Let’s see, last time we heard from Peter he and John were headed back to Jerusalem from Samaria – preaching as they went. Apparently traveling was part of the job description, so now he’s visiting the church at Lydda.
I guess he’s passing through town when he finds Aeneas, the paralyzed man, probably begging on some well-traveled roadway. Peter, always to the point, speaks directly to him – “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose. There was no indication Aeneas was expecting to be addressed, whether he was a man of faith – nada. All you know is Peter knew his name. (Reminds me Jesus knows my name, knows my condition, knows where I hangout, knows what I need. Sometimes He just shows up, without me needing to say anything, I immediately know He’s been there.)
But here’s the point: And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
Everybody around knew Aeneas – he had endured for eight years and then one day his healing became a message that rocked his whole town. (Is this a conversion story? Let’s see mine went like – 25 years wheelin’ and dealin’ to make life work, Jesus shows up in the words of a little book, I wake up with a new life; the people around me are stunned. I am a miracle – just like Aeneas.)
About seven miles away in Joppa, a faithful believer has died. Tabitha or Dorcas was a working woman- a seamstress. She was known for her charity. Moreover she was loved because it was her friends that sent for Peter.
When Peter arrived he cleared the room where she had been laid, got down on his knees and prayed. (I have to think Peter was asking “What do I do, Lord?” Jesus had given His apostles all kinds of authority and power. Apparently they were getting accustomed to just doing what came along – doesn’t say anything about prayer when he healed Aeneas. This is Peter – the guy who would usually just bust down the door but he senses the weight of his next action and he waits on the Lord. It occurs to me that Tabitha was with the Lord or at least in transit. Peter would be calling her back – away from heaven, away from glory, away from the very presence of God. Sobering consideration – no wonder he prayed.)
When he had his answer – turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. (The moment is tender, he offers his hand and they know what has happened. They both know – she has come back to serve their Lord’s purposes. They bask in the wonder for a minute…)
Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
Peter stays in Joppa for a long while, living with a tanner named Simon. With many coming to Christ he was probably needed. (Personally, I think it might have been hard to leave right away, considering all that had happened.)
He is Jehovah Rophi – the God Who Heals.
What would I sacrifice to serve my Lord?
About the World?
God has His own ways to get people’s attention.