In Acts 9, we learn that Peter traveled and visited God’s people in Sharon, Lydda and Joppa. How did God use Peter to enhance the faith of believers? As Peter traveled, the Lord’s believers witnessed the most needed healing of Aneneas and the raising of Dorcas from death. Verse 35 tells us that all who dwelt in Sharon and Lydda saw this man who had been paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. Peter asked Aneneas to arise and make his bed after telling him that Jesus the Christ had healed him. He arose immediately and people from Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord! Long term ailments were surely removed from his body by faith in Jesus Christ through Peter. Aneneas was healed and ordered by Peter to demonstrate his strength with movements. Peter claimed no credit for himself, but announced that Jesus Christ healed Aneneas.
Traveling to Joppa, Peter met a faithful woman who lived in this seaport city which is known today as Tel Aviv. That woman was named Tabitha (Dorcas in Greek) who was a believer in Jesus Christ and who did lots of sewing. She shared so much with the less fortunate and they showed her works to Peter. While Peter was visiting nearby, Dorcas died. Her fellow Christians were getting her body ready for burial and sent for the apostle Peter who hurried to them immediately. Surely those sorrowing believers showed him her generous gifts. At that time, a crowd of grief-stricken widows surrounded the dead body. Upon Peter’s arrival, his organizational skills were quickly intensified! We definitely know that many prayers were answered when Peter commanded Dorcas to rise from her death bed. She was presented to the believers alive and well. That widespread news traveled in Joppa which was Israel’s largest metropolitan area after Jerusalem. Everything happened in a well known area. After cleaning the room, the apostle raised Dorcas from the dead! What a great day that must have been for her and other Christians along with new converts who professed faith in Christ. God had Peter in position at the right time to restore her life!
We can think of many times when God’s healings have been quickly recognized. In present times of rehabilitation with medicines, therapy and skilled nursing care, God is still the real healer. With our unceasing prayers and other faithful believers, God gives us so many opportunities to do good in His name. Those were two great living testimonies for God as Aneneas was healed and Dorcas was raised from her death bed and restored to life. Since God is continuing to do the humanly impossible tasks, we can call on Him for healing of our minds and bodies which enable us to do His will in our lives and to enhance unwavering faith in other believers.
As God’s people, how can we use these ancient stories to grow spiritually stronger in our twenty-first century culture? Do our lives testify to our faith as clearly as Dorcas’s did? Living, dying or being resurrected, she glorified her Lord. How can we become all that God wills for us? Like any biblical characters, our lives are not perfect. Let us continue to pray for guidance with faith to follow where He leads us!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.