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.
The Hour of Prayer
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;
- As this passage shows, this was the hour of prayer, one of three times each day Jews would pray, 3:00 pm. Although now following Christ and ministering in His name, they were still Jews and observed the regular patterns of worship. They were good Jews, even, and when it was time for prayer, they went to the temple to pray.
- Lame from his mother’s womb. Never walked. Never knew anything else.
- He was always a beggar. He sat at a beggar’s station, outside a gate that led to the temple, where the normal people, the clean, the walking people were allowed to go, but a lame beggar was not. He was considered unclean. Levitical law would not allow someone lame to serve as a priest or to handle holy things. He depended on the generosity and kindness of others to make any money at all.
Look at Us
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.
- 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?
Better Than Gold: a Miracle!
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.
- 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!
Wonder and Amazement
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.
- The lame man did not really testify as we know it, but his actions surely told a story. He praised God for the healing he had received.
- His life had been normalized from that of a lame beggar, rejected and scorned, to a whole man who was able to become a productive member of society. He may now become a servant or a landowner or a store proprietor. He would live like men without disabilities.
- Most importantly, though, his healing became a living testimony of the power of God to save and heal.
What is Your Life Saying?
- Are you devoted to personal devotion and public worship?
- Are you willing to reach out to others, taking a holy risk?
- Are you able and willing to deliver that which is finer than gold?
- Are you living in way that engenders awe and wonder about what God can do?
- There are lots of hurting people in your path daily
- Look for divine opportunities to heal
- Help someone come out of the situation that limits them and become what God intended all of us to be: witnesses of His great grace!
- Find the Beautiful Gate in your schedule every day.