Sunday Bible Study notes
In the name of Jesus:
32 Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda.
This week we return to St. Peter as focusing so much on St. Paul. Small assemblies of the saints (which is a church) are gathering outside Jerusalem. The church is getting so large that the apostles are no longer going in pairs but individually to assist them, train pastors, etc. St. Peter has left Jerusalem (which is the center of the church at that time) and visiting these little congregations.
33 There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed. 34 And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.” Then he arose immediately. 35 So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. Jesus healed a paralytic. It is recorded in Mark 2:3-12. In that case, four believing friends lowered a paralyzed man through the roof to Jesus. There is no record that the paralyzed man trusted/believed/had faith in Jesus for anything. But Jesus spoke and the man was able to walk.
What is different between the miracles of Jesus and Peter?
How are the unbelieving paralyzed men healed?
How are the unbelieving men saved from eternal death?
Which is more important: what man believes or what God says?
How can a man believe/trust/have faith in Jesus?
Tabitha Raised from the Dead
36 At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas.
I like the name Tabitha more than Dorcas. But, I also associate Tabitha with witchcraft, What was the name of that old tv show where the mom was a witch, the dad was a simple businessman, and their daughter’s name was Tabitha? Bewitched.
This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did.
This Tabitha is not a witch. She is a hardworking faithful Christian. She could have enriched herself but instead she uses her talent to show mercy to people in her congregation and town.
7 But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. It was most common to bury the dead the same day they died or, if late in the day, early the next morning. At any rate, Tabitha is prepared for burial.
38 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. The disciples know that Peter will visit there town, too, during his travels. There is no request of Peter except do not delay. “Do not delay” is a negative way of saying “Hurry Up”
39 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. Tabitha was a talented seamstress. She could have made a lot of money for herself. Instead, she dressed the widows. The widows are poor. Tabitha worked for the poor. Tabbitha practiced mercy and had a reputation for her mercy. She was also part of the local Christian assembly (which was not very big). The church was blessed with a reputation for mercy in the town of Lydda. Our merciful Father blessed that little church by giving her to the church.
40 But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed.
To make it clear, the disciples did not request that Peter give comfort to the Christians by preaching a sermon. They brought Peter to Tabbitha. The disciples did not ask Peter to raise Tabitha from the dead for they knew that only God can raise the dead. However, the disciples lay the problem of Tabitha’s death before the Lord. Peter doesn’t know what will happen. Peter prays. He lays the problem on Jesus. Whatever Jesus decides to do, is ok.
And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.”
Peter does not turn to Tabitha but to Tabitha’s body. We don’t need to enquire where Tabitha was but assume she is with the Lord. Peter gets an answer. The Lord wishes to bless the congregation again by raising Tabitha from the dead.
And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. The first thing people do when the wake up from sleep is….open their eyes. She was fully cured, immediately. She sat up. This miracle is a lot like Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44 esp. 40-44).
Compare Jesus and Peter in their actions to raise the dead.
Were both Lazarus and Tabitha Christians?
What is the main difference between Jesus and Peter?
41 Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord. 43 So it was that he stayed many days in Joppa with Simon, a tanner.
Before a few final questions, note that Peter, a Jewish Christian, stayed in the house of a ceremonially unclean Gentile. Peter had no problem with this. The whole of chapter 9, concerning the accounts of Saul/Paul and Peter, is the beginning of the Great Gentile Debate that follows in chapter 10. What is required of Jews and Gentiles to be called a Christian?
What are the concerns of our little assembly of the saints (which is a church)?
How do we start to address these problems?