And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelled at Lydda.…
The history has for some little while veiled the Apostle Peter from view. He now appears again in an episode that catches our attention the more because of the things it leaves unsaid. Let us notice -
I. THE MORE REMARKABLE FEATURES OF THE BRIEF NARRATIVE.
1. The picture is put before our eye, by the mere touch of the sacred pen, of the full measure of activity that characterizes Peter. He is not at home. He is "not slothful" and self-indulgent. He is at work, and for work's sake traveling "through all parts."
2. The fond inclining of Peter's heart is seen. He "comes down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda" He comes down to refresh brethren and to be refreshed by them. He comes to see the little nucleus of believers, to give them "some token for good," to give them another hostage of their work, to give them an example, and to take from them that which they had to give and yet be no losers - Christian sympathy and joy.
3. The silence observed respecting Aeneas, who he was. Is there not justification for supposing that he was already one of "the saints"? For:
(1) Peter seems to have found him among such.
(2) Peter asks him no question to elicit knowledge or faith, hope or love; nor does he seem to ask anything of Peter either for body or mind.
(3) Peter appears to use the Name of Jesus Christ as a name known already to Aeneas, and addresses him apparently with the ease of brotherly familiarity and of Christian homeliness.
4. The immediate blessing "given" though unasked, unsought yet "found" (Luke 11:9, 10). Much as Jesus loves and teaches that we should ask, seek, and knock for his blessings, it must be a sight acceptable to him to see the patience of bodily suffering that asks nothing.
5. The great attention called hereby to the Lord. The little villages were "born" again in a day (Isaiah 66:8). Lydda and Saron "saw the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God," and they "blossomed as the rose" (Isaiah 35:1, 2).
II. THE MORE REMARKABLE LESSONS OF THIS BRIEF NARRATIVE.
1. The refreshing suggestion given to us of the force that lies in the genuine activity of one Christian.
2. The wisdom, amid all our visitings, of visiting Christians and little communities of Christians, who may dwell apart, in the village and the hamlet, afar from the stir of the large masses of the people. When with such, there will be sure to be much to be given and much to be gotten by the genuine.
3. The grand opportunities that seem to come, where our faithlessness least anticipates it, when only we arc very simply walking in duty's path. Those are really the opportunities Heaven sent, and the likeliest of all to be fruitful of immortal good. Our grander preparations do not at all infallibly correspond with Heaven's grander opportunities. Explain it as we may, though the explanation is in no sense far to seek, the labored preparations of even Christian men ill harmonize with the sublime ease of the Spirit's achievements. But to humble prayer, humble work, untiring activity, opportunities seem to come which are really Heaven's earliest, freshest sending.
4. The pity that sees and forgets not, sees and visits, and visits that it may see, the patient sufferer. One type of this we know, one only we adore. But how it ought to rivet our gaze and our admiration, and constrain our reverent, loving imitation! The impotent man at the pool of Bethesda, who had "had his infirmity thirty and eight years," gains the notice of Jesus' eye above all the rest. The AEneas who "for eight years had kept his bed because he was palsied," has the eye of the risen Jesus and Lord upon him, and Peter is sent to him. At one and the same time it is true that Jesus does all and that Peter is learning in his work to be like Jesus.
5. The widespread advantages of one real stroke of work done in the Name of "Jesus Christ." There is no doubt a self-spreading force in Christian truth and in Christian good. For they are both what are wanted by men. And nothing so much wanted, so deeply wanted. Let men unsophisticated, let men whose real nature has not yet been utterly lost to the devil, only get a "taste" of the good that Christ has to give, that Christ is, and that Christ can work in mind and heart, and they will "hunger and thirst" for him. But we have to remember that, in order to this, we must take care that it is the Name of Jesus we preach, the pure truth of Jesus we teach, the life of Jesus we exhibit, and the deep, unquenchable love of Jesus that is in our own heart. - B.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.