Acts 9:36-43

The names Tabitha and Dorcas both mean ‘deer’. Tabitha was a woman who was dearly loved because of the all the good things she did for her community. Peter was in Lydda, not far from Joppa when she died, The Christians in Joppa had heard of all the miracles that Peter was doing so they sent two men to find Peter and ask him to come to them, possibly just before or just after Tabitha died. They may have hoped for their own miracle or for Peter to offer them comfort in their grief at their loss.

Peter returned with the two messengers. The widows of the community had gathered and were weeping. Peter must have felt a stirring inside him from God for he asked them all to leave him in anticipation of what God planned to do through him. Peter used similar words to those of Jesus when He raised the synagogue ruler’s little daughter from death. He was simply trying to do the same as Jesus had done. He was following Jesus’ lead.

Tabitha opened her eyes and sat up. This was not a resurrection event – she would one day die again – but it was still a remarkable miracle. The saints (members of the church) and the widows were called together to celebrate the occasion.

Peter stayed on in Joppa with a man called Simon the Tanner. This would have been shocking for any Jews who heard about it. They understood the law to forbid them to associate with people who worked with dead animals, as a tanner would. At that time, a tanner had to live 75 metres outside the village because he was considered ritually unclean on a permanent basis

It is evident that Peter was becoming less concerned about his Jewish traditions. Peter was changing and God was preparing him for new work.

Points to Ponder

  • What is the most outrageous or daring thing you have ever done or witnessed being done in God’s name? Share your story briefly with one another. What was the reaction of the people who were with you? What was your own reaction? Was this obviously the work of God, or could there have been something doubtful about it? What have the long-term results been? How do you feel about it now?
  • What does this beloved psalm mean to you? When have you found it to be a comfort, an encouragement, a refreshing gift from God?
  • How do you feel, at this time, when you think of eternity serving and praising God? What does the thought do to you? Do you look forward to it, or do you think a bit of variety would be nice? Why? How much time in a day do you spend praising and worshipping God? What do those moments mean to you?
  • Jesus was accused of not being who He said He was. Sometimes people will say to us ‘… and you call yourself a Christian?’ How do you respond to such comments? Do they hurt you or make you stop and think? What do you do when they are justified? What do you do when they are wrong? Have you ever said that to someone else? How did they respond – and how did your response make you feel?



Bible Commentary

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