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In this final installment of this section of scripture, the focus shifts from Saul/Paul back to Peter. Beginning in verse 32, we see Peter traveling. Traveling was not glamorous back then. It was laborious, dangerous, and time-consuming. Surely there were underlings that could have traveled for Peter. However, we will see that Peter was not above person-to-person ministry.
Depending upon where you live, you may or may not have experienced the mega church concept. 3000 members, 40 pastors, 40-acre campus, 3-ring megaplex… all of these are common place in many American cities these days. Call up and ask to meet with the senior pastor and you will be told that he doesn’t do that. One of the junior pastors will meet directly with the public. The senior pastor focuses on strategy, leadership, growing the church’s brand, building the spiritual empire and so forth.
Peter was the senior pastor. He was there in the beginning when Jesus directly gave him responsibility for the church. No man could be more senior than Peter was in his time. Yet, we see Peter directly involved with individuals.
Verse 34 shows Peter reaching out to Aeneas and healing him in the name of Jesus. Peter was careful never to take credit or even appear to take credit for the miraculous. He made it clear where the power came from. The local people saw the result of the healing of the man they had known since their youth. As a result of God’s power on display, many (turned) came to faith in the Lord. The Greek word used for ‘turned’ in turned to the Lord means a conversion of life direction instead of a simplistic turn of curiosity.
Peter’s celebrity could not have produced this conversion. God was working powerfully in His Church.
Next we see Peter was summoned to go to Joppa where a believing woman had died. Now Peter may have been tired. It may have been the end of a long day. He could have sent an associate or asked for a delay in traveling yet more distance to minster but he did not. He went where he was asked to go. Peter prayed for the woman in private once arriving where the woman lay and God raised her from the dead. The Bible says this event was known all over Joppa and that many believed in the Lord (again, not the casual belief but the life-changing kind).
I am not saying that division of labor or delegation of duties inside the church is wrong. I see the message of this part of scripture as saying that a minister is never larger than his personal ministry. That includes all of us. God has the power and we are to have the availability. None of us are too cool to get our hands dirty, so to speak, with direct ministry. Peter knew this. Paul knew this. They more than any others could have felt they were too senior to get involved but the example they set was one of personal involvement with others when the opportunity presented itself.