Acts 9: 32-43Written by kathleen on May 24, 2015 in - No Comments
Acts 9: 32-42
A tale of three cities
Acts 9 began with a zealous man breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord but God was more than able to turn this terrible threat into a great blessing. Now Luke the writer of this account wants us to know that God’s work was not only continuing, but it was strong, despite the great opposition that had come against it
In verse 32 and in V.41 mention the saints in Lydda and Joppa; this is the first time Christians are called saints in Acts. When the Bible calls Christians saints, the idea isn’t of a super-perfect people; the idea is of a people who are different and have a certain distinctive that are set apart from the way the people of the world deal with things at large.
32 Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda.
33 There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed. 34 And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.” Then he arose immediately. Aeneas was probably a believer
This is pure mercy. There is no request for healing on Aeneas’ part ; Peter just speaks it to him in the authority of Jesus Christ. But this healing is not only for Aeneas, as we see in verse 35 So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. In Acts, as in the gospels, miracles are God’s acts of mercy to the needy, but that is never all they are.
Much more significantly, miracles support and spread the message of the salvation in Christ.
You see, far more miraculous than the healing of a paralyzed man or the raising of a woman from the dead is the work of God in the heart set against God in rebellion that is bound for hell.
A change is taking place from the previous pattern of the apostles who were staying put in Jerusalem and those needing ministry would come to them is now shifting. Peter is now going through all parts of the country doing ministry, traveling the 25 miles from Jerusalem to Lydda. This is a key component in this passage for Peter is on the move he is a man of motion, someone looking for opportunities to minister God’s love any way and any where he can.
Just like today—when the Lord wants to use a man or a woman, He’ll use someone who, like Peter, is on the move, looking for ways to serve Him; because there will be opportunities for the miraculous power of God to change lives. How do we do this? (Like Bicycle riding you get on and get going)
Even though Peter was the “Big Gun in Jerusalem,” here we see him ministering to everyday people one at a time in the name of Jesus and that’s when he found the man God wanted to miraculously heal.
This passage is incredibly similar to what had transpired a few years earlier when Jesus was at a pool called Bethesda. Lame people were lying all around the pool, waiting for the stirring of the water, after which the first one to take the plunge would be healed of his infirmity
It was there (John 5:8) that Jesus approached a man who had been lame for thirty-eight years and said, “Rise and take up your bed”. And now a few years later, Peter used virtually the same phraseology when he said to the lame man at Lydda, “Rise, and make up your bed.”
Interestingly the word “Rise” is a command with “Take up your bed” being used as an exhortation.
So when the Lord comes to you and says, “Rise. I’m giving you victory today. I’m healing you of that lame sin with which you’ve been involved. Now take up your bed meaning don’t expect or provide for any relapse whatsoever.” Expect God to do what he says.
After finding sickness in Lydda, Peter found sadness in Joppa the third city
36 At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. (“gazelle” compliment) This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did.
37 But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. 38 And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. (Hoping for a miracle) they believed that God could use Peter to do something to help in this situation
39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. (Ten miles away – 2 day journey-)
It’s very clear that Tabitha / Dorcas was a loved member of the Christian community in Joppa and was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did.
Tabitha / Dorcas was one who ministered practically. She did good things for people. She sewed clothing. She cared for them in a very tangible way. She was down to earth. She was real.
Even though Peter’s reputation preceded him Peter made himself available that is the most important requirement for personal ministry. He didn’t say, “I’m too big to minister to one dead woman. Do you think that’s a good use of my time? “I got things I need to do” No, Peter responded to the need at hand.
Maybe there’s a dead person in your life—not physically but spiritually—whom the Lord wants to revive through you, as He taps on your heart and says, “Come quickly.”
40 But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. 41 Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive.
Tabitha was dead, and there was great sadness in the city. The disciples called for Peter, and when he arrived, he immediately put out the mourners. Why?
Some say it was because he needed the room. Others say it was because if he prayed and nothing happened he wouldn’t be embarrassed. But it could be that’s what he had seen Jesus do and knew that it takes prayer to accomplish the works of God
I suggest to you the reason Peter knelt down was because he realized that not only was he inadequate for this ministry, and if anyone happened to look into his room while he was praying, they would see him calling upon the Lord.
Maybe you remember the story: Jesus was asked to come to the house of Jairus to heal his daughter. But before He arrived, she died. When Jesus said, “She’s not dead. She’s just sleeping,” the mourners, who were gathered around the house, mocked him and then Jesus sent all of the mockers out.
He went into the room of Jairus’ daughter, took her by the hand, and said, “Talitha cumi,” or “Little lamb, arise.” and she came to life.
Again Peter chose the words of Jesus saying “Tabitha arise” And a miracle happened; she came to life!
It is the Word of God that brings life to any dead or dying situation in a persons life that is why it is so important when you are ministering to someone to always use scripture and it’s principles to bring about change to a new life. That is what produces miracles!
Peter was simply trying to do what Jesus did. Jesus is his example.
With Peters desire to be a faithful servant of Jesus Christ his actions were fruitful. His ministry to one dead woman caused an entire city to be exposed to the gospel and many put their faith in Jesus.
42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord. 43 So it was that he stayed many days in Joppa with Simon, a tanner. (a bridge for the gospel to the gentiles)
By many peoples’ evaluation, Mordecai Ham was one of the least effective preachers of his day. But a young man named William heard his message, responded, and got saved. This makes Mordecai Ham’s entire ministry successful, for William Franklin Graham, better known as Billy, would, in turn, reach millions.
When you take time out to reach one person, you don’t know if that individual might not be the next Billy Graham. Like Peter, you never know the fruit that will come from sharing with one “dead” person.
Dorcas wasn’t raised for her own sake. She would have enjoyed heaven better! She was raised for the sake of her ministry to others, which is the same reason we have passed from death into life
John 5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.
Jesus, when He was brought by Jairus to the daughter, He said unto her, Little maiden, arise. She was dead. She heard His voice and she arose.
When He came to the tomb of Lazarus who had been dead for four days, He commanded that they roll back the stone, then He cried, Lazarus, come forth! And he who was dead heard the voice and came out…We have just seen two more examples of people who heard the voice of Jesus and passed from sickness and death to a new life in Christ.
So those that were dead heard His voice and they were made alive
Even today the voice of God can be heard through the Bible as Jesus gives an invitation for Salvation from the book of Romans chapter
10:9-13 9That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Therefore shouldn’t we be careful not to neglect the great salvation that we have in Christ…?
1 So we must listen very carefully to the truths we have heard, or we may drift away from them.
2 For since the messages from angels have always proved true and people have always been punished for disobeying them,
3 what makes us think that we can escape if we are indifferent to this great salvation announced by the Lord Jesus himself and passed on to us by those who heard him speak? TLB