I t happened at the gate of the temple called Beautiful. There a man lame from birth lay begging from those who came to worship. You will find his story in the third chapter of the book of Acts.
When he thought on his situation his heart was filled with gratitude for those who carried him there each day where he could beg his living. At other times deep yearning filled his heart and he felt bitter. It was not that he didn’t appreciate what his friends did for him—without their help he would starve. But after they had done all they could, he was still a cripple.
It was the hour of prayer and two men on their way into the temple came toward him. As was his habit, he lifted his cup and called out for alms. He felt disappointment and anger when one of them said, “I have no money to give you.”
He was ready to turn his head with a curse on his lips. But there was something different about these two. They were still standing over him and the one who had spoken continued: “But I will give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” Then reaching down and taking his hand he lifted him to his feet.
You can imagine the joy that filled the beggar’s being. For the first time in his life he was able to stand and walk. Peter and John had done something far greater than merely help him keep alive. They had changed and transformed his entire life. Could this transformation be the deep need of your life and mine? We, too, are crippled beggars. And the tragedy is, in the name of Jesus Christ we could rise up and walk, but pride holds us back. We spend the days of our lives trying to fool others into believing that we are okay, that we are not in the crippled class. But it doesn’t really help, does it?
One night there came to Jesus a religious leader of the Jews named Nicodemus. He was a man who could help Jesus’ cause. Yet Jesus said to him, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” In other words if one isn’t born of God it doesn’t matter how good he is. Goodness alleviates; only the power of God can save.
How about you and me? Have we ever made a total commitment of our lives to God? That is what it means to be a Christian. And until this is true of your life and mine, we are not really Christian at all.
Remember, in our own strength we are cripples begging before the gate of the temple of life, crippled by selfishness, sin and pride. But in the name of Jesus of Nazareth we can rise up—and walk! Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.