I want to see the dead to rise. Oh, I am not just meaning the brain-eating zombie sort of crawling out of the grave rising. I want to see a dead person become alive again. For when people see the dead rise up, they just might believe in the Lord Jesus.
It makes me wonder what is going on with me that I have not witnessed such events in my life. You might be asking the same sort of question, with all of the different preachers we have heard, why haven’t we witnessed someone rise up after they died? Then we could really start questioning ourselves and our faith. The doubt would seem to take hold and we could consider ourselves inferior Christians for not making someone rise from the dead. We could even ask ourselves these questions:
What sort of faith do we need to speak and have people become alive again?
What sort of faith do we need in order for people to walk again?
As we examine Peter and his time in Lydda and Joppa we discover one fact. It is not our faith that makes someone live again. It is not our faith that makes a paralyzed person to walk again.
The one fact is it is Jesus who makes someone live again. The one fact is it is Jesus who makes a paralyzed person walk again.
For this book called the “Acts of the Apostles” could be called, “The Acts of the Holy Spirit.” For it is the Holy Spirit of Christ that directs and lives in and through the apostles and the disciples. Yet, we also notice the believers were hanging out together. When Peter was in Lydda, he was with the saints. It is like the Spirit of Christ used this group of believers to grow more believers. We realize this truth as we pay attention to what Luke wrote about Peter’s travels.
A. When Aeneas walked, people turned to the Lord (9:32-35)
1. Peter left Jerusalem and went among the believers
2. They were even called saints, “holy ones” – as all who follow Jesus can be called
3. In Lydda, Peter found a man was paralyzed and 8 years in a bed
4. Peter spoke to Aeneas
5. “Jesus Christ heals you”
6. The people in Lydda saw this once paralyzed man, Aeneas, walking!
7. The people of Lydda and Sharon turned to the Lord
8. Who healed Aeneas? It wasn’t the saints in Lydda or Sharon. For none of them did anything to make Aeneas to walk. It wasn’t Peter who made Aeneas to walk. It was Jesus Christ who made Aeneas walk. All Peter did was to speak the one fact about healing. Jesus Christ heals you. But it took the saints being together for people to know anything about Jesus Christ. They didn’t let anything keep them from making time to be with other saints. The saints were available when Jesus Christ healed Aeneas. The saints were there when all the residents of Lydda and Sharon turned to the Lord. What a great way for people to discover what to do after they turn to the Lord, but to have saints in their midst! To show this was not a fluke or some charade, we see the Holy Spirit leading Peter to Joppa. For in Joppa, a dead follower of Jesus was going to rise up!
B. It would turn out that many will believe in the Lord (9:36-43)
a. A disciple – yes, a woman can be a disciple of Jesus!
b. She was devoted to good works & charity
c. She became ill and died
2. The Joppa disciples sent for Peter
3. Dorcas had been the means that many widows found care
4. Peter knelt and prayed beside Tabitha’s body, then he told her to get up!
5. Many believed in the Lord when they heard about Dorcas
6. Yes, Peter did pray for Tabitha. Yes, the disciples in Joppa had sent for Peter. Like Jesus spoke to the young girl in Luke’s Gospel, Peter told Tabitha to get up. It was Jesus who brought the woman back to life. Peter was among the saints when Tabitha rose from her deathbed. But it was the power of God working through the Spirit of Christ that raised Tabitha from the deathbed. Again we see the disciples together. We also see faith in Christ being lived by Tabitha. She had provided clothes to the widow of Joppa. She had heard the stories of Jesus speaking about clothing the naked and feeding the hungry. She was an obedient disciple of Jesus. Now that she was alive again, the widows could depend upon Tabitha and her Lord Jesus for life. Now the widows and the people of Joppa believed in the Lord!
For us today to see the dead rise and for the paralyzed to walk, we spend time with the saints. As we hear stories of Jesus, we gain the expectation that Jesus is going to be working among us. As we spend time with other saints, we are going to hear about Jesus healing people. As we spend time with other disciples, we are going to see Jesus raise the dead.
Do you want to see the dead rise? Do you want to see people healed? Then keep gathering with the saints. Keep on hanging out with other disciples. As we gather and hang out with other saints, we are going to see people healed and the dead raised. We are also going to see people turn to the Lord. We are also going to see people believe in the Lord Jesus.
When we are gathered together, hanging out together, people are going to hear about Jesus. They are also going to see Jesus work. For as Jesus works, people turn and believe. When people turn and believe, I sure hope they see saints gathered in the church, living as disciples of Jesus Christ!