“When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” (Acts 3:9-10)
His story is the story of every Christian who has received from the Lord free and abundant life.
He was crippled from birth, unable to help himself in any way. He had to be carried daily to the temple, where he depended on the mercy of others for his daily bread.
He had no merit or worthiness in him. He did not even ask to be healed. But Jesus came to him through the witness of two men, and in a single day his life was changed forever. His legs – that had never walked a step throughout his life – bore him instantly up with a strength that came not from himself, but from God.
Like this poor, crippled beggar, all of us were born spiritually lame and weak under the curse of sin. We could not believe through our own power, being unable to take even a single step toward our Savior and the life He could offer. If left to our own devices, we would have gone nowhere.
But God came to us, through the preaching of His Word by faithful men and women in our lives. Through this Word and by our Baptism, our souls were filled with a strength that came from beyond ourselves. Jesus took us by the hand and bid us rise and walk with Him – and by His grace, we were able to do just that.
Since this has been the pattern of every Christian’s life, you may think that it’s hardly the stuff heroes of the faith are made from. But the most remarkable part of this crippled beggar’s account is yet to be seen; it is in his response to the great work that has been done in him. He cannot contain himself – he rushes into the temple, “walking and jumping, and praising God.” He simply must use this new God-given ability, and it seems he can only use it to glorify the Lord and testify to His goodness.
You see, we aren’t walking our way to heaven. We don’t earn forgiveness by jumping up and down and praising God any more than a cripple can “earn” the use of his legs by running and leaping; it’s simply impossible. Our saving faith, like the beggar’s miraculous mobility, is a free gift of God.
The crippled beggar is a hero of the faith because he shows us the appropriate response to being healed of our sin. In faith, we run and jump and shout and praise God for the miraculous gift He has given us. The beggar’s response draws many onlookers to him, and his thanksgiving becomes the catalyst for thousands of others coming to faith in Jesus Christ. May God grant that our own thank offerings would bring such fruitful results!
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say this” (Psalm 107:1-2)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank and praise You for redeeming me from all my sins and enabling me to rise and walk with You. Give me always a thankful heart, that I may proclaim Your goodness and mercy wherever I go; through Jesus Christ, You Son, my Lord. Amen.