Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 36: Acts, Part I, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
32. And it happened, that whilst Peter walked through all, he came also unto the saints which dwelt at Lydda. 33. And he found there a man named. AEneas, who had laid in his bed eight years, who had the palsy. 34. And Peter saith unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ make thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And forthwith he arose. 35. And all those which dwelt at Lydda and Assaron saw him, and were turned unto the Lord.
32. Luke setteth down how the Church was increased by miracles. And he reciteth two miracles: That a man who had been bedrid eight years, having the palsy, was suddenly healed; and that a certain woman was raised from death. First, he saith, that as Peter walked throughout all, he came to Lydda. And by all understand not Churches, but the faithful, because it is in Greek of the masculine gender, though that skilleth not much for the sense. And it was meet that the apostles, who had no certain place of abode, should wander hither and thither as occasion was offered. Wherefore, whilst they are all occupied in divers parts, Peter took upon him this charge, whereby the foolishness of the Papists is refuted, who gather Peter’s primacy by the authority which he had to visit; as if the rest of the apostles did live idly at Jerusalem like private men, when Peter did visit the Churches. Again, admit we grant that Peter was the chief apostle, which thing the Scripture showeth oftentimes, doth it thereupon follow that he was the head of the world? But would to God the bishop of Rome, who will be counted Peter’s successor, would travel as he did to animate the brethren, and would every where prove indeed that he is the apostle of Christ. Now, he which out of his throne doth with more than tyrannous lordship oppress all the Churches, pretendeth that Peter did visit the Churches with great pains.
Which dwelt at Lydda. Lydda, which was afterward called Diospolis, was situated not far from the Mediterranean Sea, being a renowned city as well for antiquity as also for many gifts. Joppa was nigh to this city, which had a famous haven, though very full of rocks. The city itself stood upon a high cliff, whence they might see to Jerusalem. At this day there is nothing to be seen there but the ruinous walls of the old city, save only that the haven remaineth, which they call most commonly Japhet. It should seem that Luke nameth Assaron as some town or city. Jerome mentioneth Saron, and thinketh that thereby is meant the whole plain lying between Cesarea and Joppa. But because Jerome showeth no reason why he should change the reading which is commonly used, I admit that willingly which Luke’s text showeth me, to wit, that it was a city hard by. But I do not contend about this matter; as I do not ambitiously gather those things which may serve for a vain brag, because it shall be sufficient for the godly readers to know those things which make to Luke’s meaning.
34. Jesus Christ maketh thee whole. It is certain that the apostles would never have attempted the doing of miracles, unless they had been first certified of the will of God, whereupon the effect did depend. For they had no such power of the Spirit given them that they could heal whatsoever sick persons they would; but as Christ himself used a measure in his miracles, so he would have his apostles to work no more than he knew were profitable. Therefore Peter did not rashly break out into these words; because he might have set himself to be laughed at, unless he had already known the will of God. It may be that he prayed apart. The Spirit who was the author of all miracles, and which wrought by the hand of Peter, did even then direct his tongue, and did move his heart by a secret inspiration. And in these words Peter showeth plainly that he is only the minister of the miracle, and that it proceedeth from the power of Christ; that he may by this means extol the name of Christ alone.
Make thy bed. These circumstances do amplify the glory of the miracle, in that he doth not only recover strength to rise, but is also able to make his own bed, who could move no member before. To the same end tendeth the continuance of the disease; for a palsy of eight years’ continuance is not easily cured. In like sort is he said to have laid in his bed, that we may know that all his members were lame; for it was a little bed wherein they were wont to rest at noon. Whereas AEneas was so ready to make trial of his members, he thereby declared the obedience of his faith. For although he perceived the strength which was given him, 632 yet he was most of all moved with the efficacy of the words, to rise.
35. And all those. His meaning is, that the miracle was published abroad, and was known throughout the whole city. For when the Scripture saith all, it doth not comprehend every one how many so ever it noteth; but it putteth all for the more part, or for many, or for the common sort of men. Therefore, the sense is, that whereas there was but a small number of godly men there, a great part of the people became members of the Church. And in this clause is expressed the fruit of the miracle, because they embraced Christ and his gospel. Wherefore those men corrupt miracles, whosoever they be, which look only upon men, and do not turn their eyes toward this end, that being instructed concerning the power and grace of Christ, they may stick only to him. Therefore that token of Christ’s divine power which he showed was the beginning of turning to him. 633
“Redditum sibi vigorem,” that his vigor was restored.
“Initium et praeparatio conversionis ad ipsum,” was a preparation and commencement of conversion to him.