It amazes me how the little details tell us big things. Solomon says that there’s a time for everything under heaven including its opposite (E.g., Birth-Death, Plant-Harvest, War-Peace). In this chapter we see that it was the time for prayer which Peter and John practiced. Through this practice, God had an appointed time for something the apostles did not anticipate—a miracle which made the lame man walk (vv.1-10) and an opportunity to explain what this sign pointed to: The Resurrected Jesus! .
Much can be said concerning this section but one thing that strikes me at the Beautiful Gate is something so ugly—a lame person. Brokenness, not beauty, twisted-ness not wholeness obtained. The irony is that a time for healing this ugliness at the Beautiful Gate was about to be occur for one who had accepted his ugly plight since birth.
This man was merely asking for aid to eat in order to subsist, but God had other plans for him—to have the ability to walk uprightly, to ambulate as he pleased. Rather than moving about with his hands, he would now (as originally designed by God) use his feet to accomplish his travels. This healing is a manifestation of God’s beauty where what is ugly (“lameness” not moving according to God’s design) is turned into something beautiful (“wholeness” progressing according to God’s purposes).
Peter and John gave this man what they had—God’s power to heal. Now, this new found ability to walk allowed the healed man to express praise and honor to God by leaping and walking. This beggar’s life was forever changed and it aroused the people’s amazement such that Peter speaks up and delivers his third sermon.
The content of the his sermon is salvation history and Peter demonstrates that Jesus of Nazareth is not a “new” message with zero basis, but actually his life, death, and resurrection had been long ago prophesied. Consider the following observations:
First, he connects Jesus to the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as the fulfillment of God’s promise to the covenant people (v.13). Second, he recounts the crucifixion and again accentuates the historicity of these events in space and time. Note that the people could have protested to Peter’s accusations of their guilt but these events were common knowledge in all of Jerusalem. That is, Christ’s ministry and death were a public reality, not a fabrication.
Third, he points out that it’s because of Christ’s name and not the apostle’s power that this miracle occurred for the lame man. He was granted “perfect health” for all to see. Again, these events are publicly displayed, not secretly performed behind closed doors.
Fourth, he preaches Christ and the resurrection to which the only proper response is repentance from sin. Sins can’t be wiped away by any other means and this Jesus is a gift from God to the Jew first and then to the Gentile world.
Fifth, he points out more fulfilled prophecy which Moses foretold concerning God raising up another prophet like himself to which the people must hear and obey. Disobedience to this prophet equals destruction for the guilty and it’s through Abraham’s seed that all this has occurred.
This lame man represents those who have not been touched in their soul by the resurrected Christ–they are spiritually lame, ugly, and hopeless because of sin. Jesus of Nazareth came to set that right but as the lame man needed another to intervene in his life, so those around us need similar help. What will we do, what are we doing?