Text: Acts 9:36-43
Receive our warm greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ. It is a great joy for us as the pastoral team to continue ministering to you during this season. The Lord is still with us despite the challenges of each day. He continues to be our source of hope and encouragement. Today we focus on the story of a lady in the New Testament as we witness the miracle of raising her back to life. The lady’s is named Dorcas or Tabitha. This happened in Joppa which is the second of three stops on Peter’s Judean tour, Lydda being the first and Caesarea being the third.
Tabitha is a disciple and a believer. Tabitha is her Aramaic name (Aramaic is a Semitic language used by most Jewish people in New Testament times). Tabitha means gazelle—a graceful, lovely antelope. Since many of the people for whom Luke is writing in the early church understand Greek but not Aramaic, Luke tells them the word for gazelle in Greek, which is Dorcas.
The scripture tells that this woman was full of good works and acts of mercy (v. 36b). In verse 39, we learn that Tabitha gave tunics and other clothing to widows. However, there is no reason to assume that her good works and charities were limited to these gifts of clothing. It seems likely that her charitable disposition would have led her to many other acts of charity as well.
It seems quite possible that Tabitha was a woman of means. However, many people who are known for their acts of charity are not wealthy. People who have experienced financial hardship understand how difficult that can be—and how a small act of charity can serve to remedy that difficulty. However, we can be sure that Tabitha was not an impoverished widow. She has the means to share generously with others.
It happened in those days that Dorcas fell sick, and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. Jewish people just as it is in most of our communities around us considered proper burial a religious duty. Typical preparations for burial included washing the body, anointing it with burial spices such as frankincense and myrrh, and wrapping the body in cloth.
As Lydda was near Joppa. The distance of 18 km would require about three hours to walk—and another three to return. These men, on an urgent mission, might make the round trip in four hours, but hardly less. When dealing with an urgent mission, it makes sense to send two messengers. In the event that one cannot continue, the other can carry on—and two heads are better than one. Luke tells of other situations where two people were chosen for a task. We have got to check for a prayer partner to walk the journey together. To pray for one another during this season.
Peter did not delay in coming to them when a message came to him about what had happen to Dorcas. The tone of the request from the people was urgent, which causes us to wonder what they expect Peter to do. Perhaps they are asking him to help those who are grieving. But it seems more likely that they have heard of miracles conducted elsewhere and hope that Peter will work a miracle at Joppa. They believe that the soul remains in the vicinity for a time, but that it passes permanently into Sheol on the third day.
Living a life of significance during this season of Covid -19 will be like Dorcas to engage in the acts of mercy and love to the needy. Our acts of mercy and charity work to the needy will portray our true faith. God is pleased when we extend a hand of help to the needy around us (Mathew 25:33-46). The saying is true that what you do for yourself dies with you and totally forgotten, but what you do for others will live for ever.
Let us therefore continue praying that God will come and heal his people. If He can resurrect the dead, He could heal the sick and clear Covid-19 away. Our assignment is to pray that God comes through. The call for prayer is more urgent than any other time in history. Let’s all engage in an urgent task of calling on the Name of God for the healing of the nations and the world. Our God is able. Our God shall not tally