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The Lame, The Gate & The Temple: Victory After Over 4 Decades!

Updated: Feb 29

Text : "And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all." (Acts 3: 16).



Introduction:


Gates are access doors. Gates are restrictions. They enforce limitations, especially when put under lock and keys. Gates operate both in the spirit and physical realms. Hence, it could be addressed and commanded in the spiritual context, as a physical object "lift up your heads, O you gates!" (Ps.24:7). Since the spiritual controls the physical, limitations in life and destiny are a function of shut gates, in the spirit realm. It is written in Jos.6:1, "now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in." It's a statement of fact that the above situation in Jericho did not come to be as a result of industrial action. No. This was simply a demonstration of a spiritual action enforced on a physical domain by a Higher Authority.


Beyond this, this discourse is not about gates per se, rather, about a young man that was physically stranded in life, that entering the open gate became a herculean task, by the reason of a spiritual enforcement that grounded him. Whatever made him stranded hit him from his mother's womb. So stranded that entering the gate of the temple called Beautiful, which opened intermittently for worshippers and visitors, on a daily basis, was a mirage for him, until a Higher Force set him free after over four decades!


Feature Character- The Man At The Gate Of The Beautiful Temple:


Within the scriptural context, the man was introduced to us as "a certain lame man from his mother's womb" (Acts 3:2). He simply was identified by his physical ailment orchestrated by an unknown spiritual force, while the man himself defined both the entrance of the temple and the Beautiful gate. He lost his identity to his inglorious condition. No one cared to know his family background either. Did he have a name? No one knew. His existence was of no consequence. His being alive added no value to humanity in any way. (I pray my existence and yours will add value to humanity, Amen !). In sickness or health, rain and sun, he bore all hardships, stoically. All he lived on, was the meagre monies that accrued to him from his daily solicitations, from whoever cared to show him a sort of benevolence.


Variables In The Narrative:


Within the scope of his reliance on humanity for sustenance , there were at least four variables that determined his daily living. These were:


His Carriers: They apparently were not his blood relations. In effect, they were not compelled to, however they did that on humanitarian grounds. If at any time they refused to show up, he will be stranded at home for the day, and no income came in. ( We shall not be stranded in life, Amen!).


The Donors: Depending on their mood, their givings to him might be impacted. Ordinarily the givings fluctuated, since it was not supposed to be a fixed income. But then, on a day with a not-too-good dispositions on the part of the givers, his revenue dropped. He might suffer sustenance, as a result. (We shall not lack sustenance, Amen!).


The Givers' Capacity: Even though most givers ordinarily offer "left overs" to beggars, the fact remains that given that they had more than enough to give, no giver, however wealthy or generous, gives his best to a beggar. No individual giving improves the lot of a beggar either. (We shall not be beggars, Amen!).


Staticity: It did not matter how much they gave him, even in the best of their moods, and out of the most cheerful hearts of generosity, the givings never took him closer to destiny fulfillment . He remained on the spot forever dependent on the "inconsistent, unreliable, and undependable givers." He faced several uncertain days that translated to years. ( Sing the Hymn - Because HE lives I can face tomorrow, (Bill & Gloria GAITHER, 1971).


The above statements remain 'a constant' simply because every physical, financial and emotional assistance rendered him still downplayed the reality and the importance of the glory ahead of him. In as much as he was grounded by a "small spiritual force", yet, he needed a much more BIGGER & POWERFUL FORCE than all empathetic and sympathetic outburst swelling around him. Anything short of moving towards his destiny recovery would never redeem his situation. ( I shall NOT live a life of sympathy. Amen!).


His Brief & Eventful Encounter With Peter & John:


Ignorant of a Higher Power that could set him free, he expressed the usual gesture for alms hand-out, to Peter and John. If only he knew it was going to be his moment of total, complete, and unconditional liberation from the evil force, he probably would have cried in a loud voice like his contemporary, blind Bartimaeus- the popular blind man that defined the city of Jericho for several years, before the LORD met him. His mind seemed to be permanently programmed to the contentment he got from the tokens and tangibles he was receiving for sustenance from passersby, such that he could not decipher the duo of Peter and John as the bearers of the FORCE that will set him free.


The memories of this brief encounter was not only going to be pleasant, but would also establish a marked departure from a life of burden, reliance, and despondency. There is always a day like in every man's life. (Can we in any way relate with this?). There are encounters and there are encounters! Does any life-changing encounter we ever had readily come to mind? Probably the day we accepted the Jesus Christ as our LORD and Savior...or it could as well be a day we received a healing from an ailment...or other relatively good news...


