Things Are True
by Pastor Dan Coburn
“Gold and Silver Have I None”
In Acts chapter 3, Peter and John have a remarkable encounter with a lame man. This man is in his forties, and has been assisted or carried to a certain gate of the Temple, for as long as anyone there can remember. Either one or both of his legs was badly deformed from birth, and probably from the knee down.
The beggar was laid at the gate called “Beautiful”. There were nine gates that led from the “Court of the Gentiles” into the temple itself. Not all scholars agree, but the Beautiful Gate was probably the eastern gate that led into the court of women. If so, it was made of Corinthian bronze which looked like gold in the sunlight, and would have been a choice place from which to beg. No-one would want to trade places with this man, but from a monetary standpoint, he probably did all right - you see the giving of alms was an important part of the Jewish culture.
Remember, there were thousands of people around the temple (Acts 4:4), and who knows how many beggars, but the Holy spirit told Peter to go to this man. So picture it; as Peter approaches, He and the beggar regard one another, the man reaches out for alms, lots of people around, and Peter says OUT LOUD, “silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk”. What an act of faith, to say that out loud in public. In another act of faith, the man reaches up to Peter, and Immediately, his leg and ankles are restored. The man goes jumping and leaping and praising God.
Lots of people are familiar with this story. Everyone who is, talks about the miraculous healing, and says “how cool”, and it is. But for me, what the man does next is Jaw Dropping cool. He does something he has never been allowed to do for as long as he has been alive. Something virtually everyone else has done whenever they wanted. He went IN the temple. What’s the big deal?-Let’s turn the Spiritual Switch.
In his day, and in a lot of cultures now, physical malady was thought to be the direct result of sin. The Pharisees had even asked Jesus after He healed a blind man: “who sinned that this man was born blind-his parents or himself?” Jesus responded “neither, but that the Son of Man might be glorified”; and He restored his sight. For a Hindu it might be considered a sin to help a cripple, even today. After all, the man is receiving punishment for something he did in this life or the last.
Any way, imagine if you were this beggar, and for all of your life you were told you couldn’t go into the temple. You were a sinner. You were “unclean”. Now suddenly restored, what’s the first thing you do. You get up and run into the temple. Lots of people recognized him. Lots of people knew him as unclean, yet here he was.
We are all born Spiritually Crippled – Rom. 5:12-21, but through the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, we can be restored. Is this a stretch? No. In the next chapter, Peter and John are put on trial for this good deed. In the Greek, the word Peter used for “made whole” in vs 9, is the same word for “Saved” in vs 12. If Jesus Christ shall set you free, ye shall be free indeed.