Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralyzed. And 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."
I've read this portion of Scripture multiple times, but have never really thought about this. At this point in my Bible reading plan I'll have read through all of the gospels in a row. I get used to the blind seeing, the mute talking, the crippled healed, etc, so this is how I'll usually read this passage:
Peter went to some place and healed a guy who was paralyzed and everyone was amazed.
Here's what I've missed out on by reading this way:
- This is a great picture of salvation. We were paralyzed in our sins, wanting to move, but couldn't. We could only lay in our beds and do nothing for the glory of God. I would use what strength I had to sit up to watch television, play video games, or waste time in other ways. Without warning, God healed Aeneas and He does the same with us.
- Once we're healed there is a call to rise. No more laying in our beds, no more living for sin, for self; we must rise! If we do fall into sin, then we immediately rise to repent and trust Jesus with our all. Proverbs affirms this and says that "the righteous falls seven times and rises again". This rising is the summation of the New Testament. What happened in beginning of the Old Testament? It was the fall of Adam and Eve, or the fall of mankind. What happens in the New? Jesus rises from the dead! Not only this, but he's constantly calling the sick, the dead, or the apostles to rise.
- For whatever reason, this guy was commanded to make his bed... right after he was healed from being paralyzed for years. What a thing! Peter didn't say, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and go be an open air preacher." The command was simple, but it was powerful: "...rise and make your bed." There is a practical call here.
- There is nothing special mentioned about what Aeneas did to be an instrument in the saving of all of the people of Lydda and Sharon, except rising and making his bed. God, at times, saves men by saving men. Watching a man, who was spiritually paralyzed, walk is a testimony to the power of God. Men see it and must admit that something happened. The portion of Scripture here doesn't mention Aeneas handing out a single tract or talking to a single individual (not saying he didn't do these things, but they're not mentioned). It seems as though he merely lived a normal, 9 to 5, Christian life. Nothing special about him other than the fact that God caused him to rise and make his bed.