First Law Of Motion:


In the words of the foremost Scientist and Physicist, Isaac Newton, (1642-1727), "every object continues to remain at rest, in a uniform motion, along a straight line, unless impressed forces act on it." Simply interpreted as implying, for any static or motionless object to change location/ position, a higher force than the static object is required.


This vividly explains the situation of our brother in discussion. He was static, brought to a halt by an unseen force. His release could only and MUST be effected by a HIGHER INVISIBLE AND INVINCIBLE FORCE. Everyone around this man was helpless in this wise, as far as divine release was concerned, "for the help of man is useless." (Ps.60:11). The HIGHER, INVISIBLE AND INVINCIBLE FORCE could only be transmitted and enforced by divinely commissioned human agent(s), to counter and nullify , the effect of over 40 years of inactivity and incapacitation unleashed by a 'smaller force' , "for the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle had been performed" (Acts 4:22). His faith was paramount at this time, much as he had to mentally detach himself from the daily peanuts that had done him no good beyond daily meals.


Ironically, whatever be the amount of the total proceeds he had garnered in all his years of his professional and circumstantial begging could not purchase the much needed intangible divine liberation and healing that was staring him in the face. A normal person in his right senses would not wait a minute further to embrace this free divine generosity. Our nameless brother, true to expectation, like blind Bartimaues, obeyed the instruction from Peter to shift his attention to him. This one lifetime opportunity must not slip him by! He was tired of the scorching sun, flooding rains and other uncomplimentary remarks and conditions prevailing in his environment . He wanted a new lease of life, and desperately too . Hence, he did the needful. He cooperated with the anointed vessels, sent his way. He obliged their gesture which no amount of money could purchase, as spelt out by Peter , "silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." (Acts 2:6). With little or no effort, Peter took him by the right hand and lifted him up...The transition was seamless. A new day had come ! (As we read this piece, a new day will come upon us speedily ! Amen).


Man Of The Moment:


Was there ever a time we were caught up in an unexpected situation that elicited ecstatic and joyful response ? If so, then we'll be able to relate with our person here. For a short while, at least, he became a man of the moment. He was in the news- breaking news. A breaking news he personally announced to the world, in the first person singular, too. Else, the reporting done by someone else, might be distorted. I feel him using Peter's phrase at Christ's ascension, "This same Jesus" (Acts 1:11). The JESUS that never changes ! He, (the ex- lame man), took his life in his hands. He did not allow the passersby and his "ex-generous" givers do the announcement. He left no one in doubt as to the new dawn that came upon him. Did he remember his offering bowl? Probably not. Still in a manner akin to blind Bartimeaus' day of visitation, he bid farewell to years of beggarly life and destitute living. Uppermost in his mind was the immediate use and gesticulations of his hitherto lost, but now restored organs. It was a solo, free-for-all celebration that reminisced and echoed his immediate ugly past and past stakeholders. An ex-lame, cum beggar- man was in town. He would not allow his testimony to be time-boxed or deferred till another temple day. The testimony must be spontaneous and extemporaneous. He must witness and broadcast Jesus to his world. Question is, when was the last time we made our testimonies spontaneous? When was the last time we witnessed the goodness of the LORD to our world? This is a food for thought for us.


"And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength" (Acts 3:7). He did not head to his house. He was wise enough to know what was best for him to do. It was with a simultaneous gait and carriage that he ushered himself into the temple with the apostles- walking, leaping, and praising God." (Acts 3:8). He did not wait for the temple ushers to point the direction to the entrance of the temple to him. Also, he knew in his mind, without being preached to, that he needed to praise God. He probably never had praised God before now! His uncontrollable and uncultured temple comportment and mannerism gave him out to the regular worshippers as a "first timer", and a closer look revealed to them, alas, that this was the lame man that had registered his presence at the gate of the beautiful temple, for donkey years.


My superiors and contemporaries, have we ever thought of what privilege it is to have all our senses and organs fully functional? Have we ever at one time or the other been afflicted to a level that certain of our organs became impotent and non-functional ? If that is the case, then we'll be able to relate with our unidentified brother and share in his unrestricted rejoicing sentiment. As written in a line of a poem I read, amongst several others, years ago, the writer succinctly put it thus, "the uses of a thing are never known until the very thing is wanted" (writer unknown). Our man here had tasted both worlds, so he knew better why he was rejoicing uncontrollably. He had a first-hand experience of his plight more than anyone and why it must not go uncelebrated. (I pray this world will celebrate us, Amen!).


