“Moving Beyond Beautiful”
Scripture: Acts 3:1-10
The apostolic miracles in the New Testament were signs that pointed to realities beyond themselves. When we read about these miracles, we should discern what they reveal and teach us. Peter and John’s miracle at the Beautiful Gate show us this truth: Jesus restores our deepest need for fellowship with God.
The lame beggar sat at the Beautiful Gate in order to ask alms of those entering the temple. He did this in the hopes of receiving either a coin for his wallet or bread for his stomach. But he didn’t know his deepest need. He was more severely crippled than any physical disability could render him. He was spiritually blind and in need of saving. This is why he only asked for and expected silver and gold. We can see ourselves in the crippled man when we look at the content of our prayers and what we’re asking God for. What we pray for most often and most fervently reveals what we believe we need most in our lives. The reformer Martin Luther stated in the first of his ninety-five theses that all of life is repentance. He recognized that the grace and mercy of God were the things he needed most in his life and therefore he centered his prayers around repentance. We should learn this lesson too. All the other things we ask God for are important to him because he is a father who cares for us. But they are always secondary to our utter and deepest need for Jesus.
When Peter tells the beggar that he does not have silver or gold to give him, he is not lowering the man’s expectations because what Peter gives him is far better. He gives him Jesus. In the gospel we have the gift of Christ. Giving and receiving the comforts of Christ and the peace of the cross is not the second best thing to give and receive, they are the sole best thing. In this particular miracle, the physical healing is a good gift but the better gift is spiritual restoration in Jesus’ name. As a result of the healing, the lame man can now enter the temple. Before he only sat at its gate, excluded from worship, prayer and the presence of God. But with healed legs, the first thing he does is enter the temple and praise God. This gift proved far better than any material thing Peter could have given him. Those who receive Christ can enter the temple and go into the Most Holy Place because Christ has torn the veil through the cross. As a result, we have restored fellowship with God which we get to enjoy. Spiritually restored lives should be characterized by thanksgiving and praise to God.
Group Discussion Questions
- Share something you found either interesting, memorable, convicting, confusing or challenging about the passage/sermon.
- What would you say are the things you pray most about? What are the things you most expect from God? And what do these things reveal you believe are most important in your life?
- On a scale of one to ten (one = only sharing Jesus when you have nothing else to say and ten = responding with Jesus to anything and everything) how do counsel and dialogue with others who are seeking out your help? Can you describe a time when somebody shared Christ with you as the solution, the comfort, and the encouragement you needed? How did they do it?
- Right now in your life are you sitting at the Beautiful Gate or have you moved beyond Beautiful? Are you truly enjoying fellowship with God? Share some of the best ways/practices that you enjoy fellowship with God.