Daily Reading: (Acts 9:32-35):
“As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years. “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.”
The town of Lydda was positioned on the great caravan road between Babylon and Egypt, near its intersection with that from Joppa to Jerusalem and the East. Its position meant trade for the inhabitants. Sacks, saddles and strappings needing repair would create the skilled labor in cloth, leather, wood and metal that made the neighborhood once known as the valley of craftsmen.
Is Aeneas a believer or not? One camp says Aeneas was not a believer and their argument is because he is called a certain man here not a certain disciple like Luke in Acts later writes to describe Tabitha. I don’t agree with that 19th century argument because it says in verse 32, the verse that just came before it, “as Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people…” and the first person mentioned after that statement is that he visited I nay as. I believe Aeneas was a believer and what strikes me here is this is a child of God (Acts 9:32) did not necessarily know what Jesus had made available to him, physical healing (Acts 9:34). He was bed-ridden for eight years. How long did this man know Jesus for we cannot be certain.
“Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. It is a done deal. This is done in the present tense meaning that it is an announcement of a fact that comes true even as Peter says the words.
“Get up and roll up your mat.” Get up and do what you haven’t done for eight years. There are some things that maybe you haven’t been able to do for awhile. Maybe you thought your days of doing whatever are over. I am too old, I am too paralyzed by fear, whatever the case may be. Jesus Christ heals you, now demonstrate your faith of that healing by doing the thing you thought you would never do again, “roll up your mat”.
When it says that “all those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord” it is important to understand the geography even further. The Plain of Sharon is not a town. The Plain of Sharon is thirty miles long from Joppa to Caesarea. One man believes the Gospel glad tidings of [in this case physical] salvation available in Christ and the result was for over thirty miles everyone believed.