Acts 9:32-43

by Andrew Hillard

We’re told that Aeneas had been bedridden for eight years due to paralysis. This wasn’t a recent injury from which his body might have still been expected to heal. For eight years, he had been bound to his bed—paralyzed. The situation of Aeneas was dire, but Peter would soon enter a situation even more desperate. He was called to the upper room where the body of Tabitha, also called Dorcas, was laid. She had become ill and died. The permanence of Aeneas’ paralysis and Dorcas’ death was assumed by all who knew them. It’s why the widows stood weeping as they showed Peter the garments Dorcas had made. The end of these stories seemed to already be written.

But then Peter looked at Aeneas in Acts 9:34 and said, “Jesus Christ heals you: rise and make your bed.” And Aeneas did just that. Then in Acts 9:40, Peter kneels in prayer before turning to the body of this woman who had died to say, “Tabitha, arise.” Dorcas did just that. Two situations that seemed certain were transformed, each with the same result—that someone who no one expected to rise did just that. But that wasn’t the only result of these two miraculous reversals. These stories aren’t included here as exciting interruptions to the story of the early church and the spread of the gospel. These miraculous stories conclude with what has become a common refrain in the book of Acts–that many “turned to the Lord” (Acts 9:35) and many “believed in the Lord” (Acts 9:42). They didn’t turn to Peter. They didn’t believe in Peter. They believed in Jesus, the one on whom Peter had called and the one whose power and glory were on display. It would have been easy enough here for Peter to take the credit and steal the glory in some way, but Peter was living here as he would call us to live, in such a way that others “may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12). As we begin a new week, whatever these days bring, let’s make that our priority—that our lives would cause those who see us to glorify God.

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