Remember, the Lord Jesus is building His Kingdom and He is using His apostles as His agents to build His Kingdom. One thing I have noticed over the years of being a Christian and then as a pastor is that some people want a Church that provides the spectacular! What is spectacular? Some would say the so called “supernatural things” they do which would include the “miraculous” is the spectacular. Personally I would rather go to a Church where God is presented as spectacular; where the Bible is spectacular and where the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is spectacular … leading to the greatest miracle ever … even greater than creation. When God is presented as the most awesome Being and His Word as the instrument that is sharper than a two edged sword, that when preached, dead souls are brought to life … eternal life! Now that’s spectacular … spectacular because it is all of God! Please read the following passage
Ac 3:1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I 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. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
1) It is not strange to find Peter and John together. They were colleagues in the fishing industry and they were years apart in age … Peter was older and married, whilst John was a younger man. Remember when they ran to check the tomb of Jesus that was reported empty on Resurrection Sunday … John arrived first … the older Peter puffed in a while later. But more important, they were, with John’s brother James, the inner core of Jesus’ disciples. There is much younger brothers may learn from older, more mature brothers. Even the apostle Paul had an apprentice named Timothy.
2) Praying at the Temple. There were three basic prayer times each day … each went parallel to a sacrificial act in the Temple … morning prayers and offerings, afternoon prayers and offerings and overnight offerings and prayers. We are told that the prayer time was in the afternoon. God knowing all things, arranged this visitation to the temple for a special reason. Many others would be there either for prayer or to make a sacrifice for forgiveness (such were not trusting in Jesus’ Blood sacrifice). Apart from the meeting that God arranged for Peter and John, true prayer is the most lacking ingredient in the Church today. Most Churches have prayer meetings, but are they “true prayer” meetings? True prayer meetings are when born again people take time out to focus on God, His praise and glory, their sin, the salvation of souls (missions and evangelism) the Church’s needs, the society’s needs, world affairs, etc. Always remember that a true prayer meeting does not need to be big numerically. Even two saved souls works!
3) The divine appointment.
Ac 3:2 Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.
(1) This gate does not necessary mean it led directly to the temple. The temple being built on a mount resulted in people calling the Temple Mount “the temple”. Where it was and why it was called “Beautiful” is unknown.
(2) What is significant is that the cripple man had been cripple from birth. He was carried everywhere and on this occasion he was being carried to the Gate Beautiful for the purpose of begging. That was his career. He was a professional beggar. Everyone knew him because he was always there begging. It might have been that this afternoon slot for sacrifice and prayer could have been well attended. His presence as a cripple would have attracted the attention of many as well as influencing the people both emotionally and religiously. Jews were to care for the needy. A cripple was one of the needy.
4) Peter and John were about to enter through the Gate Beautiful when the cripple saw them. He would have known most of the frequent visitors to the temple … maybe he did not recognize Peter and John. Perhaps he saw them as an easy target and asked them for cash. Many today when asked for money by beggars look the other way. Both Peter and John did not. They looked directly at him. Peter spoke to the man saying … “Look at us”. It might have meant that they were unemployed fishermen without income … but more likely it mean … give us your attention in the way we gave you our attention
Ac 3:5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Was he about to be surprised!
5) Tell the truth and give what you can. Peter admitted he was cash strapped … but he had something to give. He was an apostle, not that this would have had an impact on the beggar. Together with the other apostles Peter was gifted with the ability to do the miraculous to authenticate the Gospel and the King of the Kingdom. Crippled from birth and being a professional beggar, dependent upon others to carry him around must have been a terrible existence!
Ac 3:6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I 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.
Notice that the miracle is credited to Jesus Christ of Nazareth. There can be no mistake that what is happening is in the Name and in the Power of the One who hailed from Nazareth … the One who was Crucified, died and was buried and rose on the Third Day as promised. The reason for Peter stating that what he was doing was in Jesus’ Name is because there can be no doubt that the Gospel is authentic and needs to be believed.
Father, help me to believe in the power of the life transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ from Nazareth. Amen.