GETTING THE MESSAGE/Acts 3:1-10
In this passage we see the apostles continuing the Lord Jesus Christ’s healing ministry, which affirms that Christ is the promised Messiah, and that there is salvation in his name. The apostles encounter a crippled man asking for alms as they enter the temple complex.
The details of the crippled man give us an idea of the misery he was in. Luke tells us he had been crippled from birth. In chapter 4 we learn that he is over 40 years old. Friends of this man had carried him to a strategic place where he might be successful in getting alms. The Beautiful Gate was a heavily trafficked entrance into the temple.
This would have been this man’s daily life. His life consisted of begging, repeating the same request over and over, hoping to get enough to meet his basic needs. He had no memory of taking a step. He was helpless, and would have known shame. In that day it was assumed deformity meant greater sin. So we see the misery of this man.
Diseases and deformities are analogous of our sin and misery in this world. Leprosy rendered a man “unclean,” as sin renders a man unclean before God. It was a miserable physical condition, and sin makes us miserable at heart. When healing a blind man, Jesus warned men that they were slaves to sin, and blind to it. Consider the plight of the sinner.
There is a veil over his heart as to the misery of sin. God tells the sinner that he is corrupt, and worthy of judgment. Let God say what he will, he still sins. He sees no need for a remedy. He continues day after day in a course that leads to destruction, boasts in it, and is angry if someone warns him or tries to turn him from it.
He is unlike the lame man, who was painfully aware of his misery. The sinner mocks the need of a cure. When the Lord convicts a sinner of the misery of sin, he becomes weary of his godless course, and is weighed down and humbled by his sin. He asks for alms from the Lord.
Peter tells the lame man that he has no silver or gold, but he will give him what he does have. He has the Lord Jesus Christ, so he tells the man to rise and walk in the name of Jesus. Peter then takes the man by the hand, and lifts him up. The man’s feet and ankles were made strong, and he begins to walk, and leap, and praise God.
This is a clear, immediate miracle. It is complete. There is no physical therapy, no slow process. There is nothing vague about it. A man with a congenital, incurable disability was instantly made whole by God outside the course of normal events. And it is a direct fulfilment of Isaiah 35:6.
The miracle addressed the root of the man’s problem. He needed to walk. There are many symptoms of sin that make us miserable; such as vanity, lust, covetousness, bitterness, hate, selfishness, and on and on. The Lord Jesus addresses the root of our problem. We need atonement for our sin. He takes away the guilt, making us right with God. He works a miracle on our behalf.
Christ says to us rise and walk; meaning walk with him. When we know we are forgiven, there is still sin in us, but the power of sin is broken. We now want to honor the Lord, put to death sin, and be thankful souls. We are grieved by sin, but now we have an advocate who forgives and loves us.
Imagine what it is not to have Christ as Savior. If you have not Christ, you are on your own before God. There is inevitable death. There is the power of the devil that encompasses you. There is a load of guilt you cannot pay. Your steps lead inevitably to destruction, and justly so.
It is completely the opposite for one who has Christ. God loves the work of Christ and the work of his Spirit. He sees it in you. He is a Father, who though seeing infirmities in his child, sees also the nature that he loves, and acts to have Christ formed in you. Anyone in Christ is a new creature. And the Father loves him with the love he has for his Son.
The Lord always does more than we can think or imagine. The crippled man only sought enough money to buy supper for the night. Christ stood him on his feet; put his hand in the hand of his apostle, signifying he will be one of his people. It would have been strange if this man had not praised God. But he does, and jubilantly. “Rise and walk” are blessed words. So is the heart that calls on the Lord.