Sermons

Summary: With Paul home in Tarsus, the narrative focuses once more on Peter. This passage can be viewed as a picture album featuring the ministry of Peter as a traveling preacher.

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March 25, 2014

By: Tom Lowe

Title: Peter in Lydda: A man healed (9:32-35)

Scripture

32 And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.

33 And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy.

34 And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.

35 And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.

Introduction

My study of this short little lesson has convinced me that it is a wonderful passage and rich with meaning. I thank God for giving me the time to study and learn more about Him. I pray that He will bless me with the ability to rightly divide his Word.

With Paul home in Tarsus, the narrative focuses once more on Peter. He last appeared in connection with the Samaritan mission (8:14-25). Now he is participating in the greater Judean mission by evangelizing the coastal communities. Finally, he would witness to a Gentile, a key incident in establishing the mission “to the ends of the earth” (10:1-11:18). This small section about Peter’s witness to the coastal towns consists of two miracle stories: the healing of Aeneas (vv. 32-35) and the raising of Dorcas (vv. 36-43; Lesson III.D.2).

This passage can be viewed as a picture album featuring the ministry of Peter as a traveling preacher. As we ponder the pictures, there are three things impressed upon the mind, which we may deal with in ascending order; first, the communion of the saints; secondly, the operations of the Spirit; and thirdly, the victories of the Lord. The three things are found in the verses before us.

Commentary

32 And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.

Peter is described as passing throughout all quarters, which suggests a wide ranging preaching tour. He stopped in Lydda to visit the saints there{2]. Christians are saints, or holy people; not only the eminent ones, like Saint Peter and Saint Paul, but every sincere professor of faith in Jesus Christ. We are not told just how there came to be Christians in Lydda. Perhaps it was the product of Philip’s ministry, since he would have passed through Lydda on his journey northward from Azotus to Caesarea (8:40{1]).

As mentioned in the introduction, there are three things that this passage impresses on the mind. We shall begin to analyze these beginning with the lowest level, that which is the simplest and most apparent; let us see what this passage reveals about the communion of saints; then moving to the next level, we will see what it reveals concerning the operations of the Spirit; and finally, we will look at the highest level to see what it reveals about the victories of the Lord.

First, what is there here concerning the communion of the saints? A careful reading of the story bring to light the influence of a man who is not named—the person from whom they learned about Jesus. We are likely to ask a simple and natural question, “Where did the saints at Lydda come from?” Let’s return to Chapter 8 and the story of the Ethiopian eunuch. The last verse reads, “But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.” As we noted in the beginning paragraph, Lydda would have been one of the cities where Philip preached. He had preached in Samaria and a church had been formed. He had preached to the Ethiopian eunuch and had won him for Christ. He had been borne by the Spirit to Azotus, and then started preaching through the cities. It is probable that his preaching in Lydda had been the means of gathering together a number of those who believed in Christ. This is why I believe the saints in Lydda were the result of Philip’s preaching.


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