Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. ~Acts 3:2-5
As I read the passage above this morning in my quiet time, my interest was piqued when I read that the temple gate was named “Beautiful”. I began to ask myself, “Why are we told the name of the gate? Is it important?” As I continued to read and re-read the story that unfolds here I placed myself in the place of the crippled man. It wasn’t that hard to do, after all, there are many times that I have found myself begging at the doorway of “Beautiful”. I sit longingly, reaching out, begging for “help” from those who seem to pass through the gate of Beauty so easily. The magazines, the work out tricks, the new clothes…all these “coins” are sometimes tossed my way, yet I do not gain entry…my inner temple, the dwelling place of my soul, I feel not beautiful enough to enter. For what am I really begging? What do I think beauty will bring me? The Greek word for beautiful here means “belonging”. Of course, I thought,…beauty is about belonging to a group, to another…
It is in our begging to be beautiful, to belong or gain entry through that gate of Beautiful that God hears us…He sends those people into our lives. The ones who say, “Look at us!” In essence, “Take your eyes off of everyone else…don’t compare yourself to them.” Like the crippled man, we can lose focus. He was begging for the thing he did not need. He wanted the temporary…the silver and gold. How often are we just like that? We want, we BEG, for the very thing we do not need…”I want to look beautiful, have beautiful things, hear that I are beautiful!” We think that a beautiful body, a beautiful wardrobe. We want others to tell us we are beautiful. Like the crippled man, we go to the gate of beautiful, begging, not feeling worthy to enter into the place where we can worship the Author of ALL Beauty! We have settled for EXPECTING something that can make us feel better temporarily instead of allowing ourselves access to God’s beautiful dwelling place, our hearts.
The story goes on to tell us that when the man focused on Peter and John they spoke in the name of Jesus and commanded him to WALK. The man’s feet and ankles were made STRONG, he danced and jumped INTO THE TEMPLE! Now that’s what I call Fitness for Faith! Peter and John did NOT have what the man thought he needed…gold and silver- the temporary. They DID have what he NEEDED… the power of Jesus Christ. When our focus turns to Jesus, we do not have to settle for being on the outside begging for beauty and belonging…we can be strong, moving, dancing, jumping in the very place we were meant to be…with God– dwelling withIN us!