“Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God” (Acts 3:1-8).
Why did this handicapped man sit at the temple gate? Why not in the marketplace or another busy area? Maybe he had faith in God. Or maybe he sat there because he knew people who believed in God would pass by him and out of fear of God and faith, they’d be moved to give him a donation.
People who ask for money may offer any number of stories. One man said he was a veteran of “Recon Special Forces Marine Corps.” Sounds impressive, except that Special Forces is in the Army, not the Marine Corps. A guy may tell you that his car broke down or it ran out of gas a mile away. Or maybe it is some other story that’s conveniently difficult to check. A man at the highway exit may hold a cardboard sign that says something like, “HOMELESS. PLEASE HELP. GOD BLESS.” Why put “GOD BLESS” on the sign? Does he really have faith in God, or does he think the phrase will improve his chances for a donation? Are these people legit, mentally ill, or just trying to get money for alcohol or drugs?
We don’t know and probably won’t take the time to find out. We do know that God loves them, that the Lord Jesus’ death paid for their sins, as well as ours, and that they’ll all go into eternity one day. So don’t just look on them with disdain, because “…there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11). Ever hear the saying, “There but for the grace of God go I?” If you’re saved, give him a gospel tract along with whatever you choose to give. If your church gives out food, tell him. God said that when His Word goes out, “…it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). Any effort to reach people for the gospel’s sake, no matter who they are, is never a waste of time: “…your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
The biggest miracle for the man at the gate was not that he stood up and walked. The biggest miracle was that he trusted Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour, as evidenced by the fact that he “…entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.” People were amazed to see this lame man walking. Peter told them, “And his [Jesus’] name through faith in his name hath made this man strong” (Acts 3:16). Peter explained to them that God used this miracle of healing to show them their personal need for the miracle of forgiveness of sin and salvation. “Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:26).
You may be perfectly healthy and not need a miracle of healing, but if you haven’t trusted in the Lord Jesus as your personal Saviour, you need the miracle of salvation. If you want to see in the Bible how to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, please click “Helpful Links” on the main menu and then “How Do I Go to Heaven?” on the dropdown menu.
Brian Miller 4/12/2018
Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216.671.2822