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Acts 9:36 — Tabitha and Cornelius

TabithaActs 9:36 Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did. 37 And it happened at that time that she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, imploring him, “Do not delay in coming to us.” 39 So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. 40 But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand and raised her up; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42 It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.

Any miracle is marvelous, notable, wonderful… but this particular one struck me. From this passage, we know several things about this woman, Tabitha.

TABITHA

  • She was a disciple, probably a widow
  • She was “abounding with deeds of kindness and charity”
  • She continually gave to others
  • She fell sick and died
  • The disciples of Joppa (men and women) were distraught with her passing and sent for Peter, knowing the Lord worked miracles through him.
  • To show her worthiness and their need for her, the widows showed Peter the tunics and garments she made for them.
  • Apostle Peter prayed and she arose from the dead
  • Because of this miracle, “many believed in the Lord.”

Because of one woman’s life of kindness, especially to widows, the Lord brought a miracle to Joppa. 
Because
 of the miracle of raising her up, many believed in the Lord.
Because
 Peter was called to Joppa to pray for Tabitha, he remained there and received a vision, followed by a word of the Holy Spirit

Because of Cornelius’ prayers and alms, the Lord sent Peter to preach salvation to his household.
Because Peter obeyed and went to Cornelius’ home, he came to realize that salvation had come for the Gentiles as well as the Jews!

Acts 10:1 Now {there was} a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the {Jewish} people and prayed to God continually. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had {just} come in and said to him, “Cornelius!” 4 And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God. 5 “Now dispatch {some} men to Joppa and send for a man {named} Simon, who is also called Peter;

Acts 10:34 Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand {now} that God is not one to show partiality, 35 but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.

Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we {did,} can he?” 48 

And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus.

Have you ever sewn, stitched, quilted, needlepointed, or knitted a gift for someone? Don’t you find yourself thinking/praying for that person? I imagine Tabitha did. Cornelius and Tabitha’s lives and practices touched the heart of God. Both received miracles — one of salvation and the other of life itself! What wonderful possibilities might there be because of some service we gave?