Begging At The Gate

Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.

Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!”The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”

Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.

All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. 10 When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! 11 They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon’s Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John.

Acts 3:1-11 (NLT)

 

We were discussing this passage in Bible study tonight. I never get tied of reading Acts because it seems like something new is always jumping out at me. I am very familiar with this event. I have preached about it, I have taught it in adult Bible classes, and I have taught it to children. I’m sure I noticed it before but for some reason verse eleven really popped out tonight. The man who was healed was over forty years old. Luke tells us that later on (Luke 5:22). That isn’t the part that makes me stop though. It’s verse 11. It says that the man was holding tightly to Peter and John. Why do you think he was doing that?

Someone tonight suggested that it may have been out of fear that the healing would go away if he let go. It was also suggested that he wanted to see what else Peter and John might do. Others have thought that he may have been worried that the crowd was going to drag him away or that the religious leaders might try to dispose of him. Perhaps he was so grateful that he just couldn’t let go. We really don’t know do we?

What we do know is that this man had been spending his day just like every other day before. He was outside the “Beautiful Gate” of the Temple because it was a high traffic area. Someone (friends or family maybe) had taken him there so he could beg for money to survive. When he begged in front of Peter and John he got more than he ever dreamed. Imagine how excited he must have been when they actually stopped and began a conversation with him. How many people had breezed on by and intl dropped a coin or two? How many had shuffled past without giving anything. I’m sure the man was used to both by this point.

However, here are these two guys and they want to talk. I have a pretty good imagination so I envision his excitement slowly fading when Peter says that he doesn’t have any money to give him. What went through his mind? Was he disappointed? Angry? We don’t know because what Peter does next changes this guy’s life forever.  He heals him in the name of Jesus. The man is literally jumping for joy. Think about that for a moment. How long does it take muscles and bones to react after periods of inactivity? Think about the hours of physical therapy required of people recovering from injuries or surgeries. This man had never walked. He is suddenly using muscles and bones that had never been used.

I think about how long it takes me to use my hand or foot if I sit or lay in the wrong position. The blood has to resume circulation. The numbness has to wear off. The pins and needles have to go away. Even then I don’t just jump up and go about my business. It requires time to readjust. Think about this. How long does it take for a baby to learn to walk? How difficult is it? How many stumbles and falls does it take? This guy jumps up on two feet that have never been used and starts to dance and worship. No wonder the people are astonished. This is a miracle in every sense of the word.

Think about one more thing as I bring this to and end. Someone had to take the guy up to the gate every day. Someone had enough compassion to put him in a position to be blessed. You might be the beggar right now. Perhaps you’re sitting there expecting just enough to get you through. May God truly surprise you and bless you in ways you can’t even imagine. Perhaps you’re sitting there and you know someone who needs a hand getting to the gate. Are you willing to give of your time and resources to make sure he/she can be there?

May God our Father give you grace and peace.

peter-john-and-lame-man-small

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