And he entered with them into the temple walking and jumping and praising God. And all the people who saw him walking and praising God recognized him: “This is the man who used to sit and beg at the Beautiful Gate.”
Have you ever noticed that when your favorite basketball team is blowing out their opponent by thirty points, you’re glad, but you’re also bored? You stop high-fiving your friends when your team scores on a slam dunk. You stop shouting frantically at the head coach that he needs to double-team Salinsky in the low post.
Instead, you say, “I went to Speedo Lube last Tuesday and they charged me extra to refill the windshield washer fluid. Hey, ever try these new corn chips? They’re chipotle.”
But what happens when your favorite team is behind, and victory seems out of reach . . . but then the rally starts? And, in the final seconds, when the point guard steals the ball and throws up the buzzer-beater from three-point land to win the game, you go wild and knock the popcorn bowl off the coffee table.
In both instances, your team won. Why do you react so differently?
Joy comes when you find victory after a time of uncertainty or loss of hope.
At the time of the evening sacrifice, no one was anxious about whether they could successfully walk through the gate to worship God in the temple.
No one – except one beggar who was lame from birth. This poor man couldn’t get into the temple – not because he was lame, but because he was banned. Jewish laws of ritual purity barred the blind and the lame from entrance into the temple. This lame beggar could only sit by the gate, but was allowed no further.
When Peter, by Jesus’ power, miraculously heals this man, look where the beggar’s feet take him. He doesn’t run home to tell his friends and neighbors; he rushes through the gate. Here he is in the temple for the first time in his life!
You’ll have to excuse his lack of circumspection in the sanctuary, but this man is bursting with joy, and doesn’t care that he’s creating a ruckus.
Have you ever noticed that those who are new to the faith are more exuberant than a happy puppy? They have known the uncertainty or loss of hope in their relationship with God. And, when they discover the downpour of God’s mercy on them, they can’t contain their joy.
But, once we get used to the victory Jesus won for us, we start talking about chipotle corn chips.
I don’t think we should ever get used to the grace of God.
(copyright 2012 by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)