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...and Many Believed

By Rhonda Wallace
 
Thursday, March 4, 2010

Scripture Verses
Acts 9:32-43

Aeneas and Dorcas
 32As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda. 33There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. 34"Aeneas," Peter said to him, "Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat." Immediately Aeneas got up. 35All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

 36In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas[b]), who was always doing good and helping the poor. 37About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, "Please come at once!"

 39Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

 40Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. 42This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.


Devotion
After reading the above passage many times, I read it again in several other translations.  The phrase that kept coming back to me was “and many people believed”.   Aeneas was recognized and respected in his community as a Christian.  Dorcas (Tabitha) was a disciple known for her kindness and generosity to the poor.  So when the Holy Spirit worked through Peter to perform these two miracles of healing and resurrection, word spread quickly.  The scripture says that all those in Lydda who saw Aeneas turned to the Lord.   In Joppa, many believed in the Lord when they realized that Dorcas was alive, even after her body had been prepared for burial.  These miracles changed the individual lives of those who witnessed or heard of them,  but they also tremendously impacted the growth of the early church. 

I’ve never experienced that kind of dramatic miraculous event.   While my faith assures me that it could happen, I sometimes am skeptical of modern day tactics and schemes.  But what I do believe is that the Holy Spirit is still working through the faithful to promote the growth of the Kingdom today – by moving us to be a friend to the lonely, or provide food pantries to feed the hungry in our community, or encourage us to give generously enough to build a church in Uganda.  There are countless ways Christians can reach out locally and worldwide.  None of these examples may be as spectacular as the two miracles described in the scripture, but all are capable of producing the same miraculous results…and many believed.

Prayer

Father, thank you for providing the scriptures as our guiding example.  Remind us to watch for ways to serve you and give us the courage to speak and act when we recognize these opportunities.  Amen