This page is a verse by verse study of Acts 9:32-43, about Peter’s Miracles in Lydda and Joppa. Peter healed a paralyzed man and raised Tabitha from death back to life.
Peter’s Miracles in Lydda and Joppa
¶ "Peter was travelling all around, and he came down to visit the saints who lived at Lydda."(Acts 9:32).
Saints The disciples of Christ are called “saints” four times in the book of Acts. It means those who are sanctified or made holy, and this applies to all disciples (1Thessalonians 5:23-24). Instead of the word “saints”, we can use the term “holy people” —it means the same thing.
¶ "In Lydda, Peter came upon a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden with paralysis for eight years. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Rise up and make your bed.” Immediately Aeneas got out of bed. All the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord."(Acts 9:33-35).
Immediately. One characteristic of the healing miracles performed by the apostles was immediacy. The healing was not gradual with a period of convalescence. Nor was there any need to coax the healed into standing up and taking a few faltering steps. The healing was immediate and complete.
All saw him. Another characteristic of the apostolic healing miracles is the quality of testimony. A large number of people saw the man healed, knowing first hand what condition he had been in before the healing.
¶ "At Joppa, there was a disciple named Tabitha. Her name translated is Dorcas or Gazelle. This woman was full of good works and constant acts of mercy. However, she fell sick in those days, and died. Her carers washed her and laid her in an upper room."(Acts 9:36-37).
Good people die. It's hard for us to understand why sickness and death inflict even those who are full of mercy and good works. The death of Dorcas, like the death of any righteous and beloved person, is sad and disheartening. It's hard to see the reason why. Trials and tribulations, sickness and sorrow, death and disappointment —these are facts of life that our faith must face. We rely on the promise of heaven: "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain..."(Revelation 21:4).
¶ "The disciples at Joppa heard that Peter was nearby at Lydda. So they sent two men to Peter, imploring him to come to them without delay. Peter got up and went with them. On reaching Joppa, they brought Peter into the upper room. All the widows stood by weeping. They showed Peter the coats and garments that Dorcas had made while she was with them alive."(Acts 9:38-39).
Peter nearby. It seems that there was nobody in Joppa who could raise the dead. No surprise there. In the normal world, there is never anybody who can raise the dead once death is complete. But on this occasion there was, in a nearby town, an apostle of Jesus Christ who could raise the dead. Knowing this, the disciples at Joppa sent for Peter with urgency. He came to find Dorcas surrounded by women weeping. Since they were widows, this was not the first time death had caused them to weep. But weeping and lamenting, as appropriate as it was, wouldn't bring Dorcas back. However, Peter could.
¶ "Peter asked everyone to leave the room. He knelt and prayed. Then he turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, arise!” Tabitha opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. He offered her his hand, and lifted her up. Then he called the saints and widows and presented Tabitha alive. This miracle became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord."(Acts 9:40-42).
Tabitha, arise. Tabitha’s return to life must have been a joyful occasion. However she would some day die again and be wept over once more. There's a day coming when all the saints who have died, including Tabitha, shall rise from death never to die again (John 5:28-29, 1Corinthians 15:50-55, 1Thessalonians 4:13-18).
¶ "Peter ended up staying many days in Joppa, as a guest of Simon, a tanner."(Acts 9:43).
God’s manifold grace. The miracle at Joppa caused many to believe. Peter stays on so as to minister to these new believers. But preachers are not the only servants of use in the church. Simon the Tanner also served, by offering hospitality to Peter. So you see, we all have something to contribute: like Dorcas making clothing for the needy; Peter making the gospel and power of Jesus known; Simon the Tanner offering hospitality to God’s workers. Yes, we also serve. Peter himself says, "As each person has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."(1Peter 4:10).