A baby’s first steps mark a milestone. From sitting up to crawling to pulling up to holding on to finally walking, those steps open up a world of possibility. Can you imagine someone waiting forty plus years to take those first steps?
They laid him at the gate every day, so that he could ask for charity from those entering the Temple. Now over forty years old he never took a step in his entire life. His physical impediment reached farther than his feet. Socially, in that day and place, he would have been treated as a social outcast. Wheelchairs, elevators, and ADA compliance would not be invented for hundreds of years. People passed him by, devalued him, and thought little of him. His family likely laid him there so that he could make some contribution to his care.
We do not want to make light of this man’s condition. Nevertheless, in a sense, we are all that man. The physical plight of this man pictures the universal, invisible spiritual plight of humanity. This man was paralyzed from the womb. Sin has paralyzed our will from the womb. The things we know we ought to do we neglect. The things we know we ought not to do we do. Our maimed desires take us places we ought not go. Sin paralyzes even our thoughts, making us so engrossed with ourselves we fail to look up to God and reach out to others. What happened to the lame man at the gate happened to teach us.
Peter said to this man, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk (Acts 3:6).” The man got up, walked, and entered the Temple, jumping and praising God. Restored to physical, emotional, social, and spiritual wholeness, the man offered God praise for his healing.
Uttering Jesus’ name does not conjure a magical incantation. His name represents his power. The same name that healed the lame man has the power to heal our souls from sin. Do you believe in the power of the name of Jesus? The church’s power lies not in politics or human strength. It transcends what worldly money and power can afford. It goes to a deeper place. Lame men leap at the name of Jesus, and in the same name lame souls sprout wings and fly.