Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Gate Called Beautiful

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.  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.  When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money.  Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!”  So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
    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.”  Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.  He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.  When all the people saw him walking and praising God,  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.  ~Acts 3:1-10
     I have read this amazing passage of scripture many times, but what stood out to me this time was that the name of the gate where this lame and broken man was placed was “Beautiful.”


     Sometimes I forget that God finds beauty in our lameness and brokeness.  When we are just not good enough, when we are sick, or in despair, when we find ourselves in the same wretched place we have been before.  Then we turn to God with a beggar’s expectation, knowing that we don’t have enough on our own to make it through another day.  And the God of miracles and grace causes us to rise up and walk with Him past the place where we have laid so long.  With His great compassion and love, He finds us beautiful.
     Remember the woman with the albaster box of precious spikenard with which she annointed Jesus.  Consider, Jesus was not anointed until the box was broken.
      We should not feel ashamed to be broken.  God loves the broken heart and the contrite spirit.  Brokeness is just a beautiful gate, a sweet perfume, where Jesus meets us, heals us, and walks us through.
Praise the Lord.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
    he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
    and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
    his understanding has no limit.                    ~Psalm 147:1-5

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