, as did John,
and said, "Look at us."
He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.
Sinners -- if I can make a generalization -- would rather not be seen. The righteous also, unsure of their righteousness, would rather not be examined too closely. The righteous disciple of Jesus might say, "Don't look at me. Look at Jesus!" Or, "Do as I say, not as I do!"
But it's very hard not to look at the speaker. It's hard to ignore those who say, "Jesus will save you!' They clearly want to be heard; so why do they want to be ignored? That must arouse suspicion.
And hardly anyone will do as you say and not as you do. Actions speak louder than words and sometimes they shout, "Beware of what I say and do."
It's curious then, that Saint Peter would say to the crippled beggar, "Look at us." Here is a fellow who, after boasting that he would be the first to defend the Lord, loudly, angrily denied that he'd ever met him.
That's all in the past as he and John go into the temple. Something, everything has changed. A terrible beauty is born.
Saint Luke's sequel to his Gospel, the Acts of the Apostles, tells the same story as the Gospel with a different cast. Where Jesus taught, healed and suffered his disciples will teach, heal and suffer. The actors are different, the Holy Spirit is the same. Where we looked at Jesus we can now look at the Church; what we saw him do then; we find ourselves doing today.
Entering the temple, Peter and John demonstrate a confidence which has everything and nothing to do with them. They are moved by the Spirit of Jesus.
I don't imagine Peter woke up that morning and said, "I think I'll go heal a few cripples." It wasn't like that. Rather, as they approached the entrance of the temple for evening prayer he saw a man crippled from birth and acted on impulse. "Look at us!" he said without thinking about himself. The Spirit wanted the man's full attention. "...in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk." the Spirit said, and the fellow got up and walked.
Peter may have been as surprised as anyone but he wasn't interested in his surprise; he was delighted at what the Spirit had done in the name of Jesus Christ.
Every once in a while you might see someone crossing in front of a movie screen, stage, or the altar in church. This person doesn't want to draw attention but by tiptoeing and hunching and saying "excuse me, excuse me" he distracts everybody. If they would just walk by without making an issue of it, no one would notice.
Saints Peter and John, after saying "Look at us!" drew no attention to themselves. They pointed directly at Jesus, and the whole city of Jerusalem was amazed by the power of that Name.
This is how Christians must be in our world. We should not be ashamed of our presence; it draws attention to Jesus.