Intro. The church has just sent Paul off to Tarsus, and now our attention turns back to Peter.
I. "AS PETER PASSED THROUGH ALL THE QUARTERS." WE FIRST SEE PETER AT LYDDA.
A. The church has been expanding rapidly throughout the regions of Judaea.
1. The words of Jesus are being fulfilled. "You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses of Me both in Jerusalem and all Judaea.
2. In the eighth chapter we read:
And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
B. It would appear that Peter decided to go throughout the region of Judaea to visit and strengthen the churches.
1. Paul wrote of his desire to personally visit the church in Rome that he might impart some spiritual gift to them, that they might be mutually benefited by his visit. I would think that the same was true in Peter's desire to visit the churches in Judaea.
2. God certainly used him in a supernatural way while he was there.
C. Peter's visit to the saints that dwelt at Lydda.
1. Notice that all of the believers were referred to as saints.
a. God recognizes you as a saint if you have come to put your faith in Jesus Christ.
b. I believe that the Catholic church has done a great disservice to the body of Christ by canonizing certain individuals. The idea is that they are greater in the eyes of God than others because of their special deeds or commitment. You are just as important to God as anyone else, and in the eyes of God you are a saint.
c. When you get up in the morning and look in the mirror, you are looking at a saint.
2. Lydda was a city in the plains Sharon just about 2/3 of the way from Jerusalem to Joppa.
a. Today the Ben Gurian Airport is located adjacent to the ancient city of Lydda.
b. When you land in Israel, you are landing at Lydda.
3. There was in Lydda a man by the name of Aeneas who had been a paralytic for 8 years. Peter said to him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ has made you whole, arise and make your bed.
4. Here we see three gifts of the Spirit in operation.
a. The gift of miracles. It is indeed a miracle when a man who has been paralyzed for 8 years is suddenly able to walk.
b. We see the gift of faith. Peter spoke the word of faith to him. In healing people, Jesus often healed people with the word of faith.
1. To the man with a withered hand, He said, "Stretch forth your hand."
2. To the leper He said, "Be cleansed."
3. To the cripple He said: "Take up your bed and walk."
4. To Lazarus who lay dead in the tomb He said: "Come forth."
c. We see that Aeneas received the gift of healing. He rose up immediately.
5. The one miracle immediately prompted many miracles.
And all that dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and turned to the Lord.
a. Salvation is as great a miracle as being healed from paralysis. For a person has been paralyzed by sin is now able to walk, blinded by sin, he now can see.
b. For a person to declare that he does not believe that miracles are for today, is to deny the salvation experience, for when the disciples said to Jesus, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus answered, "With man it is impossible but with God, all things are possible."
c. Here, God used miracles to draw people to salvation.
II. PETER AT JOPPA.
A. Evidently, news of Peter's visit was spread throughout the area, for the followers of Christ there had heard that Peter was at Lydda, and a dear sister in Christ had died, and they sent for Peter to come quickly.
1. We are told that her name was Tabitha, which by interpretation is Dorcas.
a. People often wonder how it is that people in the New Testament had two names.
b. One was their Hebrew name and the other was the Hebrew name translated into Greek. Hebrew Greek Cephas Petros Saul Paulus Tabitha Dorcas Thomas Didymus
2. We are told that she was a woman of good works and alms deeds that she did.
a. One of those special kinds of persons who was very caring. In Romans, Paul speaks of the gift of helps. That was surely one of her gifts.
b. When we get to heaven, there are so many wonderful people that we will get to meet.
c. Here is one of those special saints, who had her name put in the Bible because of what God did in her life.
d. We have those kind of persons in our church and how we thank God for them. People who will use their talents and skills for the Lord.
3. Unfortunately, she was sick and died.
a. They washed her body and put her in an upper room, and then sent for Peter to come quickly.
b. Joppa is only about 10 miles from Lydda, so Peter responded to their plea.
4. When Peter arrived, they took him to the upper room where they had placed her body.
a. There were widows in the room weeping, and they showed Peter the coats and garments that Dorcas had made, while she was still alive.
b. You really miss a person like this when they are gone.
c. We usually think of them very selfishly, we do not think of the great joy that they must be experiencing in the presence of the Lord, but how we are going to miss their talents and their love that they showed to us.
d. We so often are begging the Lord to not take our loved ones from us, even when they have come to the place where they are in pain and discomfort. Or when they die, we ask the Lord to please send them back.
e. Usually we show all of the things they have done for us or have given to us, and we think of ourselves and how much we are going to miss their tender love and care.
f. When my mother was dying, I would slip into her room and just look at her. I would look at her beautiful hands and begin to think of the comfort those hands had brought to me when they were placed on my fevered brow. I would think of all the meals those hands had prepared for me, the pies, cookies, the rolls. I would think of all of my clothes those hands had washed, of all the shirts and pajamas they had made for me. I would begin to weep, I did not want to let her go, yet I knew that she was in pain and wanted to go. Pastors would come to the house and pray for her healing, and after they would leave she would say that she was not agreeing with them when they prayed, that she was longing to go and be with Jesus.
g. Sometimes I think that the only reason that the Lord leaves us here is for the sake of others.
h. Paul wrote to the Philippians, that he struggled with mixed emotions, having a desire to depart and be with Christ which was far better, yet because of the many needs of the people that were spiritually depending on him, the desire to stay that he might minister to them.
5. Peter sent them all out of the room.
a. Perhaps he remembered the scene at the house of Jarius when Jesus was called to minister to his daughter. By the time Jesus arrived the little girl had died and the mourners had already begun their wailing.
b. Jesus ordered them all out of the house except Peter, James, and John who He took into the room with Him.
c. He then took the little girl by the hand and said, "Tabitha, cumi." Which is by interpretation, "Little maiden, arise."
d. Peter has sent the people out of the room and now he kneels down and prays, then turning to the body, said, "Tabitha, cumi," or "Gazelle, arise."
6. She opened her eyes and when she saw Peter she sat up.
a. We read: And he gave her [his] hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.
b. I am sure that all the saints were rejoicing, but I wonder how Tabitha felt about it. In the glories of heaven present with her Lord, and then suddenly back on earth looking at Peter.
7. Nonetheless, the news of the miracle spread throughout the region and we read that; and many believed in the Lord.