Resurrection People 3

Posted by Fr. Tere on 04/17/2016

Jerusalem CrossActs 9:36-43; John 10:22-30 We celebrate, among other things, the witness of Tabitha today. I always love when translations define a word with another word that means absolutely nothing to us. Here we have “Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas.” Got that? Did that help? To help us understand better, Tabitha/Dorcas means beauty or grace, from the Hebrew word for gazelle.

Besides her name, we know little else. We know she died, but through Peter she was raised again to serve the Church. We know she was either a seamstress or weaver or both. News of her healing became known throughout Joppa, and led many to believe in the Lord.

We know she “was a disciple,” and “she was devoted to good works and to acts of charity.” We learn this in the first sentence of this section of Acts. The first section of Chapter 9 (1-30) deals with Paul’s conversion and very early ministry in Damascus and Jerusalem, where he met the other disciples. 31So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. With v.32 we move from Paul to Peter. It appears that Peter has been traveling through these same areas of Judea, Galilee and Samaria – beginning to fulfill Acts 1:8 (“… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”) – preaching, teaching, healing. He healed Aeneas in Lydda who had been paralyzed for eight years, and was then called to Joppa because a disciple had died.

That’s where we pick up the story today – he goes to Joppa, heals Tabitha/Dorcas, and the number of believers grows quickly.

modern shepherdThat’s what we know about Tabitha. She was called a disciple – in those days being called a disciple meant “a personal follower of Jesus during his life, especially one of the twelve Apostles.” Tabitha had known Jesus, followed him, learned from him – more than likely – had broken bread with him. She might have been part of a group of wealthy women who followed Jesus and possibly supported the ministry financially.

Out of knowing Jesus, Tabitha was devoted to good works and acts of charity. There is nothing of works-oriented theology here. It is a statement of fact. We know she knew Jesus and his message – at least one of her responses was to do good works and acts of charity – out of love for the Savior, not to gain favor with him.

We all, like the Apostles, have been called, summoned. We have a call to know him (Matt 4:19; Phil 3:10-11), to have intimate fellowship with him (1 Cor 1:9), and to enjoy him. We have to do this through the Holy Spirit, of course, but the call, knowing, fellowship, enjoyment, are the same as they were for Peter or Tabitha. Out of that deepening relationship, Jesus calls us to be like him (Luke 6:40; John 13:14-17), to look like him, to act like him (2 Cor 3:18; 1 Cor 11:1).

If we chose to follow, to be disciples, we must be willing to move way outside our comfort zone – again, he turns our world right-side-up and everything is different. Immediately we are called to be “fishers of men” (Matt 4:19; Mark 1:17; Matt 28:18-20).

How? There are as many ways as there are needs and calls from the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. Where do we begin? How about right here in our own midst. When? When someone needs our help – not before, not after. Who? Maybe the person sitting beside your week after week! What is God calling you to do?

Outside of ourselves we have many chances to help. The Food Bank is empty – how can we help fill it? What is God calling you to do?

There is a great need at Jesus House, Salvation Army, and others in our area. The who and where and how are too obvious – what is God calling you to do?

Beyond ourselves, but closer in, Jerry and Stacy are again in Iraq and still supporting orphanages in Tanzania and Kenya. What is God calling you to do?

Our awesome and generous God died for our sins. He has sought us out and into a relationship with himself. He is now calling for a deeper and deeper relationship – to know him, to have intimate fellowship with him, to enjoy him. He wants us to be like him, look like him, act like him, love like him. What is God calling you to do?menorah

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