The “Beautiful Gate” of the Lord’s Own Time
If we allow God to work
in His own time,
He will do far more than
we expect, both in
our life and for
A while ago a brother pointed out to me something in the Bible I had not noticed before. It is in Acts 3-4, in the story of Peter and John healing the lame man in the temple.
When the Bible first mentions this one, it says of him that
…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.
— Acts 3:3
Then, at the very end of the story, it adds this detail about him:
…the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.
— Acts 4:22
So, to summarize, he had been lame for more than 40 years, and during much of that time he had been daily in the temple, asking for alms.
Whenever the Bible gives us details such as these it is always very significant. And what the brother pointed out to me about this story surely is quite significant: this lame man had been in the temple the entire time of Jesus’ ministry, and yet he had not been healed.
We know Jesus did heal a good many people in the temple:
Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.
— Matthew 21:14
The Bible even tells us here specifically that Jesus healed “the lame.” But for some reason we don’t know, this particular lame man was passed by at that time. It may have been that, under God’s sovereign arrangement, he was not at the temple whenever Jesus came there, or perhaps he could not reach Jesus before the Savior left the temple. But for whatever reason, he was not healed by Jesus during the Savior’s earthly ministry.
And it may be, therefore, that he felt he had forever missed his chance to be healed; perhaps he felt quite discouraged, especially when he heard of so many others who had been blessed with the miracle of healing in the very temple where he sat to beg for alms. In such a circumstance he could very well have complained to God, asking, Why had he been passed by?
But then came the day when Peter and John saw him there, as he was once again asking for alms in the temple, and Peter said to him:
Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, Rise up and walk!
— Acts 3:6
And suddenly, he was made whole!:
And leaping up, he stood and began to walk and entered into the courts of the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
— Acts 3:8
The Lord had not forgotten Him after all, nor was it too late for him to be healed; it was only a matter of God working along His own lines, and in His own time.
Why? Because this healing was not for the benefit of the lame man alone; rather, God desired to use it to bring so many others to salvation, and to provide a way for the apostles to testify on behalf of the Lord’s name.
And the result was indeed marvelous. After the healing, Peter preached the gospel to the crowd that had gathered, and
…many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
— Acts 4:4
Whether or not this number includes those saved on the day of Pentecost (there are differing views about that), this was surely a great harvest for the church!
Moreover, when the two apostles were brought before the Sanhedrin to give an account of this miracle, Peter boldly declared that the lame man had been healed through the name of Jesus (4:10); and he went on to tell the religious leaders assembled there,
There is no salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men in which we must be saved!
— Acts 4:12
In fact, in the entire New Testament this is one of the miracles, along with the healing of the blind man in John 9 and the raising of Lazarus in John 11, which receives the most attention; almost two whole chapters of the book of Acts is devoted to it and its results!
In light of all this, another detail in this story seems to help us learn its lesson; namely, the Bible tells us just where the lame man was healed: it was in “the Beautiful Gate” of the temple (3:2, 10).
So, our trust in the Lord, manifested in our willingness to allow Him to work in our lives in His own way, and in His own time, can become a “Beautiful Gate” for Him to enter into our situation and do something “far, far beyond all we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). And this will be something not merely for our benefit, but even more, for the sake of His purpose.
Surely, as the “Preacher” tells us in the Old Testament,
He makes all things beautiful in their time.
— Ecclesiastes 3:11
May the Lord grant us His grace to wait for His time, trusting that all is in His hands, so that through such a “Beautiful Gate” He may work something wonderful in our lives as well.
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— 1 December 2023 —