In addition, have we thought of the distance between his "fixated begging spot" and the entrance of the temple? Granted that the distance between the two locations was as close as half a mile, or possibly quarter a mile, or lesser, it then presupposes that his entire physique was rendered incapacitated to a level that, even crawling to cover the possibly shortest distance was practically impossible for these many years! How difficult it was for the man in his disability state, regardless of how close or short the distance was, finds relevance in a personal experience I had some years ago. So awful and painful an experience that, for as little as 0.5 marks, like our brilliant mathematicians would fraction it, (1/2, half mark), I dropped out of a Post Graduate program. Just too close to fail! All pleas, excuses, and explanations to be protected by the school, fell on deaf ears. The penalty cost me six months of what the school tagged 'academic probation'. It was a painful six months out of the program that looked like eternity. Oh, the pains and pangs of an ailment, affliction, failure, or sickness could seem eternal!


The point we are driving at here is seeing how painful it could be to be close to a new and next level of breakthrough and yet unable to attain it. This tells us that it's just a thin line between sickness and wellness, failure and success, death and life. The lame man was close to his longing and desire of seeing the inside of the Beautiful temple, but took over forty years of his life to achieve this no mean feat. Imagine the morale- killing thoughts, despondency, weariness, loneliness, that tormented our character for this long. He was void of the natural will and urge to get himself up and doing at random. He lived in perpetual day-dreaming of a very uncertain bright future, until his day came...(Our day of joy and celebration comes now! Amen). So stranded he could not pursue any career or engage in any vocation that could better his lot. Just recently, I watched, in utter dismay the testimony of a 46 year old man who was delivered of a frog that had habitation in his stomach right from his age one. Ours is a wicked world...


Little wonder when his day of liberation eventually came, our friend threw caution to the wind. He had no respect for decorum either. All protocols in the temple, he willfully violated. He ignored all eyes staring at him with bewilderment. He clung to Peter and John, his divine destiny helpers. He was more than happy to identify with them. He was most grateful for getting a full restoration of all that rightfully belonged to him- organs that he had involuntarily been deprived physically, via a spiritual affliction. Friends, how do we relate with our destiny helpers after the much needed encounter? How grateful are we to God, the Worker of the miracles? Are we passive in our show of appreciation in our moments of divine visitation? If the answer is in the negative, then we might need to borrow a leaf from our unnamed lame brother. His was a celebration galore, endless rejoicing spree, and unrestricted jubilations...


Conclusion:


The account of the lame man at the gate of the temple called Beautiful is one that leverages on the spiritual realities of our time. Whether we believe it or not, there are forces that rule and permeate our world. Active and real forces, too, though not visible to the naked eyes. Good and bad forces for that matter...contending for dominance. While a force, the bad and wicked one does no good to peoples' lives and destinies, but utter destruction and oppression, the good Force is available to ridicule, nullify, override, and stamp out the effect of the latter, completely. The aforementioned is substantiated with one of the core verses of the scriptures, "how God anointed Jesus Christ of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." (Acts 10:38).


Our featured character in this submission, was undoubtedly a candidate for the workings of the Holy Spirit as referenced in Acts 10:38. Before now, he was visibly oppressed out of destiny. He became a nonentity par excellence. His life was miserable as long as the oppression held sway over his life. However, if it took a force to ground his life for over forty years, it did not take the more true and Powerful FORCE from above, forty seconds, to undo the inhuman deposit of the wicked force in his life. This is a further confirmation and validation of John 3:31, "He who comes from above is above all;...He who comes from heaven is above all." Above all, the faith of our man of the moment was a catalyst in making him shift from isolation, statism, to his original destiny in the scheme of divine arrangement, "...yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all" (Acts 3:16b). Beloved, what a thing of joy and good news that we have a Savior who is capable of putting to shame all the counsels from the pit of hell. If only we can embrace Him in faith, carry His Power, and disseminate to the world...then our world will be a better place to live.


Above all, when was the last time you and I acknowledged and thanked God for having all our beings fully functional ? May God help us! Amen.



© March 2024


Being A Monthly Scripture Bulletin

From The Desk Of

Olusegun A Emosu

The Redeemed Christian Church Of God,

Rehoboth Parish,

2244, Panola Rd, Suite 2, Lithonia GA 30058 (3 D Complex)

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