He was growing weary of this unchanging routine day after day. Sure, he was thankful for his buddies who were willing to carry his lame body day after day to the Beautiful Gate, but life didn’t feel very beautiful there. And yet it was no ordinary gate for Ezekiel 43:1-4 speaks of how the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate facing toward the east, the Beautiful Gate.
He felt forgotten about, lonely and largely ignored by those who passed by. Feeling ignored and lonely were feelings he had hardened himself to as one day turned into a month that turned into years and here he was. Still spending his days begging alms and praying.
“Alms are noted as being compassionate, charitable gifts as exercised toward the poor. The tender heart of the giver is showing mercy and compassion to the poor.” They really hadn’t helped him that much as he thought about the depth of his need, the never changing hunger, the ever growing desire for something more, something beyond his reach.
He had to admit his praying had created a hunger inside him for more than just food and money. He wanted so much more but couldn’t quite put a finger on his need and what would meet it.
He had been sitting lame in the same place for so long that most of the people he recognized. He was familiar too with the sights and sounds and the general air about him. This place had been buzzing lately with all the talk about Jesus and he had lost count of the number of times Jesus had walked right past him, the dust from His shoes stinging his eyes.
Of course Jesus would have seen him begging, but why wouldn’t He have stopped and given him a little something? From what he had heard about Jesus, he was pretty sure Jesus would have been fully aware of his helpless condition as he sat there by the gate.
And now, now it was too late. There had been a hearing of some sort. He’d heard that Jesus had been beaten pretty badly and then brought before the High Priest. The High Priest had literally washed his hands of the whole affair and asked the crowd to make a decision. The crowd had demanded Jesus be crucified and they’d gone and nailed him to a cross at Golgotha.
Mindlessly watching the people as they passed him by, he remembered something else. He had heard talk of a resurrection, how Jesus had actually risen from the grave. The atmosphere around this place had changed lately too, it was charged with excitement and two guys who had been with Jesus for those three years were praying for all sorts of folks around him and people were being healed of diseases and maybe, just maybe it wasn’t too late for him after all.
He knew he had positioned himself to receive. He was in a good spot, visible and in peoples’ faces as it were. Its just that these days he felt so needy, so desperate for something that he didn’t even have the ability to name. It was a need for sure, a deep, deep need.
He’d been lame since forever and his financial need was always in his face, begging was all he knew to do. All he felt he could do. His ears and his eyes worked just fine though and he had been hearing stories of the miracles Jesus had done and his heart sank a little at the thought. Jesus had died and he wasn’t really sure if the talk of His resurrection was just that. Talk and that meant he was out of luck.
But, maybe it was about to change as he recognized Peter and John as they came into view. He knew who they were, their reputation preceded them…and maybe…he would ask them for a gift.
Little did he know that by asking for a gift of charity the response would be an even greater gift given in the fullness of love. The Spirit of the One who is tender hearted and compassionate toward all of His creation now dwelt within Peter and John. He could tell there was something different about these men by the fire blazing in their eyes, the passionate way they prayed and spoke about the Beloved.
He felt like he was being set up yet he couldn’t move from this place he had sat for so many years. This place in the dirt seemed almost to be holding space for him for this very day.
He recognized Peter and John and tremulously asked for a gift of silver or gold and was completely unprepared for what came next…and yet it seemed the most natural experience he had ever encountered.
Mercy and compassion compelled Peter and John into action for the glorious Spirit of God knew that this was the lame man’s hour. No longer would he sit outside the entrance to the Holy of Holies.
Silver and gold have I none, but in the name of Jesus Christ, take up your mat and rise. Walk as a new man in Christ Jesus.
A miracle in a moment! His heart received the promise of eternal life as he said yes to believing in Jesus. The Spirit of God hovered over him, infusing strength as a burning sensation raced through his legs, his whole body alive in the power of the Spirit. The glory of the Lord came into him, filling him, surge after surge of blessing overtaking him as his lips voiced his praise and thanks to Jesus.
Some lessons to take to heart….
God doesn’t want any of His children to be spiritually lame. How honest we are regarding our spiritual state will determine how much we move forward with God. What things do we need to put aside and what are some of our areas of need? Admitting these things will take us into a place of greater intimacy with God – past the outer gates and into the Holy of Holies.
We apply God’s Word in our lives at whatever cost to our flesh. The lame man did not resist the spoken word, the choice was to trust and as we trust we are strengthened in our walk. To walk is to move from one stage to the next having our roots go down deep in the soil of the Word of God. Choosing to spend time in worship and prayer and being devoted to the Word and study of the Word causes growth in our walk with God.
We do not continue clinging to other believers, rather as faith is imparted to us our trust and confidence in God grows. We no longer sit passively. We sit expectantly and with anticipation with a readiness to receive. We wait for the Presence of God to fall on us and when we wait our patience is rewarded.
The Spirit of God reveals to us areas in our hearts where we are in need of repentance. His desire is that we experience a turning from them cleansed by the Blood of Jesus. Repentance always brings to our hearts and souls a keen sense of refreshment.
Times of refreshing come when we use all of our energies to walk in such a way so that our lives are pleasing to God. Even as the lame man was walking and leaping and praising God, so are we to have undivided hearts; loving God with all of our strength, soul, heart and being. As we rise up and walk in the power of God we find ourselves walking farther and farther away from the things of the world, from those things that our old lives were marked with.
The very Presence of Jesus in our lives ushers us into a life lived in the Holy of Holies.
Many times as Jesus entered the temple, He would have passed the lame man by.
There are, in each of our lives, circumstances that cause spiritual lameness. He knows our hearts, our times are in His hands and He is intimately involved with us because of His love for us. He wants to pour the fullness of Himself into us and in His patience and tenderness He waits for us. He knows what causes our lameness, He knows what those deep, hidden and specific areas are and He will and does orchestrate our comings and our goings in order to fully meet us in those places of need. Do you believe that? Have you met Him, face to face, heart to heart?
No longer do we sit at the outer gate; for the Presence of God, the glory of the Lord has rested upon us and we rise in newness of life, shining with the light and glory of God for all those in our world to see!
With the Spirit of God upon us and the anointing of the Lord within us, we go forward, sharing the good news of the Gospel with those who are afflicted. We know Him as the Balm of Gilead, the Salve that brings healing and restoration to the broken hearted and downtrodden.
The truth of the Word of God is spoken from our lips and the power in the Word of God sets people free from the many things that have held them captive and in bondage.
As we live our lives pressing toward the goal of knowing Jesus more and more, we become radiant lights in the midst of an ungodly society. Our presence, because of the Spirit of God, unfettered within our lives, brings comfort, blessing and healing to others and won by one we will come to Him bringing our pile of ashes to receive a garland of grace, the oil of joy for mourning.
A life of great beauty will be recreated from the pile of ashes laid at the feet of our Lord Jesus.
Linking up here Monday: She Lives Free
Wednesday: Women With Intention Wednedsays