When was the last time you felt broken. I don’t mean having a bad day like a good ole country song. I mean completely broken down. You literally are unable to move without the help of another. Physically, your arms and legs simply cannot move. Your emotional capacity has been sitting on empty for months. Your heart has ached for so long and you have cried so hard that there are no more tears left to express the misery. Your head has been spinning, and you can find no tangible, logical reason for hope. You are desolate. You are numb. Your eyes are beyond tired and only able to stay open for an hour or two at a time. You are completely exhausted and spent. You are on the floor begging God to take you now. You are tired of living. Have you ever been there? Are you there today?
Peter and John came across a man in the book of Acts. We don’t even get to know his name except for the word that describes him…”lame.” That’s nice. Scholars tell us that this man was over 40 years old. How would you like the narrative of your life to be described today as a 40 year old “lame” man. It’s not his fault. He was born this way, and he is living this broken reality every day.
I thought about this for a while. Who wants to be lame? Either figuratively or literally like this man was. I mean, most of us avoid lame. We are embarrassed by lame. We want to block out lame. We surely don’t want to stop, acknowledge and talk to lame. But God does. He doesn’t see lame. He sees beauty. He sees purpose beyond what you and I can see.
The lame man looks at Peter and John and he asks them for money. He needs help. He is without. Before their paths crossed in that exact conversation, the Bible tells us that this man was brought in by others to sit near a gate called “Beautiful” every day. Perhaps it was his family or friends bringing him there. One way or another he was carried in and set down to beg for money. He was in such a desperate place that he couldn’t get there on his own. He was completely reliant upon others. It’s a humbling and vulnerable place to be when you are completely dependent upon others.
He needed to be placed at the Beautiful Gate, the gate where people go in each and every day to pray and worship the God of the universe. You have to see the irony here. Day after day the “lame” man is sitting at the beautiful gate as others pass him by to go in to pray and worship our Heavenly Father. Day. After. Day. He was sitting on the outside looking in, unclean, broken, and needing a miracle.
But today something is different. Why? We may never know. But today it’s different because Peter and John stopped, and they looked at him intently. They didn’t stop to pray for him. They didn't bring him food. They just looked at him…intently. And their looks were exactly what the lame man needed that day. Let me ask you, “What are you needing today? Who are you needing to look at you intently?”
To look intently means to stare at, to gaze upon and to look fixedly upon. It’s more than a glance. It's an intentional, dedicated time, to focus on another. It’s the exact opposite of what normally happens to a lame beggar in front of the beautiful gate at this place of worship. Stopping and looking intently into the depth of another person’s heart and soul bestows value. They stopped and looked into this man’s eyes and they said something.
Peter said, “Look at us.” The lame man looks at them eagerly expecting to get what he was asking for…a few coins. Remember, Peter and John are fisherman, not rich men. They are fishing partners. Their clothing isn’t the latest fashion and it probably doesn’t smell zestfully clean. Their clothes, more than likely, smell like fish and bait-death. Peter isn’t a man of earthly means. However, he is a changed man with access to Kingdom resources. “I don’t have any silver or gold for you,” he says. “But I will give you what I have, in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazerene, get up and walk!” The Bible tells us:
8" He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.
9 All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. 10 When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! 11 They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon’s Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John.” (Acts 3:8-11)
The crowd was absolutely astounded. I love that phrase. I did some research on the word “astounded” or “amazed.” How long has it been since you were amazed? I mean really amazed. When was the last time God did something in your life that you didn’t expect? "The result of the unexpected.” That’s the literal and biblical definition of the word amazed. It’s found all through scripture:
When Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt desperately seeking food and unknowingly to them, Joseph sat them down according to their birth order. They were amazed. They didn’t know it was their brother that they sold into slavery (Genesis 43:33)
Moses was intently viewing the bush that wasn’t burning up. He was amazed. (Exodus 3)
Saul’s response to David when David had the chance to kill him in the cave. Saul was amazed. (1 Samuel 24:18)
The response of Nebuchadnezzar when he saw Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego in the flames and not burning up. He was amazed. (Daniel 3:24)
The reaction of the disciples when Peter was knocking on the door miraculously being let out of prison. The disciples were amazed. (Acts 12:16)
The crowds were amazed by Jesus and His teachings. They said, “Who is this man that He can teach like this?” (Matthew)
Jesus makes the lame to walk, the blind to see, He calms the sea, gives speech to those who cannot speak, and He sets the captives free. All who witness His work are amazed.
Something beautiful has happened at the Beautiful Gate. Someone who was completely broken is made whole. Something unexpected has changed the lives of all of those who have come in contact with Peter and John that day.
12 "Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? 13 For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release him. 14 You rejected this holy, righteous one and instead demanded the release of a murderer. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!
16 “Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes.” (Acts 3:12-16)
This man’s healing set the stage for Peter to declare a very important truth. We are all finite. We have no real power. Jesus is supernatural. He has all transforming power.
You may be in a place today, literally exhausted, from trying to do life on your own, with your limited power. Consider these thoughts and perhaps a different perspective.
- Our brokenness may be the soil of future life transformation in God’s Kingdom. This man was crippled from birth. He didn’t ask for it, most likely didn’t want it, but had to live with it. Little did he know that some 40 years later, his brokenness and life circumstances would be used to transform a nation. Where do you feel broken today?
- It’s never too late for a miracle. This man was waiting over 40 years for something different. Perhaps he had given up hope and accepted the circumstances of his life. Perhaps you have also. Even when it doesn’t make any sense and seems impossible, God uses the improbable and births forth a miracle. Be bold. Ask God for a miracle in your life.
- Sometimes we need to experience a healing in our hearts before we can go out and be a healing presence to others. We all need reminders, sometimes, not to allow the wounds of our past to turn us into bitter, hard-hearted people. This IS a choice even though it doesn’t feel like it at times. God gives us the power to overcome and stay tender-hearted and trusting. We have to be open and willing to believe in someone more powerful then ourselves.
There is power in the name of Jesus. For the first time in his life, this man could really praise God in the place of praise, God’s house. His life wasn’t transformed by money, power, or religion. It was transformed by the living, supernatural, life-giving man, Jesus Christ. By faith, he was healed. What’s your faith placed in today?
Ask God to heal what is broken in you. Ask him to bring to life what has grown cold and hard in your heart. You never know who will be changed because of your brokenness. Some of God’s greatest work is birthed in pain.
My dream is to help you live out your calling and thrive. I believe that your best days are before you…not behind you. We all need a little coaching, encouragement, wisdom, and help from time to time. We can’t accomplish our goals in isolation or always on our own. We need each other. Remember, you are not alone. It’s time to thrive. Let’s do it together. Click here to set up a Discovery Coaching call.