Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Believe in Miracles, Trust in Jesus

Acts 9

[Many miracles of Jesus were recorded in the New Testament. In John 14 Jesus said if you weren't persuaded by his words you should still believe because of his works. Jesus:

  • Turned water to wine
  • Walked on water
  • Calmed the storm
  • Healed – Lepers, lame, blind, bleeding and sick
  • Raised the dead
  • Cast out demons
  • Fed multitudes using little food
  • Caused a great catch of fish when there was none

John 21 tells us that his mighty works were so common that there was no way to right them all down. In fact Jesus didn't even call them miracles, but simply works. These were the works of the son of God. His resurrection and ascension proved he was God. To this day, all of modern science and engineering cannot do what Jesus did. And yet, Jesus said his disciples would do more than he did, after he was ascended. Today we will look at a few of those from Acts 9.]

Aeneas Healed

32 Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda. 33 There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed.

[Lydda is west of Jerusalem headed toward the coast. Peter tended to stay close to Jerusalem, instead of going on longer journeys like some of the others. I think it was important for the churches, as the gospel spread, for them to always have access to apostolic leadership. If any church had spiritual or doctrinal problems they could always reach out to Jerusalem for help. In Lydda, Peter found Aeneas a man paralyzed for 8 years. Certainly there were others needing healing in Lydda, and maybe other were healed, but Aeneas was chosen as a sign for them and for us.]


34 And Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed." Then he arose immediately. 35 So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

[Peter does not make a big show of it, like Jesus (John 5:8) Peter says "get up", "make your bed", "Jesus the Christ heals you" , Jesus the anointed one, another way of saying messiah, he is the one who is healing you. Peter was not there on a medical mission he was there to preach Jesus, and the signs were evidence that the power of God was there. The miracle and the message combined to convince the Jews in Lydda. And the conversions even extended outside of Lydda to the plain of Sharon which reaches toward the Mediterranean Sea. And it says "all", "turned to the Lord", there was no opposition, everyone who knew Aeneas, and saw him healed, was persuaded to trust in Jesus, who else has the power to heal?]

Tabitha Restored to Life

36 At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. 37 But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.

[A little further west from Joppa on the Mediterranean coast was the seaport of Joppa, the main seaport for Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. There in Joppa was a disciple well known for her charity and good works, named Tabitha or Dorcas, I think choosing between the two I would go with Tabitha, either way her name means gazelle. But Tabitha was suddenly taken sick, and soon died. So they took her and washed her which is the beginning of burial preparations, but for some reason they stopped short of anointing her and wrapping her in the burial clothes. They instead laid her in an upper room.]


38 And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them.

[Lydda is very close to Joppa and it seems the disciples of Joppa heard of the healing the Lord had done there through Peter, so they sent messengers to ask Peter to come to Joppa.]

39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them.

[Imagine Peter's feelings, this isn't a hospital visit, this woman is already dead. So they take Peter upstairs and the women lamenting Tabitha tell Peter of her works, apparently her ministry was to make clothing for people in need. So Peter meets these dear widows telling him this woman, and showing him the clothing she has made for them.]

40 But Peter put 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 Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive.

[Peter did not take this power for granted. He cleared the room, and knelt town to humbly seek the Lord. Maybe like Paul he asked "Lord, what would you have me to do"? Whatever his prayer, it seems he was content that the Holy Spirit was leading him to demonstrate this power over death. Perhaps he recalled Jesus raising the young girl from the dead because like Jesus, he just called her by name and said "arise". As quickly as she passed, she is restored to life. When Peter calls the people back into the room, they see the impossible, Tabitha alive!]

42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord. 43 So it was that he stayed many days in Joppa with Simon, a tanner.

[Another notorious miracle draws people to the gospel by demonstrating the power of God. Peter was so encouraged with people turning to Jesus that he stayed a while in Joppa. The thing to remember with a miracle like this is that Tabitha would again experience physical death. But all those who trusted Jesus as the Christ, the son of God, they were regenerated, born again of the Spirit of God, never again to experience spiritual death which is separation from God. The demonstrated power over physical death was a sign and a metaphor for the power of God to rescue us from spiritual death.

In reality Peter performed no miracles. When he spoke to Aeneas he said "Jesus the Christ heals you". The miracles were done by God, not man. The glory should always go to God, instead of man. And the Great Commission is taking the gift of God to men. Make disciples, of all nations, building up the church were Christ is the head.

There is no doubt that God is all powerful, and in prayer we ask for many things. But Peter didn't stay in Joppa waiting for people to die, so he could heal them, he did not open a Miracles R US store. Peter stayed in Joppa to reconcile the lost to a loving God. Of all the things that God can do for people, all the signs, wonders and miracles that are possible, the ability to know the God of creation is the greatest wonder of all.

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