At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did.
But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.
And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them.
Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them.
But Peter put 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.
Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive.
[Acts 9:36-41 NKJV]
Some Bible scholars make much of Peter and Paul in the book of Acts, as if they were in competition with each other, but this is coming at scripture in the natural mind and not the spiritual.
Luke, in his ‘Acts of the Apostles’ is careful and purposeful in balancing his record of their influence on the early Church. The story of Tabitha being raised from death in Acts 9 through Peter, has its equivalent in Acts 20, where Paul is The Lord’s chosen instrument to bring life to Eutychus:
There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together.
And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.
But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.”
Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed.
And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted.
[Acts 20:8-12 NKJV]
I have often puzzled over these stories of the dead being brought back to life. My rational mind insists on pulling the idea apart to see how it works; to identify the mechanism The Lord is using. This attitude is anathema to faith. It is a lack of belief in what Jesus asserts as the core of His presence. He came to raise us all from death and place us firmly in new life - His life. The stories above are but echoes of this one in Mark's gospel:
While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James.
Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.”
And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying.
Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”
Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement.
[Mark 5:35-42 NKJV]
PRAYER: Lord, help me to cast aside my unbelief, so that I can realise and refresh the 'great amazement' in the deepest parts of me, and set free that amazement and overcoming joy at Your life in me.
DON MOEN — “Arise”
OSWALD CHAMBERS — RUN TODAY’S RACE
Friday 11th September 2020
Never take your obedience as the reason God blesses you; obedience is the outcome of being rightly related to God.