The Miracle

“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)

So, a couple obvious questions.  First, why Peter and John?  Apparently, only Peter and John.  Second, why the ninth hour (about 3 pm)?  Many chapters in the Bible start off with little mysteries that end up adding volumes to the chapter’s meaning.  In the last chapter, we learned that about 3,000 souls had been added to them (Acts 2:41).  We also know that in the first chapter, they seemed to be together in one accord (Acts 1:14).  So, why call out an occasion when it’s just Peter and John together and they are arriving at the temple (where the others were meeting) at an odd hour?  Not an hour that people would normally just be getting there.

Let’s step a little further back.  John 18.  When Peter made that fateful mistake of denying Jesus 3 times before the rooster crowed, it was in the temple garden.  How did he get in that garden?  This wasn’t a public park.  John got him in (see John 18:16).  When Mary and the women report that Jesus’s body is gone, Peter and John run to see for themselves.  John out runs Peter and gets first glance (see John 20:4).  When Jesus is on the shore and the disciples have not caught anything and Jesus tells them to try the other side of the boat, John is the one who is first to figure out that it’s Jesus (see John 21:7).  When they make it to shore and speak with Jesus directly, Peter is humbled by a question repeated 3 times.  Peter follows this questioning, when he learns how he will eventually die, by directly pointing out John and effectively asking, “what about him”?  Jesus tells Peter effectively not to worry about John (see John 21:20-22).

Now, I understand that “things” can come up between spiritual brothers as time and events go along.  Some things may not seem very big and other things a bit bigger.  Yet, how many insignificant things can be fodder for a widening gap between people who really ought to be united?  How many little situations here or there turn out to be a reason to find a different (or at least a separate) path?  Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 not only the significance of love, but that love has such a significance that no matter what else we may accomplish or how many other things we may accomplish that if it is without love; it is futile!  The importance of being reconciled with a spiritual brother is so very important.  Even if you think it is water under the bridge a long time ago.  Even if you make that reconciliation effort to simply be honest with those around you to show in good faith, that all has been processed and things are now well.  If we are to go forth in the power of God’s Spirit (which was just unleashed in the last chapter); that power is most effective if it is done so in love and a genuine unity.  Then God’s power goes forth with wonder and awe.

Which brings us back to verse 2.  Here is a lame man.  A man lame from birth.  Just like discord makes us spiritually lame.  God gives them an opportunity to publicly do something about this lameness in the name of Jesus just like Peter and John just had a chance to leave their gift at the altar, go and reconcile, and return in unity (see Matthew 5:24).  They call this gate “beautiful”.  God just made it even more “beautiful”.

“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)

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