Peter Heals Aeneas
32While Peter was traveling from place to place, he visited the Lord's followers who lived in the town of Lydda. 33There he met a man named Aeneas, who for eight years had been sick in bed and could not move. 34Peter said to Aeneas, “Jesus Christ has healed you! Get up and make up your bed.” At once he stood up.
35Many people in the towns of Lydda and Sharon saw Aeneas and became followers of the Lord.
Peter Brings Dorcas
36In Joppa there was a follower named Tabitha. Her Greek name was Dorcas, which means “deer.” She was always doing good things for people and had given much to the poor. 37But she got sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38Joppa wasn't far from Lydda, and the followers heard that Peter was there. They sent two men to say to him, “Please come with us as quickly as you can!” 39At once, Peter went with them.
The men took Peter upstairs into the room. Many widows were there crying. They showed him the coats and clothes that Dorcas had made while she was still alive.
40After Peter had sent everyone out of the room, he knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the body of Dorcas and said, “Tabitha, get up!” The woman opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet.
Peter called in the widows and the other followers and showed them that Dorcas had been raised from death. 42Everyone in Joppa heard what had happened, and many of them put their faith in the Lord. 43Peