The story in Acts 3, tells us of the lame man carried to the Beautiful gate of the temple each day in order to beg alms from those entering the temple to pray.
Alms are charitable gifts, gifts of compassion given to the poor. The giver is showing mercy and compassion and people think he is tender hearted.
How many times had he sat there and how many times had Jesus passed him by? The Bible does not tell us that – but it does teach us that we must recognize and honour the sovereignty of God; the One who rules the universe and yet knows every secret place of all hearts.
We must also see that, even as God is Sovereign, our times are in His hands.
Psalm 31:14 -15 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, “You are my God, my times are in Your hands”
There is no escaping the reality of unpleasant circumstances at some point throughout our lives and we usually get to the place of understanding later rather than sooner, that God actually uses these for our growth and to show us our even greater need of Him alone!
Of course, Jesus would have seen him begging; He would have seen and been fully aware of his helpless condition as he sat there by the gate. 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.
The lame man was setting himself up to be filled with the Glory of God and I do not think he fully imagined what was about to happen to him!
The lame man had positioned himself to receive, but so far, he had not understood the depth of his need. Yes! He was lame and therefore had need of financial help. He was lame, not blind or deaf and surely would have been aware of the talk surrounding the miracles of Jesus.
Now that he knew Jesus had been crucified, perhaps, he felt it was too late for him to receive… Or perhaps, as he begged, he mulled the idea of the Risen Christ around in his head… Surely, he had seen and recognized Peter and John as two men who had been with Jesus...
Little did he know that by asking for a gift of charity that he would receive 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.
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. He would begin to live at the Win Gate!
Some lessons to take to heart….
- God does not 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 in our lives need to be 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, our walk is sure and steady. 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. Cultivating our heart to choose to spend time in worship and prayer and love for 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.
- Refreshment washes over our lives when we use all of our energies to walk in the ways of God. This then brings pleasure to the heart of our Father God. Even as the lame man was walking and leaping and praising God, so are we encouraged in the Word 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. The presence of joy, love, peace, trust and faithfulness to God will mark our lives so they are attractive to those who do not know Jesus.
- 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 in each of our lives. It is His intention and purposeful plan to orchestrate our comings and our goings in order to 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.
We speak the truth of the Word of God 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.
Jesus will create something of great beauty from the pile of ashes that we lay at His feet.
Have you experienced that something of great beauty? I know I have!
I welcome you to leave a comment and tell me some of your story!
Held in His Palm,