What should I write as a new ‘term’ begins in these continuing challenging times – statements of great vision, exhortation, comfort – and somehow in around 300 words?! Can I suggest instead that all our focus should be on the Lord Jesus Christ who, in fact, encapsulates all such statements – and, in particular, “the temple gate called Beautiful”. Let me explain!
In the Bible Study / Fellowship Groups on Tuesday we studied the remarkable healing of the paralysed beggar in Acts 3. He had lain outside the temple gate called Beautiful for a long time, unable to enter to praise and worship God with all the people. It’s a very clear illustration of our position before we become Christians – maybe so near, yet so far, helpless, focussed on the things of this world. But it may also be a picture of our current circumstances as Christians, both corporately and individually. We may feel at a distance from God, unable to access ‘the things of God’.
How wonderful it is that Jesus described Himself as “the gate for the sheep” (John 10v7) – He is the truly Beautiful Gate into the presence of God. It is through His Name (i.e. all He is) that the paralysed beggar is completely healed, physically and spiritually (Acts 3v6,16) – and it is through Jesus alone that we are saved, renewed, restored. Peter subsequently explained the vital need for true repentance (i.e. not remorse!) and this is still a crucial, ongoing element of the Christian life. But such repentance leads to the cleansing of our sins and times of refreshing from the Lord – and ultimately we look forward with confidence to the restoration of all things when Jesus returns (Acts 3v19-21).
What a Saviour! What a Beautiful Gate! Let’s walk and jump and praise God – yes at a social distance from each other, but not from Him!
Peace and Grace