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Acts 9:32–35

“Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.’ And immediately he rose. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord” (vv. 34–35).

Peter’s ministry constitutes one of the main emphases of the book of Acts, and although other figures appear in chapters 1–12 of Luke’s historical narrative, Peter plays a dominant role. In today’s passage, Luke returns to the Apostle Peter, describing some of his work in and around Judea.

Acts 9:32 indicates that “Peter went here and there among them all.” He engaged in an itinerant preaching and teaching ministry, taking the gospel to those who had not heard it and strengthening the Christian congregations that had already been established. During his travels, Peter came to the saints in the city at Lydda, a town located between Jerusalem and Joppa. Lydda stood about twenty-five miles northwest of Jerusalem, and while most of the citizens of Lydda were Jewish, there were also a number of gentiles there. Lydda was an important commercial center located at the center of one of ten administrative districts in Judea, so it was a natural place for Peter to spend some time.

In Lydda, Peter found a man named Aeneas. Luke does not tell us much about Aeneas except that he suffered from paralysis and had been bedridden for eight years (v. 33). Most likely, commentators argue, Aeneas was already a believer in Jesus Christ, so Peter ministered to him as a brother in the Lord. Seeing Aeneas, Peter told him that Jesus was healing him and that he must get up and make his bed. Aeneas did as he was told, his mobility having been restored to him (v. 34). Note that Peter says that Jesus healed Aeneas, not Peter himself. In all the miracles wrought by the Apostles, the Apostles themselves were not bringing about the acts of power; rather, they were conduits of the grace and strength of God. All of God’s people are but servants through whom the Lord does His work (see 2 Cor. 2:14).

Aeneas’ healing led to the conversion of many people; Acts 9:35 tells us that the residents of Lydda and Sharon “turned to the Lord.” “Sharon” refers to the coastal Plain of Sharon, the geographical region where Lydda stood. About a day’s journey by foot from Lydda on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and on the Plain of Sharon was Joppa, an important port city. Joppa also had a mixed population of Jews and gentiles, but there were many more gentiles there than in Lydda. The next major event in Peter’s ministry would take place in Joppa as the gospel continued to move outward from the city of Jerusalem (vv. 36–43).

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

All the power that God’s people have for ministry comes not from themselves but from the Lord Himself. Only as we acknowledge that we act by the strength of the Holy Spirit and seek to be used by Him can we have any hope of success in ministry. Relying on our own wisdom and power is a sure recipe for failure.

For further study
  • Judges 14:5–6
  • Zechariah 4:6
  • Acts 1:8
  • Ephesians 3:14–21
The bible in a year
  • 2 Samuel 6–8
  • Luke 19:11–27

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From the April 2024 Issue
Apr 2024 Issue