Now as Peter went here and there among all the believers, he came down also to the saints living in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, for he was paralysed. Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!’ And immediately he got up. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.
We know very little about Aeneas other than his name and that he had been bedridden for eight years. And we are not told why this man was bedridden. What we can only do is to speculate. Thank God the number of years Aeneas suffered did not prevent the mercy of God through Jesus Christ from making him whole.
What is the point of this brief healing story? Out of all the many things Peter did, why does Luke choose to include this story? Luke reminds us of the power of Jesus during his earthly ministry to heal the broken as well as the power he gave his disciples to restore others with broken bodies. Luke wants us to realise that, although Jesus might not have been physically present when Peter performed this miracle, his presence was still known and was felt by the Apostle.
Luke tells us that when Aeneas was healed everyone was amazed. He goes to say that as a result of this healing many people in the whole town turned to the Lord. The healing shows that the sharing of the Gospel does not have to be solely words, but it can also happen through actions.
Peter clearly says to Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you, not I heal. The incident before us is a testimony that although Jesus is no longer physically here on earth, miracles that he had been doing were done and are still done by him through other people. The continuation of the healing ministry by the Church today reminds us of the amazing and loving acts of grace that God gives.
Creator God, give us faith and courage to believe that Jesus still longs to bless others today as we call on his mighty name as our Christ and Lord to help us. We ask for the Holy Spirit to fill us and move us to a more expectant faith. Amen.
The Rev’d Samuel Silungwe, Minister, Rockingham Forest Group, Kettering.