Thursday, February 09, 2006
In youth group we just finished studying Acts 13 this week. So, I want to backtrack just a little and talk about something we looked at a few weeks ago. It happened in Acts 9.
Located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea is Jerusalem’s seaport city Joppa. Not much going on here. A death just took place, a disciple by the name of Tabitha, a woman who enjoyed making clothes, doing good things for others, and helping the poor. Her death saddened those closest to her and a time of mourning was in place. Gloomy times for Joppa. But, a splinter of hope was rising amongst the disciples in Joppa. Word has it that there’s a man nearby with the ability to bring her back to life. Who is it? Long time disciple and follower of Jesus, Peter. (Acts 9:36-38)
The disciples send for this man named Peter. He hears their predicament and eagerness for help. Knowing what it’s like to lose someone, he travels to Joppa. He’s greeted with tears and hugs and taken to the upstairs room where Tabitha laid washed and waiting for burial. Friends, family, and widows have paid their respects. A handful of widows still remain with her in the room weeping. Peter feels the heartache of those around him and asks them to leave the room. Some think he’s just going to pay his respects and pray over her. A few minutes go by and suddenly the door opens, Peter reappears aglow with a smile on his face, Tabitha is standing by his side. She’s been given the breath of life again; she’s alive! (Acts 9:39-43)
Before Pentecost (Event in which disciples were given Holy Spirit. See Acts 2 for the whole story), Peter couldn’t have done something like this. But, after the outpouring of the third Person of the Trinity (Holy Spirit), Peter’s life was changed. He had received the same Spirit flowing eternally back and forth between the first Person of the Trinity (The Father) and second Person (Jesus). The Spirit is life because the Spirit is God. Three distinct Persons (Father, Son, and Spirit) who make up our One great God (think too hard about it and it hurts, at least for me). And Peter, by faith in Jesus Christ was welcomed into the Trinity, not to be made or turned into a god, but to become like God.
I read this short story in Acts 9:36-43 and my curiosity is peaked. To think of Peter bringing someone back from the dead seems absurd! Healing a cripple is plausible, but bringing a dead person back to life? But, why should it surprise me? Those of us who have confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead are given a deposit. Ephesians 1:13 reminds us of what that deposit is: The Holy Spirit. So, I shouldn’t be surprised at God’s ability to work through Peter in the Person of the Holy Spirit to raise the dead. This wasn’t the first time God raised someone from the dead.
- What do you think of this story?
- Do you find it hard to believe? Peter bringing someone back to life?
- Have you ever heard of this happening today?
*Side note: After raising Tabitha from the dead look at what happens in Joppa. The event grabs the attention of many people and they believe in the Lord. (Acts 9:42)