WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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(GOD takes care of HIS faithful disciples)
Acts chapter 9 closes with Luke’s account of when the Apostle Peter traveled to the town of Lydda, one of his many stops on his itinerant missions around Judea. Today this city is called Lod, and it is located just south of Israel’s international airport. It was there that Peter encounters a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed, and had been bedridden for eight years. Peter’s miraculous healing of this man, in the name of CHRIST JESUS, caused many Jews in Lydda, and, in the nearby plains of Sharon, to convert to the Christian faith, and accept CHRIST as their LORD and SAVIOR.
While Peter was in Lydda, an endeared Christian woman by the name of Tabitha (“Dorcas” in the Greek ), who lived in the nearby city of Joppa, became ill and died. Dorcas was widely known for her ministry in working with the poor. After hearing of Peter’s miraculous healing of Aeneas in Lydda, two men were sent there to try and persuade Peter to take the eleven-mile trip to Joppa, and perhaps perform another miracle by restoring the beloved Dorcas back to life. They had faith that, through Peter, GOD, could and would, raise this beloved woman from the dead, just as CHRIST had done a few years earlier with HIS resurrection of Lazarus.
Upon his arrival in Joppa, Peter was taken to an upper room where Dorcas’ body laid in state awaiting burial. The room was filled with weeping widows whose lives had been touched by Dorcas’ charity, caring, and compassion over the years. After entering the room, in the tradition of Elisha the prophet (2 Kings 4:33), and our LORD JESUS CHRIST (Luke 8:51), Peter sent everyone out of the room.
He then knelt down and began to pray before turning to the deceased and commanding her to get up. Dorcas opened her eyes and Peter took her by the hand and helped her up, and then, called the others back into the room to see that she was indeed alive.
Because of these miraculous events, news spread throughout the land of the goodness of GOD, and how HE can work in the lives of those who believe on CHRIST JESUS. It was events like these that Luke tells us, catapulted Christianity from being a tiny little-known Jewish sect, in those days, into a major religious movement by the end of the first century. And it all began with the real-life examples of charitable, caring people like Peter, Dorcas, and originally, CHRIST JESUS, HIMSELF.
When we show others that we care for them, we are exercising the same form of evangelism that was used to springboard and spur the growth of the Christian Church into prominence in the first century. And it is that same formidable mechanism of love and care, that we can help us to regain that kind of momentum in today’s Christian Church.
Miracles have never been solely for those believers who benefited from them personally, and in fact, they are most often used by GOD to help non-believers make the decision to come to CHRIST. By showing others that we care for them, we are really showing our love for JESUS, and in fact, we don’t really even prove our love for JESUS unless we are willing to take on HIS task, and, take up our own cross.
In other words, we must begin to pull our own weight as responsible Christians in the “spiritual battle” that is already upon us. And perhaps the biggest part of performing that task lies in us learning to love and care for one another in the traditions and examples of “agape love” that has already been exhibited to us by CHRIST JESUS, and the CHRIST-like people of Scripture who preceded us in time.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander