Pastor’s Corner: “What is Ugly Made Beautiful”
Acts 3:1-10 (NIV) – Peter Heals a Lame Beggar – One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 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.
Peter heals a lame beggar and a crowd quickly gathers. Peter explains that healing comes from God and encourages the crowd to repent. Peter and John met a beggar who sat in close proximity to the temple at a gate called “Beautiful.” Everyone knew the beggar at the Beautiful Gate because he had begged there for many years. This man sat a few feet from what should have been a house of healing, unable to enter because the sick and broken were unwelcome in this temple. This man watched for years as healthy temple-goers walked inside to worship and pray. Looking at the condition of the beggar, the term “beautiful” would seem ironic.
Where do you see yourself in this story? Perhaps you identify with the beggar — spiritually and emotionally broken. You’ve been stuck in the same place for weeks, months or maybe years. Others call your situation normal, reinforcing your cynicism. You know deep down that definitive change is needed, but how? Or perhaps you identify with those walking by the beggar. You know something should be done, but what? What can one person do? What can one church do…..? BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS WILLING AND ABLE TO HEAL!
In John 5, Jesus goes to pools believed to have healing powers. If someone got into the pool at the right time any illness he had would be healed. As Jesus approached these miraculous pools, He saw a lame man who had been lying by the pools for a long time. Jesus boldly walked up to the man and asked if he wanted to be healed. “‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me’” (John 5:7). Jesus’ response? He rescues the lame man from a hopeless situation and heals him on the spot!
When the lame man was healed, his circumstances changed. But believing in Jesus is what changes a man’s heart. A little while later, Jesus finds the formerly lame man at the temple and warns him, “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you” (John 5:14). The reason for healing is not to change our circumstances; God wants to change our hearts, to make them beautiful like His. God rescues us from seemingly hopeless situations all the time, but believing in Jesus is the only way to change our hearts. Ugly hearts can be made beautiful.
No matter where you find yourself in these stories, know that hope is found in the name of Jesus. Through Him, healing happens, religion evaporates, communities transform, and lives completely change. Through Jesus, what is broken is made whole and what is ugly is made beautiful!
Reflect: God changes our circumstances in order to change our hearts. How has your heart changed as a result of what God’s done in your life? What seemingly hopeless situations are you facing today? Are there any broken areas of your life that you have accepted as normal? What’s one step you can take today to begin healing?
In His Grace,