Summary: The gate could be prettier than the Temple – it is another paradox of modern religion. Big gates, large ways coming trough, but no salvation at the gate.
Just look at him: an ordinary beggar, one among thousands who filled Jerusalem streets... And today was just another day, no better and no worse then all the other days that had made up the life of this poor crippled beggar. Who was he, we don’t know. The Bible reveals nothing about his life up to this day, and nothing about his life after this day. But this ordinary day would be written about and read about by millions of people all over the world. Acts 3: 1.2 (read it)
This story of the healing of a congenital cripple is the story of my life and your life. It demonstrates that Jesus Christ is
- truly raised from the dead,
- that he ascended into the heavens,
- that he is seated at the right hand of God,
- that he is the Lord of all and Savior of his people, and
- that he has the power and authority to continue to perform miracles in history, especially the miracle of saving sinners.
Jesus Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth, and so, in Acts 3, we find this illustration of the type of miracle the apostles performed in the Name of and by the Authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.
THE CONGENITAL CRIPPLE.
I will like to make some points about this Bible passage. First, let’s look at the crippled man, who is a type of a sinner. On that day, Peter and John went into the temple. They had to go through the Gate called Beautiful, which opened to the Court of Women. This beautiful gate was huge - 50 cubits high and 40 cubits wide and overlaid with bronze, it was truly a work of art. Here Peter and John encountered a congenital cripple who was begging for money.
In ancient times, poor beggars often were found by rich people’s houses as well as by busy streets, markets, and anywhere else people would pass. They were especially found near the temple gates and this still true today. Gypsies-beggars are all around churches in Romania; the same in France and UK. Paris and London’s churches are literally homes for many beggars. Chased by police, they return always there.
During my last trip in Europe I saw a large number of beggars. There were so many beggars, there was no way one could respond to all of them. The solution was often not to “see” any of them. But the beggars made this difficult. They would press themselves on you. They would approach you, tugging at your sleeve and pleading loudly for help. Some beggars are aggressive, something like some salespersons as you try to walk through the appliance section. You would concentrate on not seeing them as they converged on you, and you hurried to get through before you were trapped.
Did you get the picture? A beautiful gate but repulsive beggars all around it - what a contrasting picture!
Go away beggar, I cannot shot pictures of this place because of you… I came to this church, and I entered trough this beautiful gate to enjoy myself, to admire the view, to listen nice music and a good sermon… But you, miserable beggar, you destroyed my peace!...
This particular beggar was 40 years old and had been a cripple all his life. He was not suffered an accident and become paralyzed kind of Superman - Christopher Reeve type. No, this beggar was crippled from his mother’s womb. He don’t know how wonderful is to walk. Actually, he don’t know to walk and he never tried to walk. Look at him in his childhood - every kid running, jumping, climbing… he can’t. Frustration. As a young adolescent, he is looking depressed how others go for a diner with their girlfriends. He can’t. He will never find a girl willing to date and marry a crippled man, unable to work and to sustain a family.
No social security benefits or a monthly pay check from care institutions… He had to beg to support himself. Not easy, isn’t? To beg… to stay like this in a visible spot and to keep the hand opened: “Pleeeease, have mercy, give my some coins to buy food, please”! (Go away, go to work for yourself, oh, you can’t? OK, ask your relatives to help you, I have my own problems!)
Ha, I remember Joe Biden gafe during an electoral meeting, asking a guy in wheel chair to stand up!(Apply... church-sinner-insensitive speaker/pastor...)
I am sure that the crippled beggar knew about Jesus. I mean "all Jerusalem knew about Jesus and His crucifixion (see Luke 24:18 - rethorical question of Cleopas...). He heard something about Jesus: Jesus teachings and Jesus acts, miracles… However, either he could not trust in those spread news about the divine healer; either he postponed a meeting with him. So the day when he finally decided to ask his carriers to bring him to Jesus, he realized that Jesus was crucified. And after Jesus teachings and Jesus miracles, he understood something about Jesus’ sacrifice.