The “quarters” in Verse 32 were the quarters of the Roman empire that Luke, the author of Acts, also referenced in Luke 3:1. There the word “tetrarch” is a compound Greek word. “Tetr” means fourth and “arch” means ruler, as when arch-angels rule over other angels. Put them together and it means tetrarchs ruled over a fourth part of the Roman Empire.
The Bible isn’t a book of science, but when it touches on scientific things like this it is always scientifically accurate. It took science 3500 years to learn that uncovered food get contaminated with germs, something God talked about in Numbers 19:15. It also took science about that long to learn that “bloodletting,” such as the doctors performed on George Washington to help with his throat infection, was only letting his life slip away (Lev. 17:11).
The “saints” in those quarters were living, breathing believers, not dead people canonized by Rome. The word “saint” is the noun form of the word sanctify. If you are sanctified, you’re a saint—even the carnal Corinthians (I Cor. 1:2)!
The early part of Acts 9 is all about the conversion of Saul, who became the Apostle Paul. In our last lesson we learned that with his conversion the focus in Acts begins to shift away from the 12 to Paul. That’s because they were Israel’s apostles for Israel’s 12 tribes. But when the Jews crucified the Lord and stoned Stephen they showed they rejected the kingdom that Peter offered them (Acts 3:19). After that, Paul was given the new program of grace, so the focus in Acts shifts to him.
So here in Acts 9, we have to ask why Luke has gone back to talking about Peter (9:36). The answer is: because God didn’t drop Israel like a hot potato! Even though the nation had rejected the Lord, He kept reaching out to individuals within the nation (Rom. 10:21).
“Palsy” is the Bible word for paralysis (Mark 2:3). Peter is going to heal this paralyzed Jew named Aeneas. Aeneas means praise, and praise is what the nation of Israel was supposed to be. They were supposed to be the source of praise to God on earth. That’s why God created that nation (Isa. 43:21). And someday in the kingdom, they will show forth God’s praise to the nations (Isa. 61:9-11).
But after the Jews rejected the kingdom by stoning Stephen in Acts 7, here in Acts 9 we see a symbol of what they had become instead. We see a man whose name means praise suffering from palsy, or paralysis. That’s a type of how God’s program to have the nation of Israel lead the nations in praise of God had bogged down and become paralyzed.
He was paralyzed “eight years.” This happened 38 A.D., eight years after the Lord began his ministry (Luke 3:23). So this paralyzed victim of palsy was a symbol of how Israel had been paralyzed since the beginning of the Lord’s ministry by their own unbelief. The Lord did His best to raise them up from that paralysis, as we see symbolized in Matthew 9:6, but they crucified Him instead.
When Peter likewise healed a paralyzed Jew, it wasn’t to portray the spiritual healing that the Lord was offering Israel, as the Lord’s miracle of healing did. It was to depict what God will do for Israel in the future. That’s why this miracle was repeated. God will someday make Israel a source of His praise in the earth after 2,000 years of spiritual paralysis! When this man obeyed the Lord and made his bed after getting healed, that’s a picture of how Israel will begin to obey God after the Lord raises them up from their paralysis.
When they do, it will have an effect on the nations, as we see pictured when this healing had an effect on people (9:35). “Lydda” is the Greek spelling of “Lod,” part of the people who returned to Israel after the tribulation of the Babylonian captivity (Ezra 2:1,33). They picture what will happen after the Jews go through the Tribulation and return to the promised land after seeing God lift the paralysis of their nation.
We see more proof of this when “Saron” also turned to the Lord after seeing Aeneas healed (9:35). “Saron” is Sharon, and Sharon will also turn to the Lord after seeing the lame man leap as an hart (Isa. 35:1,2,6)—just like Aeneas did!