The Man at the “Beautiful Gate”
Every morning, a team of my nephews and second cousins carry me to the place where I spend the working hours of each day. My relatives divide the effort between them, because they’ve done it for more than thirty years. I’ve been crippled with weak feet and ankles all my life, and I’m over forty.
The Levites and Sanhedrin allow me to beg at the “Beautiful Gate” on the east side of the Temple. It’s a decent place. Visitors to the Temple usually bring monetary offerings, and most of them willingly do a mitzvah by giving to the poor. I’ve seen Jesus—and the crowd that surrounded him—enter the Temple grounds many times, but although I reached out, he never stopped to heal me. After this last Passover, I haven’t seen him pass any more.
I see Peter and John walk by, and I call, “A beka, a pim, by the grace of the Lord.” They stop.
Peter approaches my mat in the shadows at the foot of the wall. He regards me for so long that I break my eye contact.
Peter commands, “Look at us,” in his raspy voice and strong Galilean accent. Most of my donors simply toss their coins on my mat.
“Silver or gold I do not have,” he says. “But what I have, I give you.”
I sag against the wall. After all these years of judging the characters of passers by, I’ve been mistaken. I need coins. How else can I buy food at the market? What could he have to give that I need more than money?
Peter’s eyes twinkle as though he knows the world’s greatest surprise, as he leans forward and grips my shoulder. “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk.”
He shifts his grip to my right hand and helps me stand. My feet and ankles support me! With a hop of excitement, I take several steps away from my mat. I can enter the Temple courts for the first time, and look people in the face, instead of being looked down upon as my relatives carry my mat. When I can’t contain my excitement any longer, I jump, despite the surrounding crowds. I praise God at the top of my lungs.
I’ve been such a fixture in the temple landscape that everyone knows me. The throng surrounds us and presses so close that I hold on to Peter and John. The crowd’s gawking angers Peter.
“Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk,” he says. “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you know was made strong.”
The Temple guards arrive, and the crowd flees. I stay outside Peter and John’s prison cell, though my relatives urge me to come home. When Peter testifies before the Sanhedrin, I stand with him. I stare into each man’s eyes, and they look away, speechless.
Heidi Dru Kortman DTM
God's gifts and call are irrevocable.
Heidi Dru Kortman, a CWG Apprentice graduate, ACFW member since 2004, and Word Weaver member has published devotionals in various newsletters, and a collected volume of devotionals. Her poetry, flash fiction, and short stories have appeared in small magazines, and a website. She is applying herself to the task of writing smoothly polished fiction.