Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda. There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed. And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.” Then he arose immediately. So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. (Acts 9:32-35)
A Great Story Of Conversion
We live in a hard world that denies Jesus as the Christ. The Bible is the full testimony of His love for man but man does not love the Christ. Two thousand years after He came men still fail to embrace the evidence of Jesus being the Son of God. This was the case when Jesus walked among men. But there were times when everything clicked and people with honest hearts saw the real power of God believing in the Christ.
The area of Lydda and Sharon was about a day’s journey from Jerusalem. Earlier Philip the evangelist had gone through this area teaching in all the cities (Acts 8:40). The city of Lydda was about five miles east of Joppa. Sharon was a plain about thirty miles long between Joppa and Caesarea. When Peter arrived in Lydda he found a man that had been infirmed eight years. Aeneas was a well-known invalid who lived with the tragedy of being bed ridden because he was paralyzed. There were no surgeries to mend him. He remained in bed for eight years. Peter only spoke to the man. Like Jesus before him Peter called for the man to rise and gather his bed. Aeneas did immediately (not like the so-called faith healers of today where a gradual faint of ‘healing’ happens). He got up and walked. And a lot of people saw it.
What happened to Aeneas was a miracle. What happened to the people in the city of Lydda and those living in the plain of Sharon was remarkable. When all the people saw the bed-ridden man walking they turned to the Lord. They had honest hearts. Their eyes saw the wonder of God’s healing power and they asked no questions. There would be no discussion about how long had the man been paralyzed or whether it was a true healing or not. They knew without a doubt the impossibility of Aeneas being healed yet there he stood. The decision to obey was immediate.
The gospel of Christ is more powerful than the healing of the man from Lydda. Sadly few people can see its glory today and turn to the Lord. This does not suggest (as many brethren believe) that no one will listen today. The reason this is a great story is to remind us that honest hearts still walk among us that will see the power of God working in their lives. Many people rejected Jesus but many people believed on Him. We should never accept the wile of the devil that people today are too hard hearted to see the power of God. Ironically the reason we are not bringing as many people to Christ today is not because the world will not listen; it is because we have failed to believe in the power of the gospel.
Philip preached and Peter showed the power of God. We need to preach and show the power of God. One day we will be talking to people from Lydda and Sharon and to our surprise they will believe and obey the gospel. You see – the gospel of Jesus Christ still works in modern America. Now that is a great story.
Western Christianity has failed in its vocation. It is be to be blamed for not evangelizing or for evangelizing only halfway. God needed men and men exploited God. (Francois Mauriac, What I Believe, 1962)