Acts 9:32-43 From Saul to the Apostle Peter
For the next few studies Saul (Paul) will be out of the picture, and our attention will turn largely to the apostle Peter. These studies should prove to be interesting. We are going to see changes at work in both the thinking of the apostles and in the composition of the Church.
Again let's remind ourselves to leave behind our 21st century Church thinking, and see ourselves as participants with the early believers. It is time for us to began some travels with the apostle Peter.
Are you ready?
This is Acts023 - Acts 9:32-43 From Saul to the Apostle Peter.
Vs32: "Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda."
.... Time frame: Biblical chronology shows this to be about 40 a.d., or seven years after Pentecost. Also keep in mind that since Pentecost there is no record of anyone speaking in other languages. During these months and years since Pentecost, there are untold thousands of people coming to faith in Jesus. At this point of time the Church is made up entirely of Jewish and Samaritan believers.
.... "Traveling through those regions." This is a reference to vs31, which speaks of Judea, Galilee and Samaria. Peter is traveling throughout the region where converts have been made. He may be helping to establish the churches. (Lydda is a little over thirty miles from Jerusalem, near the Mediterranean sea.)
Vss33-35: "There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years, for he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, 'Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed.' Immediately he got up. And all who lived at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord."
.... Peter calls Aeneas by name, and then tells him that "Jesus Christ" heals him. Next Peter tells the paralyzed man to 'get up and to 'make' his bed. It is interesting how Aeneas is told to something. You will find this is often the case where a miracle work of God is involved. The Lord requires that we do our part. As Aeneas responds to Peter's words, he receives a miracle healing.
.... "All who lived at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord." Here again we see the miracle working power of God through the apostolic band. Notice how great the Jewish harvest is becoming. Entire cities are turning to Jesus.
Vs36: "Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did. And it happened at that time that she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room."
.... It was the custom of the Jews for the women to prepare the body for burial. This they did. But they also put her body in an upper room. This was likely where the believers met for services. The believers knew that the apostle Peter was close at hand.
.... This brings us back to the signs of a true apostle. Notice that the disciples in Joppa do not attempt to bring Tabitha back to life. They were well aware that the apostles had been given unique powers. So they sent two disciples for Peter.
Vs38: "Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, imploring him, 'Do not delay in coming to us.'"
.... There is no question that the disciples believed Peter had the power to raise Tabitha from the dead. No was would have strayed very far from the upper room.
Vs39: "So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them."
.... It is felt among some groups today that we ought not mourn the passing of a believer, but this is contrary to our nature. Although we know without any doubt that a believing loved one goes to be with Jesus, we yet feel their loss very deeply. It is perfectly right to weep.
But here we will see Peter do something we might find strange.
Vs40: "But Peter sent 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."
.... Why did Peter send the disciples out of the room? Were they not believers? The reason is deeper. Peter needed his moment of aloneness with Jesus. The apostles did not just go around raising people from the dead. Peter kneels in prayer. Just he and Jesus. And in the quietness of the moment the apostle receives what he is to do.
No shouting. No loud noises. No repeated praying. No having to wrestle the devil. Peter turns to the body, and says, "Tabitha, arise!" Instantly resurrection power fills her lifeless body, and she sits up. This is what happens when Jesus is in charge of a situation. When we are in charge the best we can do is make a fair show in the flesh.
Can we learn from this? How often do we set about to do great things for the Lord, and then wonder why they don't happen? Could it be that we aren't getting our instructions in prayer.
Someone once asked the Chinese Christian how he was able to bring so many people to Jesus. He said, "I talkee, talkee, talkee. Then I walkee, walkee, walkee." His point was before he begin witnessing, he got together with Jesus. Then when he went, Jesus went with him. What a simple and yet profound truth.
The apostle Paul describes this great truth. He says, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." (Gal 2:20)
Vs41: "And he gave her his hand and raised her up; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive."
.... Peter calls the believers back to the upper room, and there before them stands this precious disciple of Jesus Christ. She had been made whole. And you can be sure that whatever medical condition resulted in her demise, that condition was no longer present in her body.
Vs42,43: " It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. And Peter stayed many days in Joppa with a tanner named Simon."
.... Again we see the pattern of 'many' conversions as a result of a miracle. The Lord knows that the Jewish harvest has to have it's miracle element, and this is exactly what He provides.
But this is another reason the Jewish people of that time were left without excuse. Signs and wonders followed the apostles and others of the apostolic band. These signs and wonders continued to affirm that Jesus was truly Messiah.
The apostle Paul later writes, "For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." (1Co1:22-24)
This study was originally part of a series on the book of Acts given to members of Hebraic Foundations from July 10, 2002 through January 19, 2003. They were written by Pastor Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister, who founded Christian Challenge International. Writings are the copyright of Buddy Martin and reprinted on this site by permission.
Page added October 22, 2004
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