O PreacherSeemed like Jesus was back in Judea, even though at least five years had passed since his death.

Jesus heals the Paralytic Aeneas (Acts 9:32-35).

As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda.    There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years.  “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you.   Get                   
up and take care of your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up.  All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord  (Acts 9:32-35).

We last saw Peter preaching  the Gospel in Samaria (9:25).  He’s now traveled south to a town called Lydda in Judea.  The “saints” he visits are believers in Jesus having been converted either at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-41) or from Philip’s preaching in that area (Acts 8:40).

The miracle here is quite similar to author Luke’s account of Jesus healing a paralytic in Capernaum.  The paralytic’s  friends had lowered him through the roof into a crowded house.  When Jesus told him his sins were forgiven, the Pharisees silently condemned him for blaspheming.  To prove he had authority to forgive sins, Jesus said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”  When he did, “Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God.  They were filled with awe and said, ‘We have seen remarkable things today'” (Luke 5:18-26).

Here are similarities.  Both the paralytic in Luke 5 and Aeneas in Acts 9 suffered the same ailment.  Both immediately got up when spoken to.  Both had a mat to pick up.  In Luke 5 the people were “amazed and gave praise to God.”  In Acts 9 they “turned to the Lord.”  And in both cases Jesus did the healing.  In Luke 5, Jesus did it in person.  In Acts 9 Jesus did it through Peter.  Peter said to Aeneas, “Jesus Christ heals you.”  Anyone who had known of Jesus’ healing the paralytic in Capernaum would have been reminded of that at Aeneas’ healing in Lydda.  Seemed like Jesus was back in Judea.

Jesus Raises the Dead Woman Tabitha (Acts 9:36-43).

 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room.  Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”  Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.  Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.  He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive.  This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.  Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon (Acts 9:36-43).

Joppa lay about 11 miles northwest of Lydda.  Close enough to be considered near, yet far enough in time for Tabitha to have truly died.  We don’t know what the disciples (a term author Luke typically uses of believers in Jesus) expected Peter to do; but Peter immediately knew what he would do.  This is the only account of an apostle raising someone from the dead.

This miracle is much like Mark’s account of Jesus raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead . . .

When they (Jesus, Peter, James and John) came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly.  He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.”  But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was.  He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”).  Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.  He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat (Mark 5:38-43)..

Note the similarities.  In both cases people were crying and wailing at the death.  In both cases the crowd was removed from the dead person’s room.  In both cases the dead person was directly addressed with virtually the same words:  “Tabitha, get up” (Acts 9:40) and “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” (Mark 5:41).  In both cases the dead person got up.  Not surprisingly, reactions were similar.  In the case of Jairus’ daughter, “they were completely astonished” (Mark 5:42).  And in Tabitha’s case, “This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord” (Acts 9:43).  Anyone present at both miracles might very well have thought Jesus was back in Judea.

Jesus Still Doing (Acts 1:1).

I’ve noted this before, but it bears repeating.  Author Luke opened Acts with these words:  “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach . . . ”

” . . . all that Jesus began to do and to teach . . . ”  Luke declares that his Gospel writing was the record of what Jesus began to do and teach.  And by those words Luke implies that his Acts’ writing is the record of what Jesus continued to do and teach.  This is Trinitarian theology.  The Spirit of the Risen Christ—God the Holy Spirit—was continuing in Acts what Christ had begun in the Gospel.

That leads to this question:  Is Jesus still doing today? 

In his book Miracles, Eric Metaxas tells story after story of miracles today.  One short one is about his own grandmother . . .

I remember my own grandmother telling me how she had prayed for her own leg, which was hurting, and “felt a sizzling” and was instantly healed.  This was in the 1970s.  My mother was at work and my grandmother was taking care of my brother and me over summer vacation.  She told me that she spoke to God, saying, “I can’t take care of these children today unless you heal me,” and as she was talking to God . . . she felt a warmth in her leg and it was healed, just like that.

I’ve also come across a lengthy “Christianity Today” article from 2012.  There’s probably at least one thing in this that many people will question or outright dismiss as being “too charismatic.”  But, since “Christianity Today” is a middle-of-the-theological-read magazine and since the couple involved seem genuinely sacrificial givers for Christ’s sake, I came away believing the miracles are real.  You can read it here . . .

Miracles in Mozambique: How Mama Heidi Reaches the AbandonedIs Jesus “back”?
If so, we have reason to hope for signs and wonders
that will glorify him and fill us with great joy!