Healing the Lame Man

IN THE TIME IMMEDIATELY after Pentecost, the activities of the Early Church are described thus: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the Temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”—Acts 2:42-47, New International Version

To gather those in the proper heart condition into the church, many wonders and miracles were performed by the apostles. The Scriptures do not always indicate what those miracles were, but we can surmise that they were similar to what our Lord performed during his First Advent.


The prejudice against and persecution of the Early Church, made it necessary for them to pool their resources in order to survive. All believers sold their possessions, giving to anyone as he had need. They understood the concept of Divine love for one another—and demonstrated that love in very tangible ways.—I John 3:16

The Scriptures tell us the brethren had unity in attitude of heart and mind, and understanding of spiritual things. They met daily in the Temple, preaching the truth; and in their individual homes by night, breaking bread and praising God. They were active not only in witnessing and proclaiming the truth, but also in meeting together to build one another up.—Heb. 10:25

Eventually, the Heavenly Father brought this communal arrangement to an end, and allowed the brethren to be scattered so the Gospel message would spread to all nations. Nevertheless, the zeal and spirit of these brethren are great examples for us to follow. The psalmist captures the attitude and spirit of these brethren when he says, “O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.”—Ps. 105:1-4


Peter and John, in their zeal for service, went up to the Temple at the hour of prayer, hoping and expecting to find some opportunity there for testifying to the truth. Likewise, we should have this same zeal for the Lord to spread the Gospel message. Our responsibility to preach the Gospel at every opportunity is brought to our attention by the Apostle Paul in II Timothy 4:2: “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season.” (NIV) We should always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us. (I Pet. 3:15) In Peter’s and John’s cases, they went to the Temple looking for an opportunity. When that opportunity appeared, they took advantage of it.

We, too, should be on the lookout for opportunities to proclaim the message of truth. In our everyday contact with people there are conversations which we can turn into witnessing opportunities. There are enough troubles and difficulties in the world to enable us to present a gem of truth about Christ’s coming kingdom.

Opportunities frequently occur ‘out of season’ for us, at a time when we are trying to get something else accomplished. We might say, “This is not really a good time.” But if the Lord chooses that time, we should do our best to take advantage of it. The Lord arranges these opportunities to see how much we love the truth. He is interested in knowing if we love the truth enough to drop our plans and serve him.


As they were about to enter the Temple, Peter and John met a man who had been crippled from birth. Every day this man was carried to the Temple gate called “Beautiful,” (Acts 3:2) where he begged from those going into the Temple courts. Since the apostles frequently went to the Temple, usually through the ‘Beautiful Gate,’ and the lame beggar was at that gate every day asking for alms, he had probably seen Peter and John before.

The Scriptures do not tell us if the beggar had heard of the Pentecostal wonders which had converted several thousand and knew that Peter and John were associated with that movement. It is possible, and if so, it might account for his readiness of faith, by which he accepted the apostle’s words and hand, and was healed. However, when they first met, the lame man was not looking to be healed. He looked to Peter and John for a few coins—something on which to sustain his meager existence. What he received was so much more!


This lame man pictures the human family, lame and unable to walk in God’s path due to the inheritance of sin and death. The Apostle Paul describes their inability to do God’s will and walk in his paths. “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”—Rom. 3:10-12, NIV

The lame man was hoping for an improved life, as the Apostle Paul writes: “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”—Rom. 8:19-22, NIV

The whole creation, the entire world of mankind, is waiting for their liberation from the effects of sin and death. Lame and blind, they are without hope and without God in the world. (Eph. 2:12,13) They are unhappy; they are dissatisfied—searching for happiness and peace but not finding it. We can look around us today and see that no one is finding peace and satisfaction, hope and fulfillment. They are not finding it in their churches, in their political movements, in their financial affairs, in their social organizations, nor in any of the passions they pursue. And the longer things go on, the more unhappy and dissatisfied people are becoming.

