“Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;” (Acts 3:1-2 KJV)
Have you ever looked at a passage and seen something inside it that no one else seems to have seen? Something really neat and powerful that adds volumes to the story, but it always seems to get raced right on by? The passage quoted above is a beautiful story at a gate called Beautiful of a beautiful thing that God does for a man who needs it very badly. Yet, the story is not complete until you know what was done just before we get to this point in the story. Let us take a closer look at how this story is written by Luke. Who is going to the temple at the hour of prayer? Why Peter and John? At this point we have at least eleven apostles plus potentially a number of new Holy Spirit filled converts (see the previous chapter). We also have a whole community of equally sharing believers who meet now in the temple courts daily. Why just Peter and John going together?
Let us turn the clock back a bit. John makes an interesting observation about Judas Iscariot. He is Simon’s son (see John 6:71 KJV, John 12:4 KJV, and John 13:2 KJV, ESV). Of course there is some speculation in this as some translations use the term Simon Iscariot. Then again, last names at that time more distinguished an area the person was from rather than a family relationship. It does not surprise me that the closest disciples to Jesus were of various ages unlike modern Sunday School classes which tend to be grouped by people within ten years of your own age. It would also not surprise me that this would be a very proud moment for Peter to have the honor of both him and his son serving Jesus in His closest circle. I think we all would be excited about our children being at least as close to Jesus as we consider ourselves. It certainly explains why no one ever objects to Judas being the treasurer for the group. Yet, what a horrible wound Simon (Peter) must have felt in his heart to learn of how Judas died and why.
Do you remember how Peter got into that garden where he made the humbling mistake of denying Jesus three times in a single night? John got him in. “But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.” (John 18:16 KJV) How about when Jesus’s tomb was discovered empty. It was John who out ran Peter to see it first (see John 20:4). When Jesus returns and tells them to let down their nets on the other side of the boat, it is John who recognizes Jesus first (see John 21:7). And, of course, the most famous discord where Peter is humbled before Jesus, it is about John that he turns around and questions Jesus. “Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.” (John 21:20-22 KJV) How painful!
Do you see it yet? There may have been a very big reconciliation effort here before they even got to the gate Beautiful. I am not naive enough to think the healing could not have happened without reconciliation, but, WOW, what a release to know that you have followed Jesus in obedience first! What a beautiful thing all the way around!
“Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” (Matthew 5:24 KJV)