Acts 9:23-43: Saul, Peter and Tabitha, a.k.a., Dorcas
I read this passage yesterday and found it to be interesting to get in some more first-century Christian history. When it comes to reading the Bible and blogging, I prefer to read the entire passage first and then take notes on what I read. It works so far and I hope the readers like that. I also try to mix in what I was doing at the time so that it doesn’t read as a cure-for-insomnia exegesis.
Saul: “Hey! I’m a Christian! Honest! No kidding! No more persecuting Christians! I even now wear a W.W.J.D.? bracelet!”
Saul, soon to be known as Paul, the Apostle Formerly Known as Saul, had quite the transformation. Earlier in this chapter he was on his way to Damascus to continue persecuting Christians. Now, he had to be rescued from some angry Jews who wanted to kill him. Before they got to him, disciples came by night, lowered him down the wall from his room in a basket and transported him to Jerusalem.
Despite rescuing Saul (who, again, will soon become Paul), the other disciples were still very reluctant to accept Saul as a fellow Christian. It reminds me a little of the mass reluctance among many Christians when shock rocker Alice Cooper announced he’d become a Christian.
If ever Alice Cooper were to record a new song, it would probably be titled, “No More Mr. Unsaved Guy!”
It seemed so unfathomable that a man known for his outrageous performances would actually be a fellow believer in Jesus.
Seeing the concern, Barnabas vouched for Saul to the disciples and convinced them to give him a chance to prove themselves. They did, no doubt some worried that Saul was a double agent. If only he’d had with him a Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye signed copy of Left Behind, or perhaps if he’d had a W.W.J.D.? bracelet.
We read that Saul was sent to churches in Caesarea, Tarsus (his hometown), Judaea, Galilee, Samaria and that many people were saved and edified.
Peter continued fishing, healing
It’s hard to believe that, at the end of the Gospel According to John, Peter was found to be a defeated disciple with a heavy Galilean accent (which would probably make him sound like the Jewish equivalent of redneck). In this chapter, we see him preaching, teaching and healing. Specifically, healing.
First, a gentleman named Aeneas who’d been bedridden with palsy for eight years. God used this healing to bring people to him in Lydda and Saron.
Peter then wowed people at Joppa through his miracle performed on a disciple named Tabitha, also named Dorcas. Verse 36 described her as a woman “full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.” Unfortunately, she became sick and died and was apparently prepared for burial and placed in an upper chamber.
With people weeping, Peter came and kneeled down and prayed and commanded Tabitha to rise. She opened her eyes, saw him and sat up.
Tabitha’s return from the dead was no doubt the talk of the day in Joppa as people probably texted, blogged and read newspaper accounts about it. Verse 42 tells us many believed in the Lord.
Peter then stayed in Joppa a while with a tanner named Simon. It really is amazing to see what the Lord accomplished through Peter, and it never ceases to amaze me how God chooses to work with seemingly-humble, lowly people instead of relying on the well-educated, upper crust.
Richard Zowie is currently blogging his way through the Bible and has no idea how long it’ll take. He hopes to have it done within two years. Post comments here or e-mail him at email@example.com.