There is a wonderful story in Acts 3 in which Peter and John are hurrying to pray at a temple. En route, they encounter a man, crippled from birth, who is being carried to the place where he begs for alms -- as he does every day.
The two disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit, pause when the man asks them for money.
"Then Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.' Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God." (Acts 3: 6-8)
All of this transpired, scripture tells us, at the gate called Beautiful.
It seems it is often through God's concept of "beautiful" that we enter into His glory.
Im Mark 14, a woman pours expensive perfume on the head of Jesus. His disciples rebuke her for wasting something valuable. But Jesus responds:
"Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me." (Mark 14: 6-7)
Again, what appeared beautiful to Christ at first looks wasteful -- even unjust -- to his disciples.
But Jesus is very aware of how men use their ideas of beauty to explain away their own sins. Look at how He characterizes those who follow religious laws without paying heed to their own hearts.
"Blind Pharisee!" He exclaims in Matthew 23: 26-28. "First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."
And look at the way Jesus humbles himself to wash His disciples' feet -- feet that are anything but beautiful after tracking through the dirt and animal wastes of town.
Feet that do God's bidding are singled out in scripture -- again with the word "beautiful-- in Isaiah 52:7:
"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'"
When our feet are on that path ... we may find ourselves standing once more at the gate called Beautiful.
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