In the middle of the passage where we learn how to live a simple Christian life (Acts 2:42-47), along come the two apostles Peter and John. The simple Christian life was obviously followed by them as well, for we see them too going to the temple.
1Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
2And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple.
Who are these Guys?
This is the same Peter and John who, along with James, went with Jesus to the top of a tall mountain in Matthew 17:1-2 and saw the glory of the Lord firsthand. The Bible points out that His face shone brighter than the sun, just as Moses’ face shown after he had spent time with God the Father. Whenever you spend time with God, whether by reading His Word, or praying, or seeking His face, or even hanging out with other believers, your countenance will change too.
Notice their position as well. They were going up to the temple. Even though the old Jewish system had been supplanted by Christianity, God had designed the temple in such a way that it would lead the Jewish people to Him. In going up, Peter and John were going to better, higher, more glorious places in Jesus. He will take you as well to more glorious places as you surrender more and more of your life to Him on a daily basis.
The temple, as well, has a deep meaning. It represents the presence of God as well as being a place of healing, forgiveness, mercy, and grace. God can and will give these blessings to you wherever you are. You don’t need to be in any particular location, but, sometimes, being in a certain place at a certain time might encourage our faith. Peter and John could have the presence of God no matter where they were, but being at the temple encouraged them. In the same way, being at your place of worship at a regular meeting time can encourage you.
They came at the hour of prayer, 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Yet every hour is an hour of Prayer. Ephesians 6:18 instructs us to pray without ceasing. That’s an attitude of prayer. We get so busy sometimes that it might be a good idea to set aside an hour for prayer each day, just so long as we don’t get legalistic about it. We need to maintain communication with the Almighty.
Another View of the Lame Man
Then Peter and John come across the lame man. The inclusion of this man in the early church stories is curious. As we noted previously, the disciples’ main reason for going to the temple was to witness to the Jewish people, not to talk to beggars. Yet if we delve deeper into the story its inclusion in the Acts narrative makes perfect sense.
If you stop and think about it, we are all “lame from birth,” as this man was. We are all born into sin, inherited from Adam and Eve. That sin incapacitates us. That sin keeps us from being all that God wants us to be.
Another point to notice about this lame man is that he was “being carried.” Let me ask you, what “carries you along?” If Jesus is not leading you someone or something will. Drugs, gambling, alcohol and cigarettes are some common vices in today’s society that carry many people along. These things can consume our minds. They can destroy our bodies. They can leave us with a dependence on something other than God. If a person becomes that source of depedence, we cfrequently call it co-dependence, a serious mental condition.
A third point to notice about the lame man is that he was laid at the temple gate daily. This indicates this was comparable to a constant habit, like our habit of sin. Yet they laid him at the Beautiful Gate, which represents Jesus. Jesus is so wonderful, His grace is so beautiful, so is His mercy, His salvation, His love.
But then the lame man’s ultimate purpose is revealed: asking alms of those entering the temple. You may think this wasn’t so bad; after all, how else was he to support himself, right?
Yet, looking at it deeper, since lameness represents sin, we can see that the lame man was trying to use his sin to support himself. Sin likes to affect others.
So we’ve got this man, incapacitated or lame from his sin, involving others in his sin by getting them to daily become participants by carrying him to the place of God’s Presence which he himself does not enter into because of his sin. The man further tries to entangle others by taking their money.
What sin entangles you? Come to Jesus and be washed whiter than snow.
So, in summary, to receive your healing, five things have to happen, as revealed in Acts 3:1-2. First, admit to Jesus that you are a sinner, just like the lame man, and you need His touch.
Second, spend time with Jesus. Just like Peter and John and Moses, spending time with Jesus will change you for the better.
Third, surrender more and more of your life to Him to Him a continual daily basis.
Fourth, establish a regular pattern of church attendance.
Fifth, maintain an open line of communication with God. Doing these five things sets the stage for a truly miraculous healing, as we will see tomorrow.