Sunday, June 18, 2017

True Beauty

Sometimes you read the account of an event in the Bible and you are left with some questions. They aren't necessarily deep theological questions, but they are things that you are writing down to ask God when you get to heaven.

In Acts chapter 3, Peter and John are on their way to the temple to pray. We see in verse 2 that a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg. My first question is who was carrying him? My second and third questions are how long had they been doing this and did they have others who carried him to the gate on other days? Not that these answers really change things, I'm just super curious.

What we do know is that if he was put at the Beautiful Gate to beg from those going into the temple courts, this gate was clearly an entry way. This is where it gets interesting.

The Beautiful Gate is also called Nicanor's Gate, according to the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. The name Nicanor means conqueror. So now we have a beautiful gate that is also a conquering gate.

Okay. This man is about to have an encounter with more than just Peter and John. When Peter tells this man to look at him, it says in verse 5 that the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. What did he get? Healed. Where did he get healed? At the beautiful, conquering gate.

As the crowds gathered after seeing what happened, Peter lays it out. He tells them, "By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through Him that has completely healed him, as you can all see."

So, he was healed at the beautiful, conquering gate, by the faith that comes through Jesus. The Jesus who in John 10:9 calls Himself a gate, who makes us more than conquerors in Romans 8:37, and according to 2 Corinthians 4:6 has a face that is God's glory displayed. Call me crazy, but I'd bet my last dollar that is beautiful.

So maybe it's just me that's a little overwhelmed by this. But when you've been singing about the beauty of Jesus and His Name, something about this is just hitting deep into those places that are desperate to make Him bigger than I've let Him be. Because that's what we do, isn't it? We want Him to be big and strong, but like Natalie Grant sings, we put Him in a box because our minds cannot comprehend just how magnificent He really is and so we try to contain Him to what we can handle.

But not only is He the way and the truth and the life, but He is the way in, the Beautiful Gate. And when we enter through Him, one way or another, we are healed. And our healing leads to a transformation that has an effect on everything we do and everyone we encounter. And like this man, we should be walking, jumping, and praising God so that those who knew us before will be filled with wonder and amazement at what Jesus has done for us, and then want it desperately for themselves.

Lord, we thank you for making a way. We pray that we would realize just how much You have done for us and want to do through us because of the story You are writing in our lives. Make us bold to proclaim what you have done so that all will honor and glorify you. Thank you for the Beautiful Gate that allows us to cross into Your amazing presence. We love You. Amen.

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