Friday, 17 December 2021
Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. Acts 3:10
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen).
You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).
When the people saw the man joyously walking and praising God, Luke says, “Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms.” The word translated as “knew” signifies to recognize. Jesus used the word when saying, “you will know them by their fruits.” One sees, he recognizes, and an understanding is realized. So it is with this man.
But the verb is in the imperfect tense – “they “were knowing,” or “they were recognizing.” The use of the imperfect brings life to what is said. It wasn’t as if everyone knew, but that one realized it and then another and then another. Thus, the bewildering nature of the event becomes evident.
At times, it is hard to place someone that we see, “I am sure I know that guy.” But because of the context of where he is regularly seen has changed, his identity is just out of grasp. Once the mind remembers the context, then the understanding is realized – “Oh! That is John who works at the grocery store!”
This is how it was for the people. They each saw the man, the identity seemed familiar, but the context was missing. But all of a sudden, one after another began to realize that he…. this man! was the beggar “at the Beautiful Gate of the temple.”
One can sense the knowledge suddenly being realized and the overwhelming sense of bewilderment flooding over the crowd. “How can this be?” Luke masterfully brings us into the narrative to feel the experience. One can sense what may have been said. “That guy has been sitting at the temple gate for years and years. His legs were twisted and emaciated. In fact, I just saw him there as I passed fifteen minutes ago… and now this? What does this mean?” As such, Luke records, “and they were filled with wonder and amazement.”
The word translated as “wonder” is unique to Luke’s writings, being seen now for the last of three times. It signifies astonishment that is allied with terror or awe. One could think of being stunned or dumbfounded. What is witnessed is just beyond the ability of the mind to grasp. The word translated as “amazement,” ekstasis, is obviously the root to our modern word “ecstasy.” Its direct meaning is “to completely remove.” As such, it means to confuse the mind so that it reaches out beyond ordinary perception. In this case, the minds of the people verge on a sense of overwhelming delight that something incomprehensible has taken place “at what had happened to him.”
The miracle that occurred wasn’t something that was far off. It was something in their midst. And it wasn’t something that occurred to someone they didn’t know, as if it could be the word of a charlatan. Rather, it happened to someone almost every single person would have seen at one time or another. Nothing could be more striking to imagine. The effects of seeing the man could not have made a greater impact upon those who now stood beholding him.
Life application: There are many people with great afflictions of the body around us. We know of blind people, crippled people, and people with various chronic diseases or maladies. This is a part of the human condition. We will pray for those we know, and there are times where it is heard that a true miracle occurs, and they are healed. But for many, the malady continues throughout the person’s entire life, and then he or she dies.
If such people are believers in Christ, it will only make what is coming next for them even more wonderful. They spent a lifetime in pain, being incapacitated, being shunned, or whatever. But when they are called forth from the grave at the rapture, there will be an instantaneous change. The body they will possess will be incorruptible, and it will be perfectly suited for an eternity in the presence of God.
For those who were pretty healthy when they died (or are raptured), the change will be no less incredible. Our bodies, even when in pretty great shape, have times of sickness, overwhelming tiredness, sadness, and so on. Such things will be forever behind us when we are off to meet the Lord. Hold fast to this truth. The life we live now is temporary and it is passing away. Fix your eyes on what lies ahead and be ready for glory that you cannot even imagine when Christ comes for His people. The day will be like none other!
Lord God, we are hoping Jesus will be back soon to deliver us from this body of corruption into our eternal home. Amen.