Summary: I have come to this conclusion: People do not need a “hand out” . What they really need is a “hand up” So many people would be content to be carried around in their affliction rather than walk on their own two feet. The Worst part is many Christian’s are content to keep carrying them.
I. The Routine (1)
Peter and John were still in the two by two mode -- they were going about their religious routine on their way to the temple to pray.
“Ninth hour” approximately (3PM) in the afternoon. Some interesting observations:
It wasn’t the time of the afternoon sacrifice; but rather the time that followed it. because they understood Jesus to be the lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world and that there remains no more sacrifice for sin under the old system.
They saw no problem continuing their jewish custom of prayer at certain hours of the day.
Perhaps this time of day (The Ninth Hour) held special significance for them because it was the hour when Jesus cried for the cross “it is finished”
The Point is they were going about their Routine when they ran into an opportunity.
II. The Reality (2-5) When you are going through the motions of your routine; divine appointments reveal themselves in the form of alternate realities. We must resist superimposing our realities onto other people's lives. What do we know about this man?
A. Birth (2a)-- He had been lame from birth -- we don’t know the (who, what, when, where or why) Peter and John may have remembered the conversation with Jesus when they asked “who sinned that this man was born blind?” (John 9) The man, the mom, the dad, Jesus saying: That’s not important...you are asking the wrong question. Neither...but that God may be glorified!.
B. Beautiful (2b) -- He was laid at the gate Beautiful, -- The Jewish historian Josephus described this gate on the temple mount; made of fine Corinthian brass, seventy-five feet high with huge double doors, so beautiful that it “greatly excelled those that were only covered over with silver and gold.” (Cited in Stott) I love the Irony of scripture -- Here in the shadows of the Pomp and Splendor of the things of man...lie this Pauper who goes unnoticed; ignored as people continue...caught up in their own personal realities.
C. Beggar (3) -- Now in all fairness -- there was (and is) a strong tradition of alms-giving in Judaism, and doing it as an act of righteousness.
I’m sure the lame man felt he had no other options. Beg or starve to death.
His Reality vs. Alternate Reality -- The lame man simply wanted to be supported in the condition that he was in.
God had something better in mind; Jesus wanted to completely change his condition.
Peter and John were just a couple more guys who could possibly feel pity and like a few others through some money at the poor, pitiful, beggar -- feeling satisfied that I did a good deed for the day.
III. The Reply (4-5)
A. Look at us -- At-en-id'-zo -- teíno (to stretch); to gaze intently:—behold earnestly (stedfastly), fasten (eyes), look
Momma -- when she wanted to know that “I want you to listen…(pay attention) to what I am about to say!
The Beggar must have had confidence -- why? Because most people are careful not to make eye contact with them, when they have no intention of helping.
B. Look up -- One thing about a beggar -- it’s hard to get them to make eye contact!
What is the purpose of making eye contact? --
(Mat 6:22 NKJV) "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.
Also: The nature of this man's situation involves shame; inferiority complexes; worth issues.
(Psa 3:3 NKJV) But You, O LORD, [are] a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
The Head must be lifted first and then the rest will follow.
LOOK AT ME….I WANT TO TELL YOU SOMETHING THAT IS GOING TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
C. Listen up -- (5) “so he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.”
This is what we are looking for -- He is someone who is open and receptive.
Expecting to receive something -- What is this? Same thing Jesus was always looking for: FAITH! -- There is nothing that will arrest the heart of God like someone who is open with faith to believe! (we have no control over this part)
IV. The Reciprocity (6-7) Chances are this beggar’s expectations were probably pretty low -- expecting something far less than what was available.
A. Money -- “silver and gold i do not have” I don’t know if this is a doctrinal position as to why Preachers should not have multiple mansions and jet airplanes to fly around on, but you just don’t see a lot of New Testament; Kingdom minded people who are enormously wealthy!
Money paradigms -- we live in a world where silver and gold are the driving force to get things done -- even though Solomon said: (Ecc 10:19 NKJV) A feast is made for laughter, And wine makes merry; But money answers everything.