Daily Word

Working of a miracle | Acts 9:36-43

36 Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which when translated means [u]Dorcas); this woman was [v]excelling in acts of kindness and charity which she did habitually. 37 But it happened [w]at that time that she became sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upstairs room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Do not delay in coming to us.”

39 So Peter got ready and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the room upstairs; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the [x]tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. 40 But Peter sent 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. 41 And he gave her his hand and raised her up; and calling the [y]saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42 It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.

43 And Peter stayed in Joppa many days with a tanner named Simon.

Acts 9:36-43 (NASB) 中文

Peter’s ministry

The spotlight has turned from Saul after his conversion and start of ministry to Peter now. Peter has been ministering outside Jerusalem. He’s just healed Aeneas, the man cripled for 8 years. Word spreads quickly and a neighboring town hears about it. 

Peter’s presence

Peter’s presence was known outside Lydda. The disciples in Joppa nearby hear “Peter’s in town”. At the time he is in Lydda, this saint, Dorcas, the widow, dies in Joppa. In desperation and despair, they sent for Peter to come and help. She was well loved by all the otters for her consistent good works. She was living out Matthew 5:16 – letting her light shine before men in such a way that they can see her good world and glorify the Father in Heaven. 

Making of a miracle

Some questions to consider about the miracle:

  • Why did the residents of Joppa send for Peter? Did they believe he could raise Dorcas from the dead? Were they just desperate for any help they could get? Maybe they just wanted comfort from a leader.
  • How about Peter? He hadn’t raised anyone from the dead. He’d performed the same miracle as Jesus two times (cf previous post,  Acts 9:32-35). Maybe his faith was built up to believe he could also do as Jesus (and some OT prophets) and raise the dead. 
  • Did the stories about the life and works of Dorcas affect Peter in some way to boost his faith and determination to attempt to raise her?
  • Why did he send them out? We know Jesus did this when He raised the girl from the dead (Mark 5:38-43, the ruler of a synagogue’s daughter). Maybe he was a bit shy and didn’t want to be embarrassed if his prayer failed? He surely was taking his faith to the next level! We know at least a few remained who told the incident to others. 
  • He, like Jesus, just spoke the word and she was revived (Note: she was not resurrected). For what it’s worth, Peter didn’t end his prayer with, “In Jesus’ name.” – though it surely was done in His name, with His resurrection power!

The purpose

We can’t let the wonder or the details of the miracle distract us from the purpose. What was that? That people would believe. Sure, God wanted to demonstrate love and care to those grieving, but that would be only a reprise, for Dorcas would die again some time. She wasn’t resurrected to eternal life. No, He was focused on the souls that would be saved.

Staying with a tanner

Enduringword.com points out that it was very uncommon for a Jew to stay with someone who, as a tanner, deals with dead animals all the time. He would be very unclean. “Because of this, we see Peter was becoming less concerned about Jewish traditions and ceremonial notions than before. This work of God in Peter’s heart laid groundwork for what God would do in Peter in the following chapter.” (enduringword.com)


  • Is God challenging you to take a step of faith, to go to the next level? Get over the fear. I know someone who tried recently (and failed) – but at least they tried to see if they had a particular gift.
  • Is there someone in your life that is a Dorcas? Don’t wait until they are gone to tell them you appreciate them and to bless them as they have blessed you.
Raise the dead. Image from hopefaithprayer.com *

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