Acts 9:35

State Capitol, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Friday, 19 August 2022

So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. Acts 9:35

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The previous verse told of the healing of Aeneas by Peter. Because of that, Luke now records, “So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon.”

The Greek has an article before “Sharon.” It is “the Sharon.” It refers to a larger district. The name Lydda has already been explained. Sharon (Greek: Sarón) is found only here in the New Testament, but it comes from Sharon, a location named seven times in the Old Testament. It comes from yashar – to be straight, level, or right. Hence, Sharon means “Plain.” Even in the Old Testament, the name is often prefixed by an article, “the Sharon.” Therefore, it refers to “the Plain.” Wikipedia says of the location today –

“The Sharon plain (Hebrew: השרון HaSharon Arabic: سهل شارون Sahel Sharon) is the central section of the Israeli coastal plain. The plain lies between the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the Samarian Hills, 15 km (9.3 mi) to the east. It stretches from Nahal Taninim, a stream marking the southern end of Mount Carmel in the north, to the Yarkon River in the south, at the northern limit of Tel Aviv, over a total of about 90 km (56 mi). The level of the Sharon plain is connected to the level of the Mediterranean Sea by the Sharon Escarpment.”

It is good to know this because it means that what had happened to Aeneas has impacted not just people in a couple small towns, but in a vast area. It is those dwelling in Lydda and the Sharon who “saw him and turned to the Lord.”

The meaning is obvious. The people saw the man, they understood the miracle, and they became believers in Jesus as the Messiah. What may be the case for such a large area to be impacted in this way is that the people of the plain traveled through Lydda for selling goods and shopping on the coast or for some other reason. As they did, they would see the man who had previously been paralyzed and would want to know what happened.

With that, the explanation of his healing would be carried back to those living in the plain area, describing the miracle and telling others that it was Jesus who had accomplished it. Despite the large area, this is not unlikely. The people of the plain would have things they grew and needed to sell and so traveling through various towns with their agricultural products would be the obvious thing to do.

Life application: From small to great things. The Lord accomplished a miracle through Peter in healing a bedridden man. This was in a town that is hardly mentioned in the Old Testament except in a minimal way. In the New Testament, it is simply a village that Peter is passing through where some believers obviously lived.

Those believers would probably have told others about Jesus after their conversion, maybe at the time of the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, or at some other annual feast in Jerusalem. But with Peter’s arrival and the healing of Aeneas, there would now be something to back up what these people had been saying all along. The miracle provided proof of what these believers already knew to be true.

And so with a single healing in a small town, an entire district hears and believes. Aeneas didn’t need to do anything but be healed. The others simply needed to tell what they believed. With the change in Aeneas, the gospel message has been confirmed.

Today, if there has been a change in your life, or someone else’s life that you know of, that single conversion can be used to confirm the power of the gospel to many. “He was a drug addict and now he is the finest employee I have ever had!” “She was a real run around, but then she met Jesus. What a change in her!”

And even if your conversion wasn’t as noticeable as this, it is still a change that can be told to others. God can take your witness and grow it into a great harvest. But people need to hear about it in order for that to happen. Let the world know that the gospel has power and that this power is proven in your own life.

Lord God, how marvelous was the day when we realized what Christ had done for us. Thank You for the wonderful change that has taken place. We were on the way to condemnation, and then came Jesus! Now, we have a hope of eternal joy in Your presence. Thank You, O God, for Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.