The amazing story where Peter heals a lame beggar is well known but it shows the power of our Lord.
A short time after the descent of the Holy Spirit, and immediately after a season of earnest prayer, Peter and John, going up to the temple to worship, saw at the gate Beautiful a cripple, forty years of age, whose life, from his birth, had been one of pain and infirmity.
This unfortunate man had long desired to see Jesus, that he might be healed; but he was almost helpless, and was far removed from the scene of the great Physician’s labours. His pleadings at last induced some friends to bear him to the gate of the temple, but upon arriving there, he found that the One upon whom his hopes were centred, had been put to a cruel death.
His disappointment excited the sympathy of those who knew for how long he had eagerly hoped to be healed by Jesus, and daily they brought him to the temple so that passers-by might be induced by pity to give him a trifle to relieve his wants.
As Peter and John passed, he asked an alms from them. The disciples regarded him compassionately, and Peter said,
“Look at us.”
And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said
“Silver and gold have me none.”
As Peter thus declared his poverty, the countenance of the cripple fell; but it grew bright with hope as the apostle continued. But such as I have to give I thee:
At the Beautiful Gate Peter Heals A Lame Beggar
In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
And he took him by the right hand and lifted him: and immediately his feet and ankle-bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: and they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened.
And Peter heals a lame beggar, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering. They were astonished that the disciples could perform miracles similar to those performed by Jesus. Yet here was this man, for forty years a helpless cripple, now rejoicing in the full use of his limbs, free from pain, and happy in believing in Jesus.
When the disciples saw the amazement of the people, Peter asked,
“Why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man walk?”
He assured them that the cure had been wrought in the name and through the merits of Jesus of Nazareth, whom God had raised from the dead. His name through faith in His name, the apostle declared, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
The apostles spoke plainly of the great sin of the Jews in rejecting and putting to death the Prince of life, but they were careful not to drive their hearers to despair.
“Ye denied the Holy One and the Just,”
“and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.”
“And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shown by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled.”
He declared that the Holy Spirit was calling upon them to repent and be converted, and assured them that there was no hope of salvation except through the mercy of the One whom they had crucified. Only through faith in Him could their sins be forgiven.
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted,”
“that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”
“Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”
Thus the disciples preached the resurrection of Christ. Many among those who listened were waiting for this testimony, and when they heard it they believed. It brought to their minds the words that Christ had spoken, and they took their stand in the ranks of those who accepted the gospel. The seed that the Saviour had sown sprang up and bore fruit.
While the disciples were speaking to the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
After Christ’s resurrection, the priests had spread far and near the lying report that His body had been stolen by the disciples while the Roman guard slept. It is not surprising that they were displeased when they hear Peter and John preaching the resurrection of the One they had murdered.
The Sadducees especially were greatly aroused. They felt that their most cherished doctrine was in danger and their reputation at stake.
Converts to the new faith were rapidly increasing, and both Pharisees and Sadducees agreed that if these new teachers were suffered to go unchecked, their own influence would be in greater danger than when Jesus was upon the earth. Accordingly, the captain of the temple, with the help of several Sadducees, arrested Peter and John, and put them in prison, as it was too late that day for them to be examined.
The enemies of the disciples could not but be convinced that Christ had risen from the dead. The evidence was too clear to be doubted. Nevertheless, they hardened their hearts, refusing to repent of the terrible deed they had committed to putting Jesus to death. Abundant evidence that the apostles were speaking and acting under divine inspiration had been given the Jewish rulers, but they firmly resisted the message of truth.
Christ had not come in the manner that they expected, and though at times they had been convinced that He was the Son of God, yet they had stifled conviction and crucified Him. In mercy, God gave them still further evidence, and now another opportunity was granted them to turn to Him.
He sent the disciples to tell them that they had killed the Prince of life, and in this terrible charge, He gave them another call to repentance. But feeling secure in their own righteousness, the Jewish teachers refused to admit that the men charging them with crucifying Christ were speaking by the direction of the Holy Spirit.
Having committed themselves to a course of opposition to Christ, every act of resistance became to the priests an additional incentive to pursue the same course. Their obstinacy became more and more determined. It was not that they could not yield; they could, but would not.
It was not alone, after all, they were guilty and deserving of death, not alone because they had put to death the Son of God, that they were cut off from salvation; it was because they armed themselves with opposition to God.
They persistently rejected light and stifled the convictions of the Spirit. The influence that controls the children of disobedience worked in them, leading them to abuse the men through whom God was working.
The malignity of their rebellion was intensified by each successive act of resistance against God and the message He had given His servants to declare. Every day, in their refusal to repent, the Jewish leaders took up their rebellion afresh, preparing to reap that which they had sown.
The wrath of God is not declared against unrepentant sinners merely because of the sins they have committed, but because, when called to repent, they choose to continue in resistance, repeating the sins of the past in defiance of the light given them.
If the Jewish leaders had submitted to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, they would have been pardoned; but they were determined not to yield. In the same way, the sinner, by continued resistance, places himself where the Holy Spirit cannot influence him.
On the day following the healing of the cripple, Annas and Caiaphas, with the other dignitaries of the temple, met together for the trial, and the prisoners were brought before them. In that very room and before some of those very men, Peter had shamefully denied his Lord. This came distinctly to his mind as he appeared for his own trial. He now had an opportunity of redeeming his cowardice.
Those present who remembered the part that Peter had acted at the trial of his Master, flattered themselves that he could now be intimidated by the threat of imprisonment and death. But the Peter who denied Christ in the hour of His greatest need was impulsive and self-confident, differing widely from the Peter who was brought before the Sanhedrin for examination.
Since his fall he had been converted. He was no longer proud and boastful, but modest and self-distrustful. He was filled with the Holy Spirit, and by the help of this power, he was resolved to remove the stain of his apostasy by honouring the name he had once disowned.
Hitherto the priests had avoided mentioning the crucifixion or the resurrection of Jesus. But now, in fulfilment of their purpose, they were forced to inquire of the accused how the cure of the impotent man had been accomplished.
“By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?”
With holy boldness and in the power of the Spirit Peter fearlessly declared:
“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is their salvation in any other: for there is none another name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
This courageous defence appalled the Jewish leaders. They had supposed that the disciples would be overcome with fear and confusion when brought before the Sanhedrin.
But, instead, these witnesses spoke as Christ had spoken, with a convincing power that silenced their adversaries. There was no trace of fear in Peter’s voice as he declared of Christ,
“This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.”
Peter here used a figure of speech familiar to the priests. The prophets had spoken of the rejected stone; and Christ Himself, speaking on one occasion to the priests and elders, said:
“Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore, say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever, it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” Matthew 21:42, Matthew 21:43, Matthew 21:44.
As the priests listened to the apostles’ fearless words,
“they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”
Of the disciples, after the transfiguration of Christ, it is written that at the close of that wonderful scene they saw no man, save Jesus only. Matthew 17:8. Jesus only—in these words has contained the secret of the life and power that marked the history of the early church. When the disciples first heard the words of Christ, they felt their need of Him.
They sought, they found, they followed Him. They were with Him in the temple, at the table, on the mountainside, in the field. They were as pupils with a teacher, daily receiving from Him lessons of eternal truth.