The passage can be read here.
In the song; If I were a Rich Man from the musical; Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye who is very poor, fanaticises about being rich. He sings of how he would spend his money and then his time, before finally asking God; ‘Would it spoil some vast eternal plan, if I were a wealthy man?’
We know God has plans and that they are always good but when we pray and God does not give the answer we want; it isn’t easy. Sometimes God says no to our prayers and sometimes he says not now and we are often not sure which one is the case. In today’s passage, we read of a disabled man who was a well-known figure at one of the temple gates. It seems it was his regular spot to beg. I wonder if Jesus ever walked passed this man? The man was over forty (4:22) so it seems very likely that Jesus and the man were in the temple area at the same time. Jesus had healed many in the temple courts (Matthew 21:14). Did Jesus ever want to heal him? Had the man prayed for healing from Jesus? He would surely have heard of Jesus and the miracles he performed. If the man had prayed, his answer would have been not now but all that was about to change.
Peter and John were on their way to the temple when the man called out, asking for money. The disciples looked straight at him, making eye contact and asked the man to look at them. Peter must have had a revelation from the Holy Spirit because God was about to do something amazing.
I suppose the first thing we learn here is that God exceeds our expectations. The man was looking for money to maintain his lifestyle. God was about to change his life for the better in a way he could never have imagined. So often we settle for less because our view of God is too small.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20)
Peter showed great faith in commanding the man to get up and in reaching out to help him up. I suppose the man showed faith as well in at least trying to get up. Remember the man had been disabled from birth, he had never stood up. Luke the doctor uses two unusual words, one for feet and the other for ankle bones, found nowhere else in the New Testament to describe the healing. It was remarkable and very public.
The man’s response is really great; he went with Peter and John into the temple courts, presumably to pray, that would have been an interesting prayer time. He was leaping about and why not, he was praising God and making no secret of it either. Everyone was talking about what God had done.
It was an amazing miracle of course but physical healing, however spectacular is only temporary whereas salvation is eternal. If you are a Christian, God has done something even more amazing in your life – he has saved you. Are you praising God for all that he has done? Do those around you talk about the change that Jesus has brought into your life?
Oh, happy day, happy day,
You washed my sin away.
Oh, happy day, happy day,
I’ll never be the same.
Forever I am changed. (Happy Day – Tim Hughes and Ben Cantelon)