Acts 3 records, “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 from those who entered the temple” (v2).
He couldn’t stand up and walk into the temple. His pitiful life up to then is a parable of the inability of people to enter fellowship with God – by entering His house – if they are blemished in any way.
The lame man’s feet were made beautiful, and it was peace that he experiencedUnder the law, a person who was lame couldn’t be a priest in God’s house, and David even barred anyone lame from entering – “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.” (2 Sam. 5:8). Intriguingly in the very next chapter, David does enter the house of God, with the ark, “leaping and whirling before the Lord” (1 Sam. 6:16). When the lame man was healed, he followed in David’s footsteps – “his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.” (Acts 3:7-8).
The healing of the lame man at the Beautiful Gate is a fulfillment, in part, of the words found in today’s reading from Isaiah 52 where the prophet says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace” (v7). The lame man’s feet were made beautiful, and it was peace that he experienced – fellowship with God now he was able to walk into the temple.
The chapter begins with the words, “Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion; Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city!” (v1). The lame man’s feet “received strength,” and he could enter the house of God, the holy place.
Then in verse 3, the prophet says, “You have sold yourselves for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.” What was it that Peter said to the lame man? “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:6) – he was redeemed without money!
All of us are born spiritually lame. We cannot, of ourselves, walk into the house of God and be at peace with Him. But when we encounter the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, just like the man at the Beautiful Gate, we can rise up and walk.
But what do we do when we are healed? The initial excitement of the man, walking and leaping and praising God, must not be a short-lived thing. We’re meant to use our new beautiful feet to bring the good news and proclaim peace. It’s no good after being made able to walk to then say, “thank you very much,” then slump down in our spiritual armchairs and do nothing. We might as well have stayed lame! Salvation in Christ should be a motivational force to encourage us to tell others what our Lord has done for us. Are we using our beautiful feet?
Simi Hills, CA