Parson to Person: Alive in the Lord
In these weeks after Easter, perhaps our wonder over the resurrection may have abated a bit. Perhaps we’ve heard the story repeatedly and our amazement has grown dull.
Surely that was not the case for the early church.
I can only imagine the powerful influence of the resurrection on those early disciples and the emerging church.
The stories and events they shared had to have influenced their view of the world, feeling assured that disease, poverty and even death would not have the last word.
The disciples must have been amazed to realize that they really could “do the things they had seen Jesus do.”
Take a look at the “resurrection story” in Acts 9:36-43. Tabitha (whose Greek name is Dorcas) was a model disciple. She was always doing good and helping the poor; but she became ill and died.
The small faith community she ministered to, heard that Peter was nearby, so they sent for him to — “Please come at once!”
When Peter arrived, he was taken to the room where her body had been placed. Several women stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Tabitha had made while she was still with them.
Peter sent them out, got down on his knees and prayed. When he said, “Tabitha, get up,” she opened her eyes and sat up.
Peter helped her to her feet and called for the believers to present her to them — alive! “This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.” (verse 42).
The focus of this story may be more on the small faith community than on Peter. They seemed to have a conviction that in this case, death should not have the last word, that something miraculous could yet happen.
They literally cried out to Peter on her behalf and showed him the clothes she had made for them.
It seems this was no ordinary woman, but one who embodied the essence and hope of the gospel to those who often had no hope. She clearly and simply embodied Christ’s love.
What would it feel like to sense the same mystery and power of the resurrection that propelled the first-century church forward in its mission?
Should we not seek to invoke the same spirit of healing and restoration that the widows yearned for as they directed Peter, “Please come to us without delay”? (verse 38).
We live in a world that often does not recognize the possibilities of new life. It’s possible that Christ’s healing and redeeming power seeks expression in people who share the same conviction and sense of urgency as those widows in Joppa.
This story challenges us to see the new possibilities and healing that can take place in those who suffer and are often forgotten in our world. Persons from all walks of life are invited to participate in God’s new creation in Christ.