May 19, 2020

The Grinning Leaper

Acts 3:1–10

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The Lame Beggar Healed

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.1 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.


[1] 3:1 That is, 3 p.m.

The Grinning Leaper

Key Verse | Acts 3:6

But Peter said, "I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!"

Bio | Heather Timmons

I was this beggar. I, too, was lame and vulnerable and crying out for help. In 2015, chronic pain had me walking with a cane—but it was really my soul that was crushed. I had sunk into deep isolation and depression. But in His compassion, God used His Word and His body to draw my gaze back to Him and lift me from the depression and isolation that were strangling my soul. Today, you can find me "walking and leaping and praising God" at Refuge, Watermark's ministry for the chronically ill and their caregivers, and at Women's Bible Study.

Central Truth

Are you hurting? Hungry? Helpless? Take heart. Your Father in heaven has restoration in store for all who look to Him.

Devotional | Acts 3:1–10

Did you awaken today with a sense of need?

We read the lame man was "being carried," powerless in his own life. Have you been there, feeling victimized by disease, disappointment, heartache, or...

Did you awaken today with a sense of need?

We read the lame man was "being carried," powerless in his own life. Have you been there, feeling victimized by disease, disappointment, heartache, or circumstances beyond your control?

Like him, our palms may be outstretched, feebly wishing for what will get us through the day: a meager bit of acceptance, security, stability, comfort, relief. Just spare pocket change.

Like him, we may be lying outside the temple gate, our fellowship broken. Passivity in our relationship with God leads to a languishing soul.

But our compassionate Father doesn't wait for us to earn His intervention or prove our devotion. He reaches out to us!

Watch what happens when Peter and John encounter this man:

Peter looks at him, acknowledging his humanity.

Peter speaks to him, affording him dignity.

Peter instructs him, inviting him to participate in this process.

Then, radically exceeding the man's expectations, Peter touches him

And, glorious moment, Peter raises him up to complete restoration. All glory to God!


With utmost gratitude, I profess that this mirrors my own experience. From brokenness and apathy, I was abruptly raised up and made strong. Inexplicably, my knees were made stronger and in a few short months I went from using a cane around my little home to running (breathlessly!). But the real gift, the real miracle, is what happened in my heart. His Word revived me and brought strength to my faith. His promises became sturdy bones on which to stand. 

Did you notice the first thing this man did with his newfound mobility? He stood up and walked into the temple to worship the God who raised him up. The temple outside of which he had for so long lain, he now walked into with praise, inspiring praise in others as he went.

Today, I walk and leap and praise God. I still have pain, so the leaping is mainly metaphorical, but the praise is real! God is good and abundantly merciful.

Join me in praising Him today, so that those around us may watch in amazement at what God does.

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Discussion Questions

1. If you were seated outside the temple, palms extended, asking for alms, what is the "gold" that you would be yearning for? What is your expectation? What greater thing might God have in store for you instead?

2. If you were to "walk and leap" in front of others today (Acts 3:8), what would your song of praise include?

3. "All the people" recognized the man from the Beautiful Gate, and they saw how he had been changed (Acts 3:9-10). Do those in your life have cause to marvel at what God has done in you? How might you share your story this week?

4. As the Body of Christ, we, like Peter, are entrusted with "something greater than gold" to give others in the name of Jesus Christ. Who is in your life today that you could reach out to, perhaps someone that many others pass by? Will you take time to stop and respond to that opportunity, as Peter and John did?

8 Comments available

Annie Matthews about 1 month ago

Thank you, Heather!! What you said above, “Passivity in our relationship leads to a languishing soul.” Wow. I know that’s pretty much common sense, but it hit me where I needed to be hit today. Thank you!!

Anne Rodgers 3 months ago
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Sue Bohlin I had the same song in my head. Thank you for always pointing us to God’s mighty ways Heather! The way you talk about our Lord in Bible study reflects how much you love Him.

Greg Jones 3 months ago

Heather, love your story.

Lame from brith and carried daily, he was known as the lame guy outside the gate. Being outside the gate didn’t seem to make anyone uncomfortable. I’m thinking the people who faithfully carried him daily were probably front and center of those amazed once they saw him inside.

Outsiders on the inside? It’s all good till the somebodies find out.

John Hall 3 months ago

That is fantastic Heather. Praise God!!

Michael Scaman 3 months ago

Peter grabs the beggar by the hand and pulls him up. (this better work because if he isn’t healed it’s going to be tragic and embarrassing). A leaping for joy previously crippled man speaks much of Jesus.

SPOILER ALERT!!! Paul will also heal a crippled man at Lystra later and in fact will follow the same order of things Peter did, acting them out in gentile territory validating God’s approval for Paul’s apostleship

Aaron Young 3 months ago

thank you for your story and questions!

Sue Bohlin 3 months ago

Super, super, super devo, Heather!

“Walking and leaping and praising God” is the effect of the formerly lame beggar receiving healing, but it’s also a picture of what God does in our spirit when He brings transformation that makes us more and more like Jesus.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, I have been building a list of examples and illustrations of what sanctification looks like, and today’s story makes #13.

By the way, one of the first Bible songs I learned as a new believer was from this story. It ran in my head as I read today’s passage:

Hugh Stephenson 3 months ago

GM Heather. Love this devo, your story and the truth that we are all lame beggars.

Q1 - For what am I begging?

Probably peace. But God promises me peace, (Philippians 4:6-7).

Joy? Also promised, (John 15:10-11).

Rest? Bingo, (Matthew 11:28-30)

Purpose? Bingo again! (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Provision? Well, that’s one of God’s names, (

Freedom from fear and anxiety? God tells me not to fear. He actually commands it. Hundreds of times,

On reflection, God shows me that Jesus had every one of these plus everything else that He needed. Why? Because He knew God and trusted Him.

A friend refers to himself as a beggar at a feast. I love this.

What I’m begging for is bread and water.

My sin yields adversity and affliction, (Isaiah 30:20).

But He gives me the Bread of Life, (John 6:35) and Living Water, (John 4:10).

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