Acts 3:1–10 (NKJV)
The really neat thing to me about the baptism in the Holy Spirit is that the experience does not really change who you are at your core. You are still a Christian, a believer, a child of God. What this experience does for the believer is equip and endue the believer with power. These followers of Christ had believed in Him and His ministry for three years. They had followed Him everywhere, seemingly with no regrets or second thoughts. However, they were now very much without Him, His physical presence, His direct verbal leadership. So, now, they were under the direction of the Spiritual Paraclete, sent on the day of Pentecost to carry them forward into the new era of the church.
1 Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; 3 who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. 4 And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” 5 So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” 7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God. 10 Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.Acts 3:1-10
As they went to the Jewish temple, at the Hebrew hour of prayer (3:00 pm, one of three set times each day), they were doing what normal Jewish people would do, but in the service of Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Peter and John saw a man they had likely seen before, a lame man who sat at a gate called the Beautiful Gate. This is not a typical name for a gate of the city or the temple. What it does signify, perhaps, is that this gate is leading to something beautiful. Whether that is the temple and the opportunity for prayer and worship, or whether it points to what will happen in this lame man’s life in just a few moments is to be determined. However, there is beauty in this story. There should be beauty in the church, beauty in our daily activities and our walk with Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. We should see the lame, the blind, the lost, the bound, and we should create Beautiful Gates wherever we go.
As Peter and John come upon this lame man, Peter calls to him to look at them. This would be a place in the story where, normally, a person would give the lame man a coin or some other monetary assistance. However, Peter did not even have any money on his person. How audacious! Why get the man’s hopes up? I love Peter and his boldness, though. He knew he had no money, but offered the great thing that he did have: hope. He spoke in faith to the man to rise up and walk, and then took him by the hand and lifted him up! What faith! What if the man could not walk, and simply fell back down? How embarrassing, nay, humiliating that might have been for both of them! But when Peter–bold, courageous, and brash–lifted him up, the lame man immediately received strength to walk. And much more than walk–he walked, leaped, and praised God all throughout the temple. At the Beautiful Gate a beautiful thing happened: a miracle!
All the people who saw thing thing were amazed, and the buzz began to spread throughout the temple. “Isn’t that the beggar that sat by the gate?” This first post-Pentecost recording of a miracle was drastic and amazing. The people were astonished, and word of what God was doing through the disciples of Christ began to spread. It gave Peter another opportunity to preach, as we will discuss in the next blog, and it gave the church another outlet to demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit working in believers. Where are the Beautiful Gates today? I believe they are anywhere a believer, especially a Spirit-filled believer happens to be. Whether at a job or in a store, working out or sitting in a restaurant. There are lame people everywhere, and the Holy Spirit is there as well. So, stop bemoaning the sad state of our culture. Stop wringing hands over the sickness, disease, addiction, bondage and pain in our world, and be like Peter. Reach down and pick up a beggar by the hand and help him walk. Then, you will be standing at a Beautiful Gate.