Trusting in the Resurrection.
36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda 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!”
39 Peter 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.
40 Peter 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. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. 42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.
A great sense of injustice and wrong wells up inside of us when a good person dies, especially when the time of death, in our opinion, is just too early. There is so much good that, we believe, they still could do. How could God allow this to happen as there is also so much need we may have as their friends and family to have them in our lives? We are bereft.
We see this injustice reflected here. A good person who not just occasionally but ‘always’ cared for the sick, the poor and made clothes for others has herself become sick to the point of death. Instead of just accepting it, her friends are trying one more option, which is to urgently call on the disciples of Jesus to come and pray for her.
This episode is similar to the raising of Lazarus by Jesus, which you can read about in John 11. What has always touched me in that story is the shortest verse (vs 35) ‘Jesus wept.’ You see Jesus also is not pleased with death and the human pain that it can cause those who are left behind. However, just as in the story of Lazarus, the story of Tabitha is given so that the disciples would have strengthened faith in the power of God and his ability to heal.
Whereas Lazarus is a precursor to Jesus death and resurrection, we now hear about one of Jesus in the story of Tabitha who was raised from the dead. Tabitha’s story portrayed here in the book of Acts is reflective of the fact that each of us who believes has been raised to a new life in Christ. Imagine how she went on to continue her life of service and good after having been raised from the dead. What new vigour and strength her personal testimony would have.
Yet Lazarus and Tabitha will each, in turn, die. Though they have been miraculously raised, they must have died again later,as they are not still living today aged 2,000 plus years. We also one day will die. But as disciples of Jesus, just like Tabitha, though we will die, we will also one day be raised to eternal life with Christ. We look forward with hope and certainty to a day when the injustice and indignation that wells up within will be replaced with an outpouring of praise in Heaven with Christ. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ (Revelation 21 vs 4)
Head: How can you today share the hope of a raised life with Christ with some one that you meet?
Heart: reflect further on John 11 vs 35 ‘Jesus wept’. Reflecting the human heart of Jesus.
Hands: Can you be a Tabitha? Can you do something practical and good to help the poor?
Prayer: Thank you Jesus that the old order of things will one day pass. That you have conquered death and the grave. That you have promised me new life with you and I don’t have to wait til Heaven. Today I can know that if I have trusted in you I am also raised with you and one day you will take me to my permanent home with you. AMEN.
A song to listen to: Raised with Christ
Emma-Jane McNicol- Creek Road Presbyterian Church- Carina