Peter Heals in Christ’s Name

from the Acts of the Apostles reading plan

Acts 9:32-43, Mark 5:21-43, Psalm 36:8-9

BY Guest Writer

Text: Acts 9:32-43, Mark 5:21-43, Psalm 36:8-9

Years ago, after returning from a mission trip, I joined my church staff for lunch to share my experiences. As I described some patients we’d met while visiting an infirmary, I noticed my tablemates shifting uncomfortably in their seats. I couldn’t blame them. I pushed my plate away, my appetite dissolved in the memory of such deep and devastating need.

When faced with the reality of true abject poverty, my instinct is to look away. I’ll never be able to unsee the sick and dying, lying in beds crammed ten to a room, but deep down I don’t want to. Witnessing that cloud of suffering has helped me to see God’s rich mercy and compassion with greater clarity.

In Acts 9, we meet two people in desperate need of such mercy. Their stories reflect the realities I saw in a third world infirmary and the suffering I see all around me when I force my eyes to look up. The first is Aeneas, a paralytic who’d been bedridden for eight years (v. 33). The second is Dorcas, a disciple of Christ and vibrant member of the Church who’d fallen ill and died (vv. 36-37). Their two stories illustrate a stark juxtaposition.

Aeneas was from Lydda, a pagan settlement filled with blue-collar workers.
Dorcas lived in Joppa, a beautiful and thriving port city with a long Jewish history.

Aeneas had been bedridden for nearly a decade.
Dorcas had lived a vibrant life of service before becoming sick and dying unexpectedly.

Aeneas had nothing to offer, no good works to give, as she’d been immobilized.
Dorcas was “full of good works and acts of charity” (v. 36).

Yet, by the power of Christ, both of them were fully healed.

There are ugly corners of my sinful heart that think healing can be earned, that God’s touch is reserved for the deserving. I see the reality of my own brokenness and worry He’ll turn away from my need. But the contrast between these two miracles proves that Christ’s compassion is not dependent upon our deservedness.

Over and over again during His earthly ministry, and later through His disciples, Jesus offered healing to people on every rung of the social and economic ladder. Each miraculous encounter shows us that His grace is a free gift, extended to both the greatest and least of us. We can’t twist God’s arm to make Him intervene in our lives. Nor can our good works or earthly belongings offer Him anything in return. His work in our lives is always an outflow of His mercy and grace.

Aeneas and Dorcas were tied together by a God who saw their suffering and refused to look away. Their stories remind me that I can ask for God’s help and expect Him to respond based on His character, not my merit. He shows compassion to me, not because of what I deserve, but because of who He is.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
-Hebrews 4:16


Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

Post Comments (93)

93 thoughts on "Peter Heals in Christ’s Name"

  1. Meredith Sauer says:

    I loved the reading, but I did want to mention that Aeneas was a man. It confused me for a second when you said “she’d”. Beautiful response from scripture though.

  2. Terri Lodge says:

    Let us with confidence
    draw near
    to the throne of grace
    that we may receive mercy
    and find grace to help in time of need.
    Hebrews 4;16

  3. Vanessa says:

    For me, I was sensitive around impoverished and infirm people because I felt powerless to how I could help…or it scared me in place seeing the reality of it happen…or worrying that I would do something worse. Perhaps I need to pray to Christ to give me confidence so I can shine through him to help each other. Hopefully, I will gradually be able to find my way too.

  4. Ann Marie says:

    I was very ill during college and bed ridden for about a month, I felt so useless. I was too tired to talk let alone do works of service. I was told by a good friend ‘even when you are useless you aren’t worthless’ that simple sentence has given me hope for over a decade. Thank you God for my friend and his ability to voice your feelings about me.

  5. “Their stories remind me that I can ask for God’s help and expect Him to respond based on His character, not my merit. He shows compassion to me, not because of what I deserve, but because of who He is.” Love this!

  6. Madison says:

    Such a great and beautiful reminder that God’s grace and goodness is given freely, because of who He is. I pray for those who are in desperate need of His mercy, of those hurting and suffering. No matter what, He is faithful and He remains.

  7. AnnaGrace says:

    If anyone reads this, please pray for me. I’m starting college soon and I am working full time and I am so stressed out. I am having a rough time getting out of bed much less reading my bible. Please pray that I grow closer back to God during this time. I desperately want to. Please pray for encouragement for me. Thank you.

    1. Amanda Hoover says:

      On it, sister. Breathe and remember your passion and the calling you are hearing from God.

      Psalm 119: 9-16 is a great encouragement to read and keep on your lips and heart.

      I pray a release from the stress you’re feeling and the anxieties of the transition.

  8. Melissa says:

    Reminded to step into the goodness He surrounds us with daily; most mornings I am tempted to sit in the feeling of being overwhelmed, how will my marriage work with 2 broken people? How will our teenagers thrive being led by these broken people; dad searching for independence, mom chasing after him trying to keep our family together. Then I remember to lean on Jesus, daily. Not to crumble at my husbands feet, He isn’t equipped to carry me, He doesn’t have authority to heal my insecurities. But Jesus does, only he can heal our hearts, put these broken pieces together. In trying to make everything okay, it’s easy to pretend, to put a smile on and speak joy, even if there’s still an underlying feeling of despair. Then I’m reminded, to be healed, I need to not pretend, but acknowledge the struggle, the brokenness. He is pushing me to expose the dark thoughts of insecurity and fear of abandonment; only so that He can heal these hurts and make me whole again. Whole in Him, in the person he created me to be; not in my broken view of myself, but in His view of the beauty He is placed within this heart of mine.

    1. Katie says:

      Praying for you, Melissa

    2. Candi Trusler says:

      I’m just seeing this, but I’m praying for you, Melissa! God is showing me not to depend on people to fill a void only God can fill. I loved what you wrote about your husband not being equipped to carry those things. I’m learning the same truth.

    3. Lindsey Sharp says:

      Melissa I’m in a similar place in my marriage. Feeling overwhelmed and want to give up, feeling stuck in the hopelessness and wanting my husband to fix things instead of looking to Jesus to fix my insecurities, doubt and faithfulness. Thank you for sharing! Your post encouraged me! Praying for you.

    4. Valerie Hallowell says:

      Just saw this Melissa…will be praying for you. Surely when one member suffers we all do. The enemy wants to kill and to destroy but the Lord Jesus said He came to give life and that more abundantly! He is able for your marriage.

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