Beggar to believer- Wednesday in the Octave of Easter- Acts 3:1-10
The narration of the healing of the crippled beggar by Peter and John, and the subsequent address by Peter in Solomon’s portico will be taken up by the lectionary in two parts. Today we will hear the miracle, and tomorrow the homily. These actions on the part of Peter and John will lead to the first persecution in the Church.
While in chapter two we hear in a generalised way “that many signs and wonders were done”, here is the first recorded miracle performed by the apostles. If you look at the pattern of this healing story, it is typical of a miracle story in the life of Jesus. It is interesting to note how the Church follows Christ, as it should be.
We are told that Peter and John enter the temple at three pm which was one of the three hours of prayer for a pious Jew, and it is here that they see a man who was lame from birth being carried in. We are told that the cripple is laid at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful gate.
Let us talk a bit about this gate which Josephus the historian records. He says this gate was called the ‘Nicanor’ gate and was seventy five feet high and made out of Corinthian bronze. It was a gate that separated the court of the woman from the court of the men or Israel. Fifteen steps led to the court of the women, and it was here that the cripple was placed.
Scripture also tells us that this man was begging from people ‘entering the temple’; technically he is ‘outside the temple’. He has not come as a worshipper but as one seeking charity. He asks Peter and John for alms and so we can surmise that he was not looking for a healing, he was looking for a hand-out. Interestingly after his healing he ‘enters’ the temple as a worshipper and a man of faith.
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