Summary: In the healing of the lame man at the Temple gate, we see a model of how Christians can work with the Spirit to touch and transform lives.
The Church at Work with the Spirit
A. A Miracle of Healing
Some weeks – maybe up to 3 months – after Pentecost, Peter and John go up to the Temple for the 3 PM prayer time, and encounter a man born lame. Apparently his feet and ankles were twisted and deformed and he couldn’t walk (feet and ankles are what were specifically mentioned as being made strong).
When they speak to him, this needy man expects to get something from them, though he got far more than he expected.
Today, we are also surrounded by people who have serious problems, many which have been with them for a long time, and they have fixed their attention on us, and on the church expecting to receive something from us.
Some people have economic problems. More than twenty-six million Americans are below the poverty level. Most who have sufficient money are not using it wisely. One sociologist estimated that one of every three young families in America today are only one paycheck away from bankruptcy. A plastic surgeon said the most successful operation he ever performed was when he cut up his credit cards!
People also have emotional problems. A noted psychiatrist from the University of Louisville claims we are entering an era of depression, an ailment 20 percent of the United States population suffers from at the present time. With the growing emotional upheaval of our day, it is not surprising to hear that every eighty-six seconds someone in our world commits suicide. That is at the clip of about 1,000 persons a day.
People also have interpersonal problems. The emotional problems, in part, come from a lack of significant others in our lives with whom we can share and from whom we can gain support. The most serious interpersonal problem of our time is loneliness. Loneliness haunts senior adults, troubles young people, and plagues most of us in between.
Some suffer from intellectual problems. More than twenty million Americans cannot read or write; that is one out of every five adults. About 40 percent of the world’s population cannot read and write. Lack of knowledge is a serious problem for many today.
People of our day are also haunted by family problems. In the United States, marriages are splitting at the rate of about one million every year. The resulting problems between parents and children and the pressures with which we are confronted make us wonder what happened to the song "There’s no place like home."
In addition, there are also physical problems. More than ten million people will starve to death this year. Our hospitals are full, and our health care industry is being pushed to its limits. In many cases, we are contributing directly to our problems. A cartoon showed an older gentleman reading a paper in which the headlines cited high cholesterol levels and potential carcinogens found in various foods. The man said to his wife, "Everything you eat, drink, breathe, or do these days is a health risk! You’re only safe just sitting in your living room doing nothing!"
At that moment, the radio blared out, "This just in. Researchers announced today that tests conducted on laboratory rats confirm that just sitting in a living room doing nothing can cause lower back pain, fallen arches . . .”
The man at the Temple needed and received physical healing. I want to focus on 3 issues involved in this healing: 1) The Authority to Heal; 2) Faith in Healing, and 3) the Timing.
1) The Authority to Heal
Peter had healed many, both before and after the resurrection of Jesus. He said, "What I have I give you."
What is it that Peter had, and where did he get it?
First of all, Peter apparently had something in his personal possession that he could use at will, parallel to money, which he didn’t have at the moment but which he could have spent as he desired. It was healing power. It’s included in Jesus’ promise that you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you (Acts 1:8). Jesus had told Peter and the others that they could expect to do the works He did, explaining that the power of the Holy Spirit they would receive was the same power by which He did His healing miracles.
Paul explains in 1 Cor 12:9 that "gifts of healings" are given by the Holy Spirit to some members of the Body of Christ in the same way that others have spiritual gifts of teaching or administration or helps or prophecy. Peter probably had the gift of healings, as demonstrated in Acts.
But for a healing such as this lame man, a gift of healing is not always needed. For example, all Christians have a role of witnessing for Jesus, even if they do not have the gift of evangelist.