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Acts 9:32-43 (web)

Peter Heals and Raises the Dead

9:32 It happened, as Peter went throughout all those parts, 
he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. 
9:33 There he found a certain man named Aeneas, 
who had been bedridden for eight years, because he was paralyzed. 
9:34 Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed!" 
Immediately he arose. 
9:35 All who lived at Lydda and in Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord. 

9:36 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, 
which when translated, means Dorcas.{"Dorcas" is Greek for "Gazelle."}
This woman was full of good works and acts of mercy which she did. 
9:37 It happened in those days that she fell sick, and died. 
When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper chamber. 
9:38 As Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men
{Reading from NU, TR; MT omits "two men"} to him,
imploring him not to delay in coming to them. 
9:39 Peter got up and went with them. 
When he had come, they brought him into the upper chamber. 
All the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments 
which Dorcas had made while she was with them. 

9:40 Peter put them all out, and kneeled down and prayed. 
Turning to the body, he said, "Tabitha, get up!" 
She opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 
9:41 He gave her his hand, and raised her up. 
Calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 
9:42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. 
9:43 It happened, that he stayed many days in Joppa with one Simon, a tanner. 


These miracles again affirmed the gospel Peter preaches and as such convince many to come to faith in Christ. 

Get Up!

If we allegorize this historical event, we may infer that the church at times is paralyzed. Christian are constrained into inaction whether by the flesh, the world, or even through the institutional mentality within the Church, as I often speak of. For those under such constraints I tell you, "Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and get to work!"

Good Works Invoke a Resurrection

Of Dorcas it says she "was always doing good and helping the poor." This is an example to follow. Doing good things should not only be a possibility, but a characteristic of our lives as Christians. And Christian love is meeting the practical needs of people, such as the poor. Dorcas took initiative to meet such needs and started her own ministry.  What are you skilled at? How can you use your skills and your possessions to start your own ministry? What are the needs you see out there? And who is going to care if you die? What did your life matter?

It is unfortunate that partially due to the reaction of the Protestant community against a salvation by works mentality that good works are often inappropriately devalued among those of a reformed theology. Among Calvinists, for example, there are "Do-nothing Calvinists" who may reckon modern day Dorcases as legalists. They reckoned contemptuously anyone doing good works. Yet when we read the Bible we recognize that it commends doing good works. And it gives examples such as Dorcas and later Cornelius and such who meet practical needs. Yet there are Calvinists who deny that good works are even possible to do. Best to stick with the Bible. 

The fact that her good works were emphasized imply to me that she was raised not simply as an act of arbitrary grace, but rather in order that she may continue serving the Lord in her ministry. This kind of indicates the value of those who serve God. The harvest is plentiful, but laborers few, and therefore valuable. Just it is difficult to retire a valued employee, so also it is partially with regret that God must take his laborers from the harvest. Paul writes of his own conflict between desiring to die to be with the Lord or to live and serve to meet the present need.

 "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith," Philippians 1:21-25 (niv)
While we live, let us live for Christ. For "he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." 2Cor 5:15 (niv)

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jun 09,2023