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The Man Who Asked for Alms and Got Legs

Acts 3:1-10


We see Peter and John going to the temple at the time of prayer.  They are found together often in scripture.  Lk. 5 says they were partners in the fishing business before they got saved.  Lk. 22:  together they prepared the Last Supper in the upper room.  Jn. 20:  running together to the empty tomb on that 1st Easter morning.  Acts 8:  ministering together to the Samaritans.

        However, they were quite different from one another…Peter was outgoing and gregarious, always had something to say…never hesitated to give his opinion…sometimes it seemed like the only time he’d open his mouth was to change feet!/quite outspoken.  But, John was contemplative and reflective…tender, referring to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved!/at last supper, he leaned on Jesus’ chest.


Some evidence in Scripture seems to indicate these 2 didn’t always get along.  Their personalities were so different that they often had friction.


Joke—son, momma’s not feeling well, it’s her colitis…son said, who’d momma collide w/ this time?


But now that Jesus has ascended and left these men w/ His Holy Spirit, they come together…and here they enter the temple together…not competing for greatness/focusing on each other’s faults, but striving to work together for God’s glory, never allowing anything in-between / forbearing / giving benefit of doubt / trying to build the Lord’s church thru unity and teamwork.

        It’s amazing how people come together when filled w/ the Spirit!…you show me a church where people don’t get along and I’ll show you a church void of the Spirit…marriage/home/board/s.s. class

Ps. 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

[infrequent use of “!”]

It’s 3 pm, and on the way to the temple something awesome happens, which ultimately results in thousands getting saved.


3 things to look at:

  1. The man
    • V. 2         Born crippled/congenital birth defect…Acts 4 says he was over 40 years of age and had never walked a day in his life.  Parents knew something was wrong, he’d always be different…other kids would play in the streets, he could only watch.  Parents had to carry him as a toddler/little boy/teenager/man!  Couldn’t work/get job/get ssi/rehab/have a wheelchair…all he could do was to beg for a living.  Now he’s in his 40s/parents are dead or out of picture/no other family to care for him/so, every day he’d lay by gate where people had to pass by, and he would beg.  “Alms for a poor man?”  [hoping for a few coins in his little tin cup]
    • His physical condition is an illustration of our spiritual condition. [born that way]  And we are born spiritually crippled by sin.

Ps. 51: 5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Rom 5:12          Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

We’ve all been crippled by a fall, in the Garden of Eden!


Secular psychology says man is born neutral at worst, and at best, w/ a spark of divinity!  That’s not Biblical, and further, that’s not logical!


Children:  wrong comes naturally, right must be taught and disciplined.


  • This man reminds us of the fact that sin cripples all it touches.  Let sin get into your home and it will cripple it/church/individual.  Oh the wretches of living a life of sin unforgiven!  He couldn’t walk/work/worship [Levitical law forbad him to enter into the temple as a lame man!  So he sits outside at the door of it.]

Samson let sin have place in his life, and it turned on him, and he was bound, eyes poked out, and he ground all day at the mill [sin: binds/blinds/grinds]


  • The contrast of v. 2—Gate beautiful…historians tell us this was the eastern gate, made of Corinthian brass, overlaid w/ gold and silver…the sun would rise over the eastern mtns. And this entrance to the temple was dazzlingly brilliant!  And worth a fortune…but laying at it is this man who is marred, disfigured, distorted, outcast.  This gate is wealth, this man is woe.  Loveliness/lameness


  • Though man can make some things beautiful, man cannot make himself beautiful…only God can do that!  Oh, you can do some things to the outside…this man could have cut his hair, shave, dress up…but he still would have been lame

[same w/ us cleaning up our lives, going to church…but w/out the Lord coming inside to cleanse and forgive and save, we are still spiritually lame!] 

Crime up?  Authorities say, “we need more education!”  Educate a thief and you just have a smarter thief [embezzle!]

        We don’t need reformation, we need transformation!


We’ve seen the man…now


  1. The miracle

v. 3-8      

  • This miracle could not be reasonably denied

v. 11        Every day they walked past him, a nuisance, prob. resenting him…and now he’s running, leaping, praising God…they couldn’t argue w/ that!

  • This miracle could not be humanly explained

v. 12        “don’t look at us, we didn’t do it!”

  • So, this miracle could not be lightly dismissed

v. 13-16   “Jesus healed this man…the Jesus you denied, whose blood is on your hands!  You can’t get away from Him…He is your Messiah, and you must face it!”

        It always comes back to that…life brings us round and round again to the same point of decision, will we accept Jesus or not?

[these Jews couldn’t get away from it…they felt like the guy who bought a new boomerang but seriously injured himself trying to throw the old one away!]

ill.—all of history revolves around Him…it is His Story


[history class “in 1492, Columbus…/bc or ad?/what does ad mean? Bc?  Teacher, if all of history revolves around Jesus, shouldn’t we be talking about Him?]


This miracle could not be reasonably denied/humanly explained/lightly dismissed…


The man/miracle…


  1. The message

v. 6          not apologizing, but bragging!

        Peter could have given him money, but he still would have been the same man!  Peter gave him something much better, a new beginning!

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