“Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.
Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, ‘I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!’
Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.
All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon’s Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John.” Acts 3:1-11, NLT
Throughout the big story God has revealed his power through miracles. He showed his control over nature through the ten plagues in Egypt and by dividing the waters of the Red Sea. He provided food and water for his people while they wandered in the wilderness. He displayed his power through the Old Testament prophets and, most clearly, in his Son Jesus. Now that same power is with the apostles. The apostle Peter, one of Jesus’ original twelve disciples, continues the tradition of performing miracles, displaying God’s power in Christ’s name. He then boldly preaches in the Temple about Jesus’ life and death.
In Jewish society, imperfection of any kind made a person an outcast. In the Old Testament, God commanded his people to sacrifice only animals that “have no defect of any kind” (Leviticus 22:21). God also required priests to be without blemish. God’s law held other people to a high standard as well, but over the centuries Jewish culture had generalized these rules in a was that was harsh and unrealistic. A person had to be practically perfect to be part of the Jewish community. Peter’s healing was a great gift. It restored this man physically and socially.
Peter and John had been empowered by the Holy Spirit and were energized to see God working through them to spread the Good News. God’s power flowed through them so that Peter even healed a lame man in the name of Jesus Christ. This is a wonderful example of how God can do more than we can ask or imagine. The beggar was merely hoping for a coin or two to help him survive one more day. The possibility of being whole again and walking out of the Temple didn’t even enter his mind. But it happened. God can, will, and does do what we perceive as impossible.