Wednesday, 17 August 2022
There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed. Acts 9:33
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The previous verse saw Peter going throughout the country and eventually came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda. Now, Luke continues, saying, “There he found a certain man named Aeneas.”
This is all that is stated about the meeting between the two. He may have been in the streets, he may have been staying with a believer, or he may have been in a house where Peter stayed the night. He may not have been a believer at the time. If he was, Luke probably would have called him a brother. However, Luke may be simply tying him in with “the saints” of the previous verse. Despite this, it is certain that he has been told about Jesus already because, in the next verse, Peter will call him by name, implying they have already conversed.
The meaning of his name, Aeneas, is hard to pin down. It may be a Greek name, coming from the verb aineo, meaning to tell about or speak of. Or it may be from the adjective ainos, horrible. Charles Ellicott states –
“The Greek name (we note the shortened vowel Ænĕas of the later form of the word), perhaps, implies that he belonged to the Hellenistic section of the Church. Had the fame of Virgil’s poem made the name of the Trojan hero known even in the plains of Palestine?”
There is the possibility, however, that his name comes from the Hebrew noun ‘ayin, fountain, or eye. With these various possibilities, it is unsure what the meaning of his name actually was, but it was likely tied to one of these roots. Therefore, the meaning may be Praise, Horrible, or Man of the Well (Fountain). Of him, Luke next says, “who had been bedridden.”
Rather, it is a present participle. He was “lying on his bed.” Luke continues to provide the narrative as if it is happening as if we are watching. The word translated as bed, krabattos, signifies the mattress of a poor man, showing that not only was he confined to a bed, but that he was financially ruined as well. And this had continued on for “eight years.”
As usual, Luke is very careful to provide the details in an exacting manner. The words are not unimportant because they discount any hint of deception as might otherwise be the case with a charlatan. This man had lain on a poor bed, unable to rise at all for eight years. Anyone who knew him or saw him would know this to be a fact. Luke then adds in a medical note, saying, “and was paralyzed.”
It is a word, paraluó, found twice in Luke, twice in Acts, and once in Hebrews 12 –
“Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.” Hebrews 12:12, 13
It comes from two words signifying “to loose beside.” As such, it can mean either paralyzed or enfeebled. In this case, it is most likely paralyzed simply because he was bedridden for eight years, but it could be that he just couldn’t rise because he had permanently torn his quad muscle while on a vacation. As such, he just lay helpless. Whatever the reason, Luke’s description is sufficient to explain that the man was incapable of proper functioning.
Life application: The miracles of the Bible always have a reason. One is to bring glory to God. Another is to validate the ministry of the individual who is performing the healing. The miracles that are performed never have the purpose of enriching or making well-known and famous those performing them.
Further, there is no longer a need for such miracles because the Bible is written. It stands as the witness and testimony to the validation of the ministry of Jesus and those who were appointed by Him. As the Bible says that we live by faith and not by sight, that is an indication that those miracles that do happen now are miracles that require faith to believe.
In other words, we do not need faith to believe a true healing like Aeneas if we see it. We would have known him, seen his condition, and then seen his healing. We would, therefore, have no reason to disbelieve.
But if we have a person who is in need of healing and we pray for it and it occurs without a showy display by a charismatic preacher, we will have to have faith that it was our prayers that brought it about. As Hebrews says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Nobody should ever try to dismiss the miraculous. If God wants to heal, He can and He will. And this is what we are to pray for. But let us not get duped into the fake miracles, signs, and wonders of those who are looking to profit off of such things. Be wise, be circumspect, and be ready to pray for God’s hand to perform the miraculous. If it comes about, have faith that He heard your prayers and has responded accordingly, thanking Him for His goodness.
Glorious God Almighty, thank You for the hope we possess in You because of the work of Jesus. We have a hope that You can and do heal in this life, but that You may not choose to do so for Your own reasons. But this life is short, and so we know that the true and everlasting healing lies not too far off. Someday, things will be perfect, and they will be so forever. May that day be soon! Amen.