Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.…
I. Find A PICTURE OF THE SINNER. The external world is a reflex of the spiritual. That lame man crouching at the gate and unable to enter it is a type of the sinner's condition.
1. He was a cripple, not a sound, complete man. So is every sinner. In him there is a miserable distortion of character.
2. He was a beggar. Sin is want.
3. This man was shut out of the temple. From certain texts in the Old Testament and certain passages in old Jewish writings the inference has been drawn that deformed people were not allowed to enter the temple. Though it is not certain, such was probably the Jewish law. Such is every sinner's condition. He is not merely outside the visible church, but he has no part in the spiritual fellowship of God's people.
II. Find also as a contrast to the above A PICTURE OF THE DISCIPLES. There are two men standing before the lame man. They show us the privilege of Christ's followers.
1. They have fellowship with each other. Notice how close was the intimacy between Peter and John, and how often they are named together. They were very different, yet they enjoyed the communion of saints with each other.
2. They have a love for God's house. They are going up to the temple, not as formal worshippers, but full of the Holy Ghost, and enjoying an intimate communion with God. To them all the service has a new meaning, since they have known Christ. He is the Lamb laid on the altar; He is the Theme of the psalm; He is shown in the vestments of the high priest. They worship Christ while others gaze at the spectacle.
3. They have sympathy for the needy. The love of Christ awakes in the Christian heart a love for every man. Others passed by the cripple with a glance of contempt or with a shudder of disgust. These men looked at him with love, for in that distorted form was a soul for whom Christ died.
4. They have power to help. As Peter looks on the man he feels a consciousness of Divine power to heal him. It is not in himself, but through Christ, that he can lift him up to health and strength. We cannot bring healing to men's bodies, but we can bring salvation to men's souls.
III. Find in this scene A PICTURE OF SALVATION.
1. In the salvation of every soul there is a human instrumentality. God does not save men alone and directly, nor through the agency of angels. There is always a Peter through whom the power of God comes to a needy soul.
2. There is in every lifetime one moment of special opportunity. No one knows how long the lame man had been lying at the gate; but one day he met his opportunity. So the Samaritan woman met hers at the well, so Matthew met his at his table, so the Ethiopian met his in the desert. Success is to grasp at the opportunity; failure is to let it pass.
3. In this miracle the power lay not in Peter's hand, but in Jesus's name — that is, in Jesus Himself, invoked by name. Only a Divine power could heal the cripple, and only a Divine power can make the sinner whole.
4. There was effort required on the part of the man himself. If he had not responded to Peter's strong clasp of the hand with an effort of his own he would have remained a cripple still. That effort was faith.
IV. Find in this scene A PICTURE OF THE SAVED MAN. See how aptly he represents the soul just after the new birth in the image of Christ Jesus.
1. We behold the transformation. A moment ago he was a crouching cripple; now he stands and leaps upon the marble floor. Look at a greater change in every converted sinner.
2. We notice his privilege. His first act is to enter through the Beautiful gate into the temple.
3. We notice his gratitude. Every saved soul should make confession of what God has done for him.
4. We notice his prominence. At once the remarkable event attracted attention. Every converted man becomes at once an object of interest and an evidence of Jesus's power.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.