The day was hot as usual. There was not even the hint of a breeze that would bring refreshment to the crowd. Instead, the heat was heavy and the dust was choking. Nevertheless the people still came to the temple for the time of prayer though it meant discomfort and fighting the crowds.
Past the vast Court of the Gentiles there was a gate that led into the Court of the Women which was called the gate Beautiful. Today a great event would take place at this gate though no one was yet aware of it. Lying at the gate called Beautiful was a man who was familiar to the people. Day after day he was brought to this gate by family and friends to beg of those who would pass by. This man was crippled from birth and because of this was destined to spend his entire life at the mercy of those who would take pity on him and drop a coin in his beggar’s cup. Today was just like a thousand other days that the man had endured in an attempt to scratch out a living.
The time was three o’clock and the people were hurrying to the time of prayer. The man frequently lifted his voice and cried out, “Alms; Alms for the poor” in hopes that someone would hear his plea and respond with a coin. How often he had said those words; so often and for so long that he barely even lifted his eyes to look upon those who passed by. It was a humiliating way to survive, but he had no other option.
From afar the man saw two other men heading for the gate called Beautiful. As their shadows fell upon him the man cried out for alms though he would not look into the eyes of the men standing before him. Then he heard one of the men tell him to look at them. The voice sounded authoritative, yet compassionate; quite unlike the voices of exasperation and irritation he was so familiar with. Expecting a coin from them he obediently lifted his eyes to meet theirs. Unknowingly the beggar now looked into the faces of men who had walked with
One of the men said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you”. Suddenly the beggar’s spirits were dashed at the prospect of getting nothing of value. It had been an especially long day, filled with disappointments, and here, yet again, the beggar’s hopes were to go unfulfilled. Why continue this pathetic existence any longer; why subject one’s self to continual disappointment and shame, thought the beggar. Maybe I would be better off dead.
Just then the stranger reached down and took the beggar by the right hand and as he pulled him upward to his feet he said, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk”. Suddenly the beggar felt a rush of strength gathering in his feet and ankles. How odd this feeling was to the beggar for no such feeling had ever come upon him before. What was happening to him? Of what manner were these powerful words that this stranger had uttered that were now causing such strange sensations in his feet and ankles? Who was this Jesus in whose name he was being lifted to his feet? How could that which was dead be made alive?
“I’m walking, I’m walking!!” cried the beggar and he began to leap with unbridled joy and to praise God for this miracle. He could not contain his emotions; he wanted everyone to know he was reborn, given new life! He clung to the strangers as they walked to Solomon’s Colonnade, unwilling to let go of them lest his miracle disappear. The people gathered in astonishment as they recognized this man as the beggar whom they routinely passed at the gate called Beautiful. Surely a great miracle has taken place before our very eyes!
Whatever happened to the beggar? The scriptures are silent. Were any of the people changed who witnessed the miracle? Again, the scriptures are silent. We are left to wonder how we would have reacted had we been present. And yet, in reality, a miracle has just as surely happened to all who have named Christ as their Lord and Savior. Will we, like the beggar, share the good news with others? Or will we be silent about our miracle and thereby deny others the benefit of our witness?? It’s three o’clock at the gate Beautiful for some poor, lost soul. Will you introduce them to the all powerful name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth?