Christ in Proverbs 8 & 16
3 When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. 4 But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” 5 And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” - Acts 3:3-6
Maybe you're like me and you've grown up hearing this story. The passage has always been a little puzzling given the NT teaches the church to tend for the poor. Nevertheless, the usual point taken away is "Christ is of more value than material wealth." That is certainly true but it isn't what Peter actually says. In my recent listening to the Bible I caught an interesting little precursor to this apostolic tale. One that sorta caught the ear and caused me to miss the next couple verses,
19 “My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold,
And my yield better than choicest silver. - Proverbs 8:19
16 How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!
And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver. - Proverbs 16:16
The first verse is the "wisdom" of God speaking (Prob 8:12). It can be argued that not passage in Scripture played a bigger role in the Arian debate (was Jesus a created being) than Proverbs 8. Still today, many individuals perceive Wisdom to be a pre-cursor to Jesus Christ. This certainly could be the case since Wisdom is a personification of God throughout the Proverbs. Christ being the incarnation or visible icon of the invisible God would certainly be a fulfillment of this wisdom. That just leads us into hermeneutical distinctions that none of us wants to go down.
The second verse is a little more straight forward with a similar theme. Yet again, the wisdom of God is greater than any money. Now I wouldn't go so far as to say these passages were in Peter's mind when he made his comments to the leper; but if the proverbs were the foundation of Godly wisdom it certainly could have had some impact.
Was Peter simply telling the guy, "Christ is worth more than money man so stop begging"? Or was he in fact saying, "the fulfillment of the Proverbs is here. The Wisdom of God can be freely known"? I'm not sure but I found it fascinating.