ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
Chapter 9:32-43 – Peter’s Work in Lydda & Joppa
After Peter (and John) left Samaria, they preached in many villages of the Samaritans – and then returned to Jerusalem – Acts 8:25. Peter kept on preaching wherever he went, and came to Lydda. This was still in Judah, near Joppa. He came there to the saints -V. 32. This is another name for a Christian, or a believer in Jesus.
There he found a certain man named Aeneas. He was paralyzed and had been bed-ridden for 8 years. Peter said to him – “Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed.” Peter may have remembered how Jesus healed the one sick of the palsy (same thing as this man Aeneas had). In that case, Jesus told the sick one, “Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house” – Mk 2:11. The beds in those days were not like the ones you have in your home. It was just a mattress or a pad of some kind. That wouldn’t have been hard to pick up and take with him. Aeneas rose up immediately. Then it says in V. 35 that all those who lived in Lydda and Saron saw him and turned to the Lord.
We must remember that Peter heard Jesus say, even before He went to the cross, that after He was gone that the disciples, and others who believed in Him, would do greater works, and we suppose it means more of these works, than He did while He was here – Jn. 14:12. Then just before Jesus went back to heaven, he told the ones who watched Him go that they would lay hands on the sick and they would recover – Mk. 16:17-18. These signs would follow their ministry. You can see that the healing caused people to come to the Lord. That was the purpose of the sign.
Those in Joppa heard about the healing. A woman there named Tabitha had died. They even had prepared her body for burial. Peter was sent for, to come right away. When he came he found she had been placed in an upper room. This woman was also called “Dorcas.” She must have been a very kind and loving person, for it says she was full of good works and almsdeeds. Peter was taken to the room where the dead woman lay. The other believers felt so badly about her death. All the widows stood there weeping. They were showing the clothing she had made while she was with them.
Peter knew that just feeling sorry about it wasn’t enough. There had to be faith for this woman to come back from the dead. For this reason, we suppose, he had them leave. Peter kneeled down, and prayed. He turned to the woman’s body and said, “Tabitha, arise.” She opened her eyes, and sat up when she saw Peter. Peter gave her his hand, and lifted her up. Then he called the saints and widows, and presented her alive.
This miracle reminds us somewhat of the time when Peter’s wife’s mother lay sick of the fever. Jesus came and touched her hand and the fever left her - Mt. 8:14-15. Perhaps Peter also remembered when Jesus took Jarus’ daughter by the hand when the people said she was dead – Lk. 8:40-42, 49-56. The maid was dead, and so was Tabitha. In Luke 8:55 it says the maid’s spirit came again. When people die, the spirit leaves the body. So when anyone is raised from the dead, the spirit again comes into the body.
Peter had a wonderful ministry. He must have believed the things Jesus had said would take place as they preached the gospel. We can see that he could have even imitated Jesus, which is all right to do. We have a wonderful message to give to people. We are not telling that we can go around raising the dead. It could happen, of course. One thing we can do, however, is preach about Jesus who is the resurrection and the life. If people will believe on Him, they will some day be raised from the dead and go to heaven. This means they will live there forever.
The result of Tabitha’s healing was that it become known all around that area and many believed in the Lord – V. 42.
Peter stayed there in Joppa for many days with a man named Simon, who was a tanner – V. 43.
Continued next issue.