At the Scene of a Wicked Problem


Acts 3:1-3 (NIV)

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame 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. 


“The Spirit of Jesus in me greets the Spirit of Jesus in you and brings us together in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.”

Today, like yesterday and also like tomorrow, we come to another “day after the Day of Pentecost” moment. Acts Chapter 3 perhaps offers the consummate example of just how stunning the difference is between the day before the day of Pentecost and the day after. Truth be told, though, there is only one difference between these two days separated by one day. The difference is the day in between, which is the Day of Pentecost itself. Let’s flesh it out now. 

Here is the scene of every day before the Day of Pentecost:

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame 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.

Did you pick up those two little words? In case not, they were “every day.” This “man who was lame from birth” was there every day. You could have set your clock by it.  The same was probably true of Peter and John (and a whole lot of other people). The “time of prayer—at three in the afternoon”—also happened “every day.” Same street. Same gate. Same people. Same beggar. Same prayer meeting. Everyday. This was their “every day” world. It is our “every day” world too. 

We are at the scene of a wicked problem. And here’s the kicker. We are also at the gate to the temple. It gets better. The gate has a name. It is called, “Beautiful.” Here we are. It’s the day after the Day of Pentecost and we find ourselves at the intersection of a gate called Beautiful and a wicked problem. And did I mention we are on our way to a prayer meeting? 

So I’m going to leave it there for today. Might as well get your things off the bus, pitch a tent, and unpack your bags. Obviously, we will be here a while. 

In the meantime, as we are surveying the scene of this wicked problem, (on the day after the Day of Pentecost no less) let’s ask each other a hard question. What exactly is the problem? 

Still Day One. 


God our Father, who with your son Jesus Messiah, fills us with the Holy Spirit, thank you for the miracle and the mystery of the day of Pentecost. And thank you for today, and that it is only the day after. Holy Spirit, usher us deep into this intersection, of a gate called Beautiful and a wicked problem. Save us from thin activism that makes us feel better without touching the problem. Open the eyes of our hearts. Give to us the Spirit of Revelation that we might see you and this unnamed lame beggar as the same person. Wake us up. Praying in Jesus’ name, Amen. 


How about it? There are “the problems” and then there is “The Problem.” Let’s see if we can just begin cataloging problems and perhaps insight will emerge on the Problem. We have a very active Facebook Group around the Daily Text. The conversation is both rich and respectful. If you are so inclined, join us there and add your insight today. 

P.S. Holy Spirit Summer Reading Assignment

O.K., a lot of you joined the Summer Book Club featuring Ivan Filby’s (a layman mind you) marvelous, short, and power-packed book, LiveStream: Learning to Minister in the Power of the Holy Spirit. I know everyone didn’t have the bandwidth for the book club. But I still want you to read the book! Grab a copy here today. You will thank me later. And “You’re welcome.” ;o) If you can’t afford it, reply to this email and we will scholarship you a book. (Thank You SeedTeam!)

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. Spiritual blindness may be humanity’s biggest problem. The “ordinary-izing” of the wonders of everyday life hardens our heart to the spectacular world that we live in and to the actions of God that occur both within us and around us until “God sightings” become extremely rare.

  2. You seem to be asking: What is the Problem here with this lame beggar being carried to the gate to the temple, named Beautiful?
    First of all, this beggar in my opinion, represents us as humanity corrupted and broken by sin in the world.
    Secondly, he was being carried to an entrance to the temple, which represents the place of meeting with God.
    Thirdly, the folks who would enter in here at this gate would be forced to notice and perhaps contribute alms to help this man just eek by one day at a time.
    Fourthly, do to his infirmity, he would have been considered “unclean “ and therefore unable to enter into the temple courts where he to could come into an encounter with God. I believe that these factors contribute to what is referred to as a wicked problem, if I understand that’s the proper definition.

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