Acts 3:1-10, in the spirit of the season!

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 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. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 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!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 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.

The following whimsical musical version was prepared with classmates for an assignment by Professor Howard Hendricks in his Bible Study Methods class at Dallas Theological Seminary in December 1977: we were to fashion a creative retelling of Acts 3:1-10, and since it was the Christmas season, carols seemed to be an appropriate vehicle!

(sing to tune of “It Came upon a Midnight Clear”)
It came about in Jerusalem,
At the ninth hour of the day,
That John and Peter, our heroes,
Went to the temple to pray.
A beggar, lame from his mother’s womb
They met along the way;
This man would daily sit by the gate
To beg for what he may.

(sing to tune of “The First Noel”)
He look-ed up and asked them for alms,
With the old classic gesture, the open palms.
But that preachers are all poor, we need hardly to tell;
An experienced beggar, you’d think he’d know well,
Know well,
Know well,
Know well,
Know well,
An experienced beggar, you’d think he’d know well.

(And Peter said:)

(sing to tune of “Away in a Manger”)
“I’m living on faith and I ain’t got* no bread;    [*fisherman jargon]
The apostle business is still in the red;
And taking an off’ring’s not yet invented.
But how ‘bout a miracle maybe instead?”

(to tune of “Joy to the World”)
“All praise to God, I now can walk!
Just see them stand and gawk!
I’ll walk and leap and praise His name,
And all will see and shout His fame.
I used to sit and wait
Down by the temple gate—
For signs and wonders how does that rate?”

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel! (17)

Here are two mysteries for the price of one
     the plurality of persons within the unity of God,
     and the union of Godhead and manhood in the person of Jesus.
It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas,
that the profoundest and most unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation tie.

“The Word became flesh,” John 1:14; God became man; the divine Son became a Jew;
the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and talked to like any other child.

And there was no illusion or deception in this:
the babyhood of the son of God was reality.
The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this truth of the incarnation.

—J. I. Packer, Knowing God, 58

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel! (16)

There is no Gospel at all if Christ be not God.
It is no news to me to tell me that a great prophet is born.
There have been great prophets before;
but the world has never been redeemed from evil
by mere testimony to the truth, and it never will be.
But tell me that God is born,
that God Himself has espoused our nature,
and taken it into union with Himself,
that God Himself has espoused our nature,
and taken it into union with Himself,
then the bells of my heart ring merry peals,
for now may I come to God, since God has come to me.

—Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Christ’s Incarnation

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel! (15)

The very possibility of the incarnation of the Son of God itself rests on our possession of the image. It is because man fundamentally reflects the personal character of God that God himself can take on flesh and blood. We can make sense of incarnation only in the light of what we know already about the constitution of man as the highest of all the creatures of God, whom God has made for fellowship with himself. The high dignity which this confers upon human existence is radically underscored by the union of divine and human natures in Jesus Christ. God commits himself to us forever by clothing his own Son with human nature.

—Nigel M. de S. Cameron, Complete in Christ, 27

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel! (14)

Christianity is a faith of paradox.

The key paradox to all paradoxes is the Incarnation. We confess Jesus to be the God-Man. Both. Not one or the other, but both. We can stress his deity to the point of forgetting his humanity. We can focus on his humanity to the point of denying his divinity.

The truth of the Incarnation is not an either/or but a both/and.

—Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Worship (email) 10/29/03

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel! (12)

Although the humanity of Jesus may be the least contested of all Christian doctrines today, it is hardly the least significant. While He was no mere man, the Christian faith depends as surely on His being ‘very man’ as it does on his being ‘very God’. The two ascriptions which to the skeptic are, respectively, trivial and incredible, interlock inextricably in the mystery of the incarnation. There could be no incarnation without a Jesus who was divine, but it is no less necessary that Jesus was human. The Word was made flesh.

—Nigel M. de S. Cameron, Complete in Christ, 12