Scripture Focus: Acts 3.6-8
6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
Reflection: Waiting at the Beautiful Gate
By John Tillman
The man Peter and John heal in this passage is a man who waited.
We do not know the full extent of his deformity, only that he was lame from birth and that its severity was such that he had to be carried to the Temple. We know that he was over forty years old and was such a fixture at the Temple that everyone recognized him. It seems likely that he had been there for most of his life
It is possible this man was present, begging outside the Temple, during Jesus’ first visit when Christ, as a twelve-year-old stunned the teachers with his questions and answers. Not that the man would have heard the debate, being excluded from entering or worshiping at the Temple.
Doubtless, Peter and John had walked by this lame man before in the presence of Jesus. Perhaps they had not noticed the man then. Maybe they were engrossed in theological debate or maybe looking in wonder at the massive stones of the Temple that Jesus then prophesied would soon be thrown down.
Living in Jerusalem, this man certainly knew about Jesus. He may have even seen Jesus. But Jesus had passed him by.
Jesus did not “miss” this man. He left him for Peter and John. This man was waiting to be healed, not by Christ, but by his disciples—by his church.
Jesus has left his church work to do in this world. There are people left out of the kingdom. There are people injured and hurt by the religious and by the irreligious. There are men and women lamed and abandoned by the world. There are unwanted masses that yearn to be free.
They are waiting for us at the Beautiful Gate. We are their miracle.
The suffering children? They are waiting for us.
The unwanted refugees? They are waiting for us.
The diseased and uneducated? They are waiting for us.
The condemned and shunned? They are waiting for us.
Not for the Democrats. Not for the Republicans. For the church.
Jesus didn’t give us the Holy Spirit for warm, fuzzy feelings in our sanctuaries. The Holy Spirit is given to us to heal those too scarred, scared, deformed, and broken to dare enter the sanctuary.
When we act in healing ways through the Spirit’s power, the formerly broken will leap, run, and skip into God’s presence as the lame man leaped through the gates of the Temple, praising the name of God.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Deliverance belongs to the Lord. Your blessing be upon your people! — Psalm 3.8
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.
Read more about Jesus, our Restorer
Even in the intensity of his own suffering, Christ healed those Peter attacked and forgave those Peter cursed at.
Read more about The Prince of Peace not Pacification
Many times we, like the Jerusalem crowds, might prefer a Prince of Pacification instead of a Prince of Peace.