Read: Acts 9:32-43
In this marvelous passage, Luke provides two examples of miraculous healing as Peter does what he was told to do: ministering to the sheep of Christ’s flock. The first few words of verse 32 show us that Peter is actively moving about, going from place to place is nothing new, it’s just what he does. The notes indicate that Lydda is 25 miles from Jerusalem and Joppa is another 10-mile jog away. It’s just interesting to think who much distance is covered when the primary mode of transportation involved sandals. The real story, in this particular case, is about some exceptional miracles that happened which resulted in many more coming to Christ.
Aeneas is Healed
In a Vineyard video that Ben Eaves shared with me, a pastor told of a story where he discovered that the gift of healing is indeed relevant today, it’s not just a story we read about. The Holy Spirit still has the power to heal. In the video, John Wimber related how he learned an amazing truth about the prayers for healing: they’re amazingly short. Peter follows this model in what we read here:
“Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. Acts 9:34
Aeneas was heal from his physical problems, that’s great but even greater was the reaction from the town and surrounding area:
All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. Acts 9:35
Dorcas is Revived
Well “revived” puts it lightly, she was raised from the dead! Luke draws our attention to a disciple, one who is known for doing good and helping the poor, who happens to be female. Tabitha (Dorcas) became sick and died. Dead.
her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Acts 9:37
The disciples in the area heard that Peter was around so they put her body in a room in anticipation that she was not quite ready for burial. It’s a bit confusing, and somewhat troubling, that they felt like only Peter had the ability to resurrect Dorca. Perhaps it was because they were all still new to the faith, had doubts that clouded their minds and inhibited the Spirit from working somehow. I don’t know why, but they knew Peter was close, so they sent for him.
When he arrived, the other widows showed off her amazing work, the robes and other clothing she made for others. Dorcas was obviously a wonderful woman, greatly loved and respected by others.
Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Acts 9:40
There is a real power in prayer. The text doesn’t say he prayed and fasted for hours, no sign of anything beyond a truly devoted follower of Christ clearing all distractions and praying for this dearly loved servant.
Peter presented her to the people, especially the widows, as one who is alive. It seems that Dorcas’ days are not yet done, she still has work to do before her life on earth is complete.
Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord Acts 9:41-42
It’s wonderful to read these stories, to see how Peter’s obedience and dedication to Jesus resulted in healing and reviving. I can’t help but wonder why this doesn’t happen more often today. Sadly I have to believe it’s because my heart is not completely in tune with the Spirit.
Most of the time I hear about healing ministries it’s attributed to those who seem to profit from the results. From my tainted perspective, it seems the purpose of miraculous healing is for spreading the gospel. The examples here show us that people knew it was not about Peter, it was all about Jesus. If we get that right, perhaps the Spirit can work through us even today.
Lord, increase our faith in little things to strengthen us for the troubles that seem to pursue us in this life. May we continue to grow in faith and see You work in those who know You and those who do not. All for Your glory.