One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer – at three in the afternoon. Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 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. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
The Jewish work day began at 6:00 a.m. and ended at 6:00 p.m. During this 12 hour stretch devout male Jews whould pray three times – basically morning, noon and night. They could pray anywhere but believed that their prayers were more precious and effective if offered in the Temple. They believed God answered prayer!
It is interesting that they were, as Jewish Christians – Jewish by ethic group and birth and Christian by belief and faith – still holding to the customs and traditions in which they were raised and trained. It should be stated that Jesus was not against tradition as if it was, in itself, a bad thing. He was against any tradition that took the focus off of God and in any way denied the real power of the Word of God. If a tradition robbed God of His position or His power Jesus would speak against it.
It seems apparent that the disciples and first apostles recognized and knew that the new faith and the old disciplines could walk hand-in-hand.
The beggars would sit at the entrance to the Temple because it was a good place to beg alms (money for them because they were poor and unable to work). Those coming to pray and worship came to impress God with their pious good works – so a lucrative place to beg for funds.
The miracle of the healing of the beggar was quite a miracle because he had been lame from birth and so had never walked. And, it was a terrific and instant testimony because every Jewish male would know who he was having seen him three times a day as they entered the Temple courts to pray. God knows how to make an impression.
It was obvious throughout the Gospels that Jesus upheld the Jewish traditions. He did, however, speak against any man-made tradition that took people away from their focus on God or that eliminated the power of God as found in faith and the Word of God (example: Matthew 15:6).
I believe that what is most important in our walk with God as found and given to us through Jesus Christ is to have His life (zoe) flowing through us. Whatever helps that life to flow (daily prayer, Bible reading, corporate worship services) should be encouraged and anything that takes life away or does nothing to keep life flowing needs to be removed.
When a baby is conceived there is no structure just life in the mother’s womb.As the life grows then structure comes along to help that life thrive and continue to exist – hands, feet, toes, a nose. Structure supports and encourages life.
When the structure is no longer needed to support life it is dismantled and removed. Otherwise the tendency is to focus on the structure to maintain it and not to flow with the life. As a result – you would have dead traditions.
So, when a baby is born the cord that attaches it to his or her mother – that has fed the baby for 9 months and kept it alive – is no longer needed. So, this structure is now removed (cut). If it is not – then it endangers the life of the child.
Any tradition or structure that supports the flow and grow of spiritual life should be maintained and is good. Any tradition or structure that does not support the continued growth and flow of life needs to be removed and thrown away as something that was once ‘of God’ and beneficial but no longer needed.
It might be a good time to examine the things we do as routine (tradition) on a daily basis in our spiritual walk to see if they are still supporting and encouraging “life” or whether they are now simply nice traditions that either are neutral or that actually harm the life flow in the Spirit. If the latter then we need to remove them as these ‘traditions’ are harmful to your relationship with God.