Thursday, July 8, 2010
Dorcas (Tabitha): Raised From the Dead
In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 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!' 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. 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. He 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." -Acts 9:36-41
During the time of Christ, where the old era and new one collide, the Jewish people would be blessed with two names, one Greek or Latin and one Hebrew. Many scholars believe that Jews were starting to go by two names to show the world that they were assimilating, being able to show them that they live in the world, but also hold their Jewish culture.
During the first century, Peter (also known as Simon) was going from town-to-town preaching the gospel and he came upon the village Joppa. Joppa, whose name means “beautiful” in Hebrew, is located on the coast of modern day Israel, and is one of the oldest ports in all of Israel. Living there was a righteous woman name Dorcas. Dorcas was a woman who lived a life serving others, she was loved fiercely by her community, and they did not accept her death as final.
People had heard that the Apostle Peter was in a neighboring town, and they sent out two young men to hurry and fetch him. Dorca’s friends still prepared her body, cleaning her and preparing her for the burial in a room upstairs. Peter was brought upstairs and her friends were telling him about her charitable deeds; she was a skilled seamstress who had made countless garments for the underprivileged and unfortunate in her local community. Her friends pleaded that Peter bring her back from the dead, they knew he had extraordinary talents which were God-given.
Peter, being moved by all the love that people had for Dorcas, and all the good works that she had performed, he laid his healing hands on her said a prayer to God, and she awoke from the dead. Peter then took her out to the rest of the community and showed them that Dorcas was then alive, and many people dedicated their lives to God.
When Dorcas became sick and eventually died, her friends mourned profoundly. They loved her for who she was, what she stood up for, and what she did. They loved her so much, they sent two men to fetch a prophet to come and possible revive her. They were desperate to have her back. When Peter came, her family and friends spoke about what kind of selfless woman she was and showed him all her good works; her life in a summary.
If you were to die today, would family and friends be devastated? What would they say summarized your life; do you live for others or only for temporary things that will eventually fade? Do you think her friends would have been so mournful if Dorcas was a woman who did not serve others but she was really attractive? If you are not proud of how your life can be summarized, go and change it. As long as you are breathing, you are able to change and make your life mean something, to live for others.
Just as the early Christian people assimilated to fit in to the world, to be able to preach to them, they still held fast to their faith and values. This can be a good lesson for modern Christian; to live in the world but not to be consumed by the world. Most Christian women color their hair, wear make-up, go to the gym, diet, get their nails done and so on, but good Christian women make it a point not to let these luxuries rule their life.