So I’ve been living in Acts 3 all this week for Sunday’s sermon. It’s one of my favorite stories in the entire book. mainly because it’s written on so many levels. It’s a story about years of suffering, and sudden joy. It’s about loss and restoration. But it’s really about a person.
And that’s one of the main points of the whole story.
See, there’s a beggar, he’s lame, and begging is his only income. He’s not allowed in the Temple, but he can be outside of it. And that’s where this story picks up. He’s outside the Temple at rush hour, just hoping to get enough to live off for a few days, but instead…
The Disciples don’t give a handout, instead they tell the man that they don’t have Silver and Gold, but they’ve got something better. Life. And with a word, that’s exactly what they give him.
The man stands up and starts walking for the first time ever. And he goes into the Temple, probably for the first time in his life.
But Luke’s writing this story in a certain way. In John’s Gospel, Jesus is the Light of the World, and in John’s Gospel, one of the central stories in John is Jesus healing a blind man. Luke and Acts is about Jesus the Way (or the Road), and so here, somebody needs to walk.
But think about that for a second, part of the point is that Jesus restores us to be able to join Him.
One scholar, named Dennis Hamm, made a point recently that I really liked. He noticed that when Peter said, “Silver and Gold we don’t have” that actually is a loaded phrase. There are several times in the Hebrew Scriptures that the phrase “Silver and Gold” is directly tied into Israel’s idolatry. And part of Hamm’s point is that this isn’t just a story about a lame man. There’s a reason that Luke tells this.
Because what God is doing for the lame man he’s actually trying to do for all of His people.
They had lost the vision for what they were originally called to be, they had lost their step and Jesus was giving it back to them.
And that’s what makes this story so great. They walk with this guy back into the Temple. Peter actually talks about it as a sign of God’s restoring all things, and that’s exactly what was going on. God was restoring this man to who he was created to be.
But that was a sign for what He wanted to do for Israel.
But what He wanted to do for Israel was a sign for what He wanted to do for the entire world.
This last weekend, one of my new favorite people, a lady named Dana, told her testimony in church. She was talking about how her husband chose to divorce her, against her will. And so in front of thousands of people she was sharing her pain.
At one point, Dana said, “I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason, but I do believe that God brings reason to everything that happens.”
I’ll never forget that.
Here’s a lady who’s life has really taken a left turn, and she had a lot of options on how to respond to that pain. But she has chosen to share it with others, and in return she’s given people hope.
Part of me wonders about that lame man. In hindsight, I wonder if it was worth it? He didn’t walk for decades, he was dependent on others for food and shelter, he went through life seen as a second class citizen. And then one day, God gave it all back.
But think about this guy for a second. He didn’t know that for thousands of years just how much he would be talked about. He didn’t know that theologians and preachers would spill over his simple story for the rest of history. That Jesus followers for generations to come would find hope in what God did for him.
His loss became his greatest victory.
His pain gave others hope.
Because he could eventually join the journey, others thought they might too.
So Rise and Walk, because Jesus is the Way.