Bible Society of South Africa

Jesus in Joppa, Jesus in hospital – 17 March 2021

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

34“Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ makes you well. Get up and make your bed.” At once Aeneas got up. 35All the people living in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.

Acts 9:34-35GNBOpen in Bible reader

Life without Jesus is like being on a ventilator that is not plugged in to the source – we continue to battle to breathe on our own throughout our lives, for as long as we have enough strength and the will to continue, although everything is in place to transform our experience positively; we just can’t connect up. Too often it is only when we reach desperation point that we think to check the plug – but sometimes someone arrives to help us and it’s taken out of our hands.

That is just what Peter did in the life of Aeneas when he visited Joppa. Aeneas, a paralytic, had been bed-ridden for eight years before Peter arrived one day and shared the good news that Jesus could heal him. Peter was full of the Holy Spirit and faith and immediately Aeneas responded to Peter’s instruction and got up. This miraculous healing made such an impact that, “All the people living in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord”, clearly a great, widespread act of the Holy Spirit’s power that day.

But sometimes healing is not instantaneous; God works over a period of time in a person’s life before bringing healing – possibly for the same reason He worked instantly in Aeneas’ situation, to allow people to become aware of their need for spiritual healing too.

From the first lockdown, it became evident that the Covid pandemic had brought about the largest legislated, active resistance to an illness that we had ever experienced before, which meant no contact permitted with anyone.

Separation from the community was hard, but worse was separation from family for one another’s safety. Harder still was to have loved ones in hospital and not be allowed to visit them at a time when they most needed our support.

And yet some wonderful things happened because Jesus was never denied entry to any place of suffering. “The Father loves his Son and has put everything in his power.” (John 3:35} As people then prayed fervently, spending their “extra” time not travelling to the office or shops on their knees, Jesus ministered at the side of the sick, the distressed and the dying – all who called to Him.

Wherever we are, we can respond to Jesus to receive His gift of a new life, and He will lead us and alert us to what is important to Him from then on. Connecting to Jesus is ultimately what holds firm, regardless of what’s happening in the world around us. He hasn’t changed even though our world has.

Prayer: “But I will watch for the LORD; I will wait confidently for God who will save me. My God will hear me.” (Micah 7:7) “Fill us each morning with your constant love, so that we may sing and be glad all our life. (Psalm 90:14) Amen

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