My legs contracted and relaxed as I ran with breathless gusto. Aided by supple muscles and sinewy ropes charged with life, I was an unshackled wind. My feet thudded along, scattered and flung sand as I ran after my son. Chest heaving with excitement, I caught up with him and we collapsed onto the sandy beach, laughing deliriously. At that moment the floodgates of my mind opened up and overwhelmed me. The past immersed me in the ocean of yesterday’s images. It had not always been like this….
…..The temple filled the landscape and the senses with imposing grandeur. Pillars rose into heaven with sculpted magnificence that dominated the skies. However, the beauty around me was the least of my concerns. I was more enwrapped in the motions of my livelihood, chief amongst which was keen observation.
A tidal flow of people rushed into the temple as I watched. Some steps were hurried, others languid. There were the animated and the lethargic, the single and the married, the noble and the base. But one common factor was obvious, they were all in need. The people were handicapped, albeit in different ways. They were lame in life’s different dimensions, spiritual, physical, marital, financial, and mental, just name it. However, most where oblivious to this as they walked past me with unseeing eyes except for a charitable few.
Telling them they were like me would have made them spit in your face but they actually were. Like me, the temple goers were also looking for handouts; main difference was that they were looking upwards while I looked horizontally. They implored a divine hand while mine were physical hands. Like me, a lame man at the Beautiful gate of the temple, we were all challenged. I was an ugly situation at a beautiful gate, an incongruity that usually made me chuckle to myself, while they presented horrible situations before the altar of a glorious temple. Bottom line was the ugly juxtaposed the beautiful.
I was a master of the alms trade but most of the temple goers did not know what to do to access the hand of the God they seek. I was an expert at profiling my benefactors, but they did not know the One of whom they asked for help. For the most of forty years, I had been carrying out my duties dutifully to survive. I am quite adept at what I do.
It was 3pm, the normal time for prayer meeting and the frenzied pace of worshippers was even more frenetic than usual. This was usually one of the peak points of my trade and for most business people who were milling around the temple seeking profit.
I zeroed in on two pleasant looking men. They looked like ordinary folks different from many of the heavy robed priests hurrying along. Shorn of the heavy paraphernalia of religiosity that weighed down the typical temple priests, there was a certain kind of kind aura around them which my shark like instincts perceived. They looked so charitable in their simplicity.
“Good Sirs, may God bless you as you show some kindness to a neighbour,” I chanted in my sing song voice.
“Fix your gaze on us!” One of them replied.
My heart soared! The way the man made his utterance made my heart leap with joy. Most people pass me by in a furtive way even when they drop coins in my bowl. To meet someone asking me to look directly at him made me know I was about to strike riches wealthier than King Solomon’s.
Then he followed his initial statement with a heart sinking line “silver and gold I have none….”
At that point, my attention shifted. The arrow of disappointment made my heart plummet with the speed of a wounded bird. Who were these jokers? One minute they were raising my hopes, the next they were dashing it.
I was already shifting my gaze to another “customer” when they continued…
……“but what I do have I give you…”
That piqued my interest again. The man had something to give but if not money what was it?
…“In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth…..”
I lost interest again; these two were amongst the nutcases that have infected Jerusalem with the name of the Carpenter who was murdered by Roman Legionnaires. Was it the name of a dead man that I was going to buy the freshly baked bread that I usually favoured from Benjamin’s bakery?
However, the authority with which he proclaimed the name of Jesus caught my attention and made curiosity flare. I looked at those eyes again and they burned with fiery favour. There was something about these men.
….”RISE UP AND WALK!!!”
Suddenly, it was like time stood still. Something rippled in the atmosphere; a form of invisible lightening seemed to strike my withered legs. Dead muscles started to vibrate and tingle.
What was happening to me? I wondered. I felt like I could walk and almost laughed at the absurdity of my fantasy. Who was I kidding?
At that moment, the man helped me stand to my feet. I was overwhelmed at the fact that beyond calling the name, he offered support. He did not just walk away. With his support, I found out I could stand, then I took two faltering steps, tottering in the process but he held me strongly until I was steady.
This was absolutely amazing. Forty years old malady had been transformed in minutes. The disciples of the Nazarene were right. The man was not just a carpenter, He is a Saviour. It is only God that could have wrought such miracle. He had reversed a lifelong issue in an instant.
Jesus’ name is chock full of possibilities, it was a key that opened up the doors of limitations. His name brought hope out of a hopeless situation. He had triggered life out of the wet deadwood of my impotence. My life had gone from ugly to beautiful!
I started running! People could not believe I was the one. They gawked and pointed at me. Everyone was shouting and screaming, others rushed into the temple to find out what was going on. It was pure pandemonium.
I could not believe that I had gotten outside the temple gate what people had been rushing inside to possess, a divine touch. God reached out to me where I was! It was what happened outside that even made a limitless crowd rush into Solomon’s Porch within. God was everywhere; His name brings about wonders anywhere! All that was needed was people who had enough faith to spark off the power in His name.
I could not contain myself. I jumped, leaped, screamed and sang unremittingly…
There is no name so sweet
Like Jesus name
The son of God
Who died on cross
THIS STORY IS IN ACTS 3
Behold, I will do a new thing………
Images from Google
©2015 Ekpo Ezechinyere