I’m startled awake at the sound of a rooster crowing at the farm across the road. As the sun begins to rise, I drag myself off the dusty, useless cot and position my limp, dainty legs in my makeshift chariot. It’s nothing more than some blankets tied together, but one can dream can’t he? I’ve been limp since birth from what I’ve been told. Nowadays, I make a living down at the temple, and this “chariot” of mine serves its purpose quite well. You see, I have convinced four of my friends to carry me to the temple to work, in hopes of “helping” those pious people remain pious.
In the begging world, the Beautiful Gate has got to be the best of the best regarding locations. Sure, the paths out the city itself are decent with traders coming and going, but those who come to the temple to pray have a reason to give. The wealthiest religious folk come through this gate, and part of their duties in their faith is to give to the poor and needy… and who can resist someone like me?
Today started out like any other day at the temple. The early risers came in and out in a hurry with a few providing alms. Others came around mid-day, and my wailing must have frightened them because I hardly received any alms. Finally, the afternoon group came through. Again my alms requests fell on mostly deaf ears until two men completely caught me off guard.
“Look at us.” They said together.
I was taken aback. Startled, and in disbelief that not one, but two people were talking to me, I stuck out a quivering hand expecting to receive an above-average donation.
One of them says, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
I’ve heard plenty of jabs in my time but this one takes the cake. My hand drops, I clear my throat to wail, and I glance around at the others walking by us to at least make up for some lost time. Well, he wouldn’t leave well-enough alone and even had the nerve to grab my hand and pull me up like he meant what he said.
The strangest thing happened next… I felt an odd sensation pulse through my legs. I looked down at my all-too-familiar dainty legs only to see that they were twice the size! They weren’t muscular like those statues in the courtyard, but I couldn’t believe my eyes. What was going on? What is this sensation in my legs and… are those my toes? I can move them and bend them? Wait a minute.
Then, it hit me.
I was standing.
I was standing there, in the temple grounds, face to face with Peter with my arms outstretched to his shoulders. I smiled, and I couldn’t keep myself contained. I started jumping around, dancing and waving my hands in the air, shouting praises to God. Clearly Peter was speaking the truth. I was so happy and for the first time I can ever remember, I had sensation in my legs!
Many people in this world are starving for it, but don’t often realize it or know what to call it. As you know, our hope rests in the promises of God through the power in Jesus’ name. This past weekend Pastor Mike taught in Acts 3, about the lame beggar and Peter’s sermon in Solomon’s Portico. It’s it ironic that being so close to the death and resurrection of Christ the people still hadn’t learned from their mistakes (not that we don’t struggle with this).
The people got stuck on wanting to earn their salvation. I can imagine some of these people probably heard Jesus speak directly so they almost don’t have an excuse to continue in this lifestyle. They still hadn’t figured out their pious traditions would get them nowhere. According to the text, they even thought Peter himself had healed the lame beggar and were filled with wonder because they saw him jumping and dancing around the temple. Peter quickly admonished them with a verbal slap in the face, and in verse 16 told them how this man was healed:
Acts 3:16 - And his (Jesus) name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all
Friends, we must remember that our hope stems directly from our faith in Jesus Christ. Without faith in the name of Jesus Christ, like the world, we too would be drifting in total darkness, confused and starving for something more. Drifting in darkness and confusion and being fully separated from God should absolutely scare everyone. This should push us all the more to share the gospel with others.
We have been put in the places we occupy, whether work, school, or at home, to share the name of Jesus Christ with those around us. There are most certainly unbelievers around us, waiting for someone to share hope with them. Pray for an unbeliever in your life, for a soft heart to the gospel, and begin pursuing them as God allows. Share with them your testimony of how God has brought you out of darkness and into the light.