Those four words were spoken by Peter to a bedridden paralytic in Acts 9:34. And “immediately Aeneas got up” and started walking around after being incurably paralyzed for eight years.
But why this one paralytic in particular when there were probably many others who were in need of healing too?
Was there some deeper spiritual meaning in this one healing? And I ask that, because there are three remarkable healings in Acts 9 and 10 that all have strong hints of a deeper side to them.
When Peter told the paralytic Aeneas that “Jesus Christ heals you,” for instance, it’s connected in the same chapter with Saul’s insatiable obsession with hunting down Christians and wiping out anything to do with Jesus. In Saul’s case it was his mind that was paralyzed. But when Jesus confronts him personally it only took three days for that paralysis in Saul’s mind to be completely healed.
Both stories in the same chapter are about the same thing, the healing of paralysis. And I like the sound of that, because there are tons of people today whose minds are just as paralyzed as Saul’s was against Jesus and all things Christian. And no matter hard we try or how clever we may be in trying to change their minds, they remain adamantly closed to any other belief than their own.
But if I can’t get through to them I know that Jesus can, and wants to, from what he did for Saul. I can look at anybody, therefore, and say to myself, “Jesus Christ can heal your closed, paralyzed mind any time he chooses,” and especially having experienced Jesus doing that for me. I now have that vital personal proof too, that Jesus is still in the business of miracles that are just as great and real as the miracle Jesus did in Saul.
Which takes us to the second great miracle Jesus did in Acts 9, this time in the life of Tabitha.
When Peter was introduced to Tabitha she was a lifeless body on a bed. So here was another incident that Peter was faced with out of the blue, and this time requiring an even greater miracle. But again he had total confidence that Jesus would heal Tabitha and raise her back to life again. But why did this incident happen in the first place, and was there some deeper meaning to it as well?
Well, yes, because earlier on in the same chapter Saul had also been dead – dead to who Jesus was, dead to Jesus being the Messiah, dead to any possibility that Jesus was alive, and dead to Christianity being a wonderfully visible witness to what Jesus was up to.
But in the space of three days he was transformed. From being totally dead to Jesus Saul is raised to a brand new life of knowing, trusting, loving and dedicating his life in service to him. He was as much raised from the dead as Tabitha was. And isn’t that what Jesus has done to billions of people ever since too – clearly illustrating through both Tabitha and Saul that he loves raising us poor, dead humans to a brand new life.
But don’t stop there because in Acts 10 Peter is now faced with Cornelius, a dreaded Roman centurion, and a despised Gentile. Was there some deeper meaning intended in this incident as well, then?
Well, yes again, because one of the biggest problems we humans have is our inability to get along with people who are different to us, and especially with people our culture has taught us to despise. But Jesus healed that in Peter. His attitude totally changed to a Gentile Roman soldier, the worst possible person for a Jew to accept as a brother. Jesus also healed it in Saul, who had his attitude totally healed toward the Christians he’d hated before.
All three examples in Acts 9 and 10, then, picture the healing work of Jesus, of healing paralyzed minds, healing lives dead to trust in and love for him, and healing attitudes to those hated and despised. And how encouraging is that, knowing that Jesus can open closed minds, raise us to a whole new life of loving relationship with him, and have our attitude toward those the culture has poisoned our minds against totally changed so that we come to love people like Jesus does? It happened to Saul and it happened to Peter, so why not to us too, when it’s the same Spirit working in our lives, and for the same purpose, to be visible witnesses to Jesus and his great desire to heal.
And what confidence that is meant to give us – just like the confidence Peter had – that we too can say of anyone struggling in any one of these three areas, or all three, that “Jesus Christ heals you,” because in one way or another, and at some time or other, he will.