Our Lord Jesus prophetically described our day and this growing unhappiness and fear, saying, “On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”—Luke 21:25,26, NIV


When Peter and John encountered the lame man, he asked for money and Peter responded to his request in a very different way: “‘Look at us. … Silver or gold I do not have, but what I 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.”—Acts 3:4,6, NIV

When Peter responded, ‘Look at us,’ the lame man gave them his full and undivided attention, expecting to receive something from him. After commanding him to walk, Peter reached down, helped the lame man to his feet, and as the lame man cooperated with the apostle his feet and ankles were healed. But the lame man did not stop there! Once on his feet, he followed the apostles into the Temple, walking, jumping, and praising God.


This experience points to the healing that will take place in Christ’s kingdom. The entire human family is ‘lame,’ waiting near the courts of God, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. The Christ, as represented by Peter and John, appeared—not with material wealth, not with gold or silver—but with the power of God secured by the sacrifice of Jesus.

The removal of the curse, and the opening of a path for mankind back into harmony with God is described by the Prophet Isaiah: “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. … And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it, it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there; nor will any ferocious beast get up on it, they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”—Isa. 35:5,6,8-10, NIV

This prophecy tells of both the physical and the spiritual healing of the human family that will take place in Christ’s kingdom. Their physical disabilities of blindness, deafness, lameness and an inability to speak will be cured—just as Peter healed the lame man, and our Lord healed the man born blind. (John 9:7) These physical afflictions are all part of the curse. When the blood of atonement is applied on behalf of the human family and the curse is lifted, these vestiges of the curse will also be lifted—demonstrating God’s power, wisdom, and love. It will be this demonstration that will soften man’s stony heart so that God’s laws can be written therein.

Mankind is also spiritually blind and deaf to the words of God. They are unable to speak of God’s Truth to one another, and sin prevents them following God’s instructions and walking in his paths. In Christ’s kingdom, God promises to heal these afflictions so that all may “call upon the name of the Lord, … with one consent.”—Zeph. 3:9


The kingdom arrangement and the new environment for the human family is also described by Isaiah: “The Lord has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm [Christ]: ‘Never again will I give your [Jerusalem’s] grain as food for your enemies, and never again will foreigners drink the new wine for which you have toiled; but those who harvest it will eat it and praise the Lord, and those who gather the grapes will drink it in the courts of my sanctuary.’ Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations.”—Isa. 62:8-10, NIV

The oppression of the weak will come to an end in Christ’s kingdom. Israel will no longer be trodden down by her enemies. Instead, those who harvest grain and those who gather grapes will eat the fruit of their labors and praise the Lord. This statement will have a literal fulfillment—no man will build and another inhabit; no man will plant and another eat. (Isa. 65:21-23) Selfishness will come to an end!

There is also a spiritual fulfillment to this statement. Those who harvest the Word of the Lord will partake of it—and praise the Lord. Those who gather grapes will drink the new wine or doctrines of Truth in the courts of Jehovah’s sanctuary. (Joel 3:18) In the kingdom, as each human being partakes of the Truth, absorbs the instructions in righteousness they receive from Zion [the church] and Jerusalem [the Ancient Worthies], they will be blessed, they will praise God and they will draw nigh to the courts of Jehovah’s sanctuary. They will pass through the gates, into the Holy City, into the New Jerusalem and back into harmony with God.

It will be the responsibility of ‘the church’ to prepare a way for the people, or to ‘cast up the highway.’ That way will lead out of the prison-house of death and sin, and out of the degradation and darkness of this present world back to the Truth, the perfection of human life, and sonship with God. The ‘stumbling stones’ will all be gathered out; the mountains of difficulty shall be leveled, and valleys of despair and discouragement shall be filled up, that the King’s highway may be most favorable.


Many other scriptures in the Old Testament describe the healing process of the kingdom, and the relationship between the church and the world of mankind. One is: “This is what the Lord says: ‘In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, to say to the captives, Come out, and to those in darkness, Be free! They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill. They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat upon them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up.’”—Isa. 49:8-11, NIV

During the present Gospel Age God has helped the church. He has kept them and will make them a covenant for the people to restore the earth, to reassign the desolate inheritance, to release the captives from the prison-house of death and release those in the darkness—blindness—of this present evil world.

The church, as part of the Christ, will be used to mediate the New Covenant. Under that covenant, the Christ will provide food and water to the human family along the way of holiness—not literal food, but spiritual food and water of God’s Truth. As a result, no one will hunger for the Word of the Lord because the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the great deep. (Isa. 11:9) All shall know him from the least unto the greatest.—Jer. 31:34


The lame man healed by Peter and John was an ‘Israelite indeed.’ His response to his healing is indicative of how positively, how joyously, the human family will respond to their healing in Christ’s kingdom. As it is written, “In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.’”—Isa. 25:9, NIV


How does God write his Law in people’s hearts, and yet not violate mankind’s free moral agency? This heart transformation will be accomplished through the experiences he brings upon them. The great love of God for his human family as it is finally revealed through the establishment and functioning of Christ’s kingdom will stir within the hearts of man a reciprocal love for their Heavenly Father. This is how it has worked in the lives of those being chosen today. They love God because he first loved them. (I John 4:19) When the world’s blindness is removed and they both see God’s goodness and are the beneficiaries of God’s great love, it will stimulate their hearts to love him, and become obedient to his laws.


When the people in the Temple saw the lame man walking, they were amazed as to what had happened to him. While the lame man held onto Peter and John, the people ran up to them at the place called Solomon’s porch and gave Peter the witnessing opportunity he was waiting for. Peter begins his lesson, saying:

“Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he [Pilate] had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 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 given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.”—Acts 3:12-16, NIV

Strengthened by the Holy Spirit, Peter stood fearlessly before the men of Israel. He gave the glory to God and his Son, Jesus, for the miracle and then launched into the lesson on the resurrection of Jesus. Peter reminded the Jews of their fathers, and the promises of God they had inherited through the fathers. He went on to mention how their nation rejected the Messiah, desiring instead that a murderer be released to them. Although the Roman soldiers crucified Jesus, the Jews were actually responsible for his death. But God, by his mighty power, raised Jesus from the dead and exalted him above every name that is named. (Eph. 1:20-22; Phil. 2:9,10) It was by faith, Peter and John’s faith in Jesus—his sacrifice and his resurrection—and the power of the Holy Spirit, that the lame man had been cured.


Peter did not stop there. He continued with the lesson: “Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.”—Acts 3:17-21, NIV

Peter explained that the death of Christ fulfilled what God had foretold through the prophets, namely that Christ would be rejected, suffer, and die. But through his death we might all gain life. He then offered them the invitation to sonship. This invitation was conditional. “If you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”—Exod. 19:5,6, NIV

Peter invited them to repent and turn toward God—to be converted so that their sins might be blotted out. The same invitation has been extended to us, and how thankful we are. We have repented, we have been converted, or turned, toward God, and we are endeavoring to walk in Jesus’ footsteps, that we might be faithful until death and receive the crown of life—and thereby have our sins, not just covered, but wiped clean.

In a larger sense, the ‘seasons of refreshment’ refer to the blessings that will be poured upon the human family in Christ’s kingdom. If we trace the Greek word translated ‘refreshment’ back to its original root, it means the recovery of breath [or life]. This is exactly what will be accomplished by Christ’s kingdom. Mankind, if obedient, will recover their breath, the breath of life!


Peter pointed down the stream of time to when our Lord would return to set up his kingdom, and to actually restore all things which had been promised by the mouth of all God’s holy prophets. Our Lord has returned and will accomplish that restoration—a restoration in which his objective is to wipe away every vestige of the reign of sin and death, and return the race to its original position of perfection, dominion, sonship and everlasting life. In that kingdom:

“He [God] will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”—Rev. 21:3,4

In that kingdom, “all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him. For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.”—Ps. 72:11-14

How thankful we are that God has revealed these truths to our eyes. Indeed he has opened our hearts and minds to the beauty of his plan of salvation for the entire human family. In that kingdom, the Christ will call the human family from the prison-house of death, heal them of all their diseases and open their eyes to the glory of God and the beauty of his Son’s kingdom. The human family will be restored to all that was lost. What a great privilege will be ours, if faithful, to participate in this healing work.

The great promise of restitution and the opportunity to help in its fulfillment should stimulate our zeal and faithfulness in serving the Lord—that we might make our calling and election sure.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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