Summary: The sedate, stately ritual of the evening sacrifice was now suddenly shattered by his loud cries of joy and praise. And you can’t rightly blame them. It is God’s desire that all His children experience this joy.
“The Leaping Cripple” March 27, 2011
Sermon Series Acts: God’s Vision and Power for Shell Point
Pastor Allan Kircher
Surprise upon surprise in the early months of the church is joined by an attitude of pushing through barriers,
Exploring the new, and sailing with the fresh winds.
Anytime we open ourselves to the breath of the Spirit, we are in for surprises and are pushed to new frontiers.
Peter and his friends surely did not know much about what was happing to them.
I’m still in a state of surprise of what is happening to me!
Every day held a new adventure in their lives. They were on fire and excited for what God was doing in their lives.
Do you have a new spiritual adventure everyday, doesn’t God create and speak mysterious words upon your heart?
Now Peter and his friends surely did not know much about what was happening to them.
But two things they did understand;
All that was happening was from God; and they would sail in convoy with those new winds.
In Acts 3, the Holy Spirit selects one of the “many wonders and signs” mentioned in 2:43 as an illustration.
This astounding miracle of healing a man lame from birth gathers a curious crowd and prepares them to hear Peter’s sermon.
It also confirms that Peter and John represent God.
The gospels and Acts reveal that Peter and John were closely associated.
They were partners in a fishing business before their call as disciples.
They were also in the inner circle with Jesus along with John’s brother James.
They alone of the twelve followed Jesus to the high priest’s house after His arrest.
They were the first of the two to visit the tomb after the resurrection.
So here, and throughout the early chapter of Acts we see them traveling and ministering together.
On their way to the temple, the two apostles encountered a certain man who had been lame from his mother’s womb.
Luke tells us the beggar was over 40 years old and had been lame since birth. (Acts 4:22)
His case was hopeless; his affliction was not one the doctors of his day could cure.
Being an invalid since birth, he has never known a healthy day.
He’s never stretched out his legs and walked to the market or to a friend’s house.
In fact, his legs are just useless appendages-two perpetual reminders of the lifelessness he feels deep within his soul.
Beggars in Palestine favored three location; the houses of the rich, main highways, and the temple.
Of the three, the temple was the best site. Not only did crowds throng the temple daily, but they also came to impress God with their piety.
One way to do that was to give alms to the poor.
Further, the temple treasury was where people gave their offerings to the Lord.
They would therefore be in a frame of mind to give money when they came to the temple.
Well apparently every day his friends would carry him to one of the Temple Gates-
Luke says it was referred to in his day as "the Gate Beautiful."
This particular gate was very ornate and made of Corinthian bronze that looked like gold when polished.
According to Josephus, the Jewish historian, it was so large it took 20 men to close it.
Well, this same cripple had been sitting here in this same spot every day begging for decades.
I mean, he was a regular fixture at this entrance to the temple.
Everyone saw him every day.
Jesus Himself probably passed by this guy during His ministry in the temple area numerous times.
I imagine the disciples had to wonder why He would not heal this man as He had so many others but Jesus had His reasons for waiting-as we will see in a moment!
I mean the extent of this beggar’s physical deformity would have been obvious to everyone, so his cure was obviously genuine.
And the people who frequented the Temple would have known that there was nothing fraudulent about this miracle healing.
The sign 4-8
In Response to the beggar’s cries for alms, Peter and John fixed their gaze upon him.
Where do you think this gaze came from? The light of God was radiating through the apostles into this desolate soul.
They focused on the unhappy cripple and commanded him, “Look at us!”
According to verse 5 this man expected to receive something from Peter and John.
He did not know what he was going to get, he obviously thought it would be money, but his faith was quickened by Peter’s words.
This is very necessary to receive anything from God. You must expect something from him.
Just like this beggar who sat at that temple for 40 years, still some today only come for alms with their hands out.