Have you ever been so caught up with the circumstances of your life that even though the answer to your problem is right in front of you, you can’t see it? It’s a bit like staring at one of those picture puzzles where you have to spot an image within an abstract design, and then when you’ve stared at the design for what seems like ages, suddenly, your eyes seem to do a little adjustment and the image you were searching for is so clear that you think; “how did I not see that before?”
I think this is what happened to this Aeneas, in this story in Acts:
“Peter traveled from place to place, and he came down to visit the believers in the town of Lydda. There he met a man named Aeneas, who had been paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up, and roll up your sleeping mat!” And he was healed instantly. Then the whole population of Lydda and Sharon saw Aeneas walking around, and they turned to the Lord.” Acts 9:32–35
A State of Temporary Paralysis
The Bible doesn’t tell us what had caused Aeneas’ paralysis, only that he had been paralysed for eight years and that he was a Believer (Peter was visiting the Believers in that area) It seems his predicament had grown to the point where he was now bedridden and completely dependent on other people.
Then Peter found him. Notice the words Peter says to him: “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you.” Not “Jesus can heal you”, “will heal you”….”did heal you”.
Peter’s words are present tense; this short sentence is packed with the simple but powerful truth that Jesus Christ does heal and is healing us – present continuous.
Then Peter gives Aeneas an instruction that seems an outrageous thing to say to a man in Aeneas’ predicament -“Get up and roll up your mat.” It’s as if Peter, after reminding Aeneas of who Jesus is, is saying, “Okay Aeneas, just get up and get on with it now”
As if he’s saying don’t forget who Jesus is!
It was the kick in the rear that Aeneas needed – the loving but firm reminder.
There are times when we need to remind ourselves or be reminded; David, when he was tempted to “wallow” in self pity or distress reminded himself who God is and of all His ongoing goodness!
“Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” Psalm 103:2–5
Peter’s simple, outrageous instruction reminds Aeneas that the healing he longed for was already his by faith – all he had to do was stop lying there, get up and grab hold if it!
Are You Suffering From Paralysis?
We can become spiritually”bedridden”, like Aeneas when we focus on our problems and our circumstances instead of fixing our eyes on Him. Or when we become spiritually lazy.
Don’t you ever have days where you think, “what’s going on with me?” When you just feel as spiritually dry as an old stick? I do; but I’m learning that that’s when I need to draw water from the well that never runs dry, to satisfy my thirst – the Word of God: (John 4:13 Isaiah 44:3-4 Matthew 5:6: John 7:37)
There’s a scripture in Revelation that reminds me of the sort of “wake up call” that Peter gave Aeneas: Revelation 3:2 “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.”
This is written to the church of Sardis who looked outwardly fine but on the inside they were falling asleep spiritually. John goes onto say in verse 3: “Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again” Revelation 3:3
To get back to Aeneas; in response to Peter’s words he got up!He rolled up his sleeping mat and his transformation became the talk of the whole region!
Make no mistake, people had been watching Aeneas all along; they’d seen his paralysis. When he suddenly got up and started walking around again, it triggered a ripple effect that went out and started to break the power of spiritual paralysis in others as well.
Remember Who He is!
If you are feeling “paralysed” by your circumstances today; it doesn’t matter whether it’s been 8 hours, 8 days, 8 weeks or like Aeneas 8 years, and whether the healing you long for is physical or spiritual, I believe this word is for you right now;
“Jesus Christ heals you! Get up, and roll up your sleeping mat!”
“Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Rev 2:3