Summary: Peter performed two miracles, both of which are striking illustrations of the nation that Peter was ministering to – Israel. These miracles sent a message to Israel and many did in fact believe in response to these miracles.
Israel – Sick, but Healed, Dead, but Alive
1. In this chapter we have the glorious salvation of Saul of Tarsus who would become the apostle Paul. This man will end up being the central figure in the book of Acts.
• To him would be revealed the dispensation of grace, the wonderful truths concerning the body of Christ and 13 books of the New Testament.
2. The book of Acts provides a transition from Israel to the Gentiles, from the law to grace, from the hope of an earthly kingdom to a new heavenly body (the church).
3. Peter is the central figure when Israel is the focus (Acts 1:1-8:40). But Israel’s kingdom program would cease and be suspended and gradually fade away. This is why we see Peter’s dominance fade away in the book of Acts.
4. Acts is a record of the fall and diminishing of Israel and God raising up a separate and distinct apostle who would be commissioned with a different mission, ministry, and message.
5. Acts records this gradual diminishing, therefore we see Peter fade away gradually. After Paul is saved in 9:1-31, Peter shows up again in 9:32-11:18, but then Paul becomes the key figure in the rest of the book (11:19-28:31). **chart
6. Tonight we will cover a “Peter” passage in 9:32-43. Peter performs two miracles, both of which are striking illustrations of the nation that Peter was ministering to – Israel.
7. These miracles sent a message to Israel and many did in fact believe in response to these miracles.
Israel – Sick, but Healed
1. Peter was preaching throughout Israel when he came to the city of Lydda. There were saints there. Vs. 32 cf. 8:40 (probably due to Philip’s evangelism)
• He encountered a man named Aeneas (ee NEE us). His name is said to mean “praise.”
• This man was apparently once healthy, but was now sick, crippled, and lying helpless in bed, a paralytic. Vs. 33
• Peter looked at him and said, “Jesus Christ maketh thee whole…” vs. 34
• Immediately his health was restored and because of his glorious restoration, many turned to the Lord. Vs. 35
2. This miracle provided a vivid illustration for the nation of Israel.
3. Israel was formed and created to be a light and source of praise to God on earth. God’s will and plan for Israel is summarized in Isaiah 58:8.
• Israel had rejected their God, their law, and their Messiah. They were flat on their back, paralyzed by unbelief and rebellion.
5. As the New Testament opens, God’s chosen people are under the tyranny of the Gentile kingdom of Rome. Their rebellion and sin sickness had caused them to be mere pawns in the hand of the pagan nations. They were flat on their back.
• They crucified the One who could heal them and restore their health. They stumbled over the stumblingstone of Christ. Romans 9:31-32
• In other words, they were in this paralytic state because of their own rejection of Christ. It was a self induced sickness.
7. They were given another opportunity to repent and be healed in the book of Acts, but again they stumbled and fell (Romans 11:11-12). They were like Aeneas, lying helpless in a paralyzed state. Acts 28:27
8. But through their fall, salvation has come unto the Gentiles. Through Israel’s fallen, paralyzed state, we have received an unprecedented time of grace from God. God saved His chief enemy (Saul of Tarsus) and then used him as a vessel to reveal this marvelous dispensation of grace.
9. But what about Israel? Will they ever be healed and restored? Will they ever be the light and blessing that God planned for them to be? Will they ever enjoy spiritual health and vitality again?
• This miracle that Peter performed provides a wonderful picture of what God will do.
• Though Israel rejected Jesus (their healer and Messiah), and though God has set her aside and turned to the Gentiles, one day they will call upon Him, and Christ will heal them, restore Israel’s spiritual health, and many will turn to Christ. Jeremiah 30:17, 33:6-9, 14-17; Ezekiel 34:15-16, Hosea 5:13, 6:1
Israel – Dead, but Alive
1. The second miracle that Peter performed involved something very incredible and miraculous – the raising of a lady from the dead in Joppa! ***Use map
2. This lady’s name was Tabitha or Dorcas. Both names mean “gazelle” which makes you think of alertness and activity; the opposite of paralysis.