Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.…
I. THE COMPANIONS — "Peter and John."
1. Their destination — "the temple." Those who have been the greatest blessing to mankind through all the ages have loved God and frequented His temple. The theory that a man who is able to go to church can serve God at home, and never go, is contrary to the teaching of the New Testament.
2. Their harmony — "went up together." Nothing like Pentecostal power to harmonise opposite temperaments, and hold in check possible discordances and selfish tendencies in human nature.
3. Their look. Christianity is the only system in the world that knows how to "fasten its eyes upon" the afflicted and destitute, the guilty and the lost.
4. Their devotion — "at the hour of prayer." If any men were justified in supposing that they could dispense with the ordinary routine of religious worship, "Peter and John" were surely those men. But no men in Jerusalem were more consciously indebted to the means of grace, or more utterly dependent upon God. The more religion a man has, the more he will love "the temple" and "the hour of prayer."
5. Their poverty — "silver and gold have I none." Then a child of God may be poor. Then God may be specially honouring men, and fitting them for extraordinary careers of usefulness, who are without worldly means or influence. In this materialistic age, when men are judged of by their money, and not by their character — by what they have, and not by what they are, it is well to emphasise the fact that manhood and money are nor. interchangeable terms. The power that lifts and heals a crippled world is not carried about by men in their pocket-books, nor does it grow out of their bank accounts or social standing. It comes through the right relationship of the soul to Jesus Christ, and absolutely without regard to a man's worldly condition.
6. Their power — "Rise up, and walk." That is the main power the Church lacks just now to make her ready for the conquest of the world; and that is the power for the exercise of which a crippled world fastens its eyes upon us. Neither wealth, nor education, nor social influence can atone for the want of this Divine afflatus.
II. THE CRIPPLE — "A man lame from his mother's womb."
1. His location — "At the gate of the temple." Then this cripple was no fool. He understood the philosophy of benevolence. The kindest and most sympathetic people in the world are praying people. Persons who obey the first table of the law are most likely to obey the second. Nine-tenths of all the money raised for benevolent purposes, and for the support of our charitable institutions, comes from the pockets of those who go "up to the temple at the hour of prayer."
2. His attitude — "Lay at the gate." We have seen thousands of lame men who could go almost anywhere, through the aid of artificial supports. But this man was obliged to be carried.
3. His vocation "To ask alms." Both the place and time selected by this cripple to ply his vocation indicate that he was a shrewd, thoughtful man.
4. His cure.
(1) It was instantaneous.
(2) It was thorough — "Walked and leaped."
5. His gratitude. The accession of strength was sudden, and his manifestation of it was equally sudden. There was no timid shrinking, lest he should overtax his new strength. The man that God blesses and saves need not be afraid of overdoing, and bringing on a relapse, by anything his heart prompts him to do, in the shape of letting others know what has happened. The want of the times is a joyful, happy, triumphant Christianity.
III. The crowd — "All the people."
1. Their evidence — "Saw him."
2. Their recognition (ver. 10). He had sat at the gate so long that everybody knew him, and that may be the reason why he was favoured with this miraculous cure.
3. Their excitement. They wisely argued that the change could only be effected by a Divine cause. Extend this reasoning, and you have one of the. most unanswerable arguments in favour of Christianity. The transformations wrought by it in society prove it to be Divine in its origin.
4. Their emotions — "Wonder and amazement." Strange that they should be so affected by this miracle, after having witnessed so many by the Master.
1. Let us imitate Peter and John in our appreciation of the means of grace.
2. Let us not disturb the services by coming in late; but, like them, let us try to be punctual; "at the hour."
3. Pentecostal blessings of yesterday cannot supply our need of God's inspiration and blessing to-day.
4. It is the duty of the unconverted to "fasten their eyes" upon spiritual matters, to yield to right influences, to allow themselves to be carried daily to the gate of right feeling and conduct. If this lame man had rebelled that morning against being carried "to the gate of the temple," he might never have been healed.
5. Learn that, though the eyes of the sinner may be fastened upon the servant, the Master only can heal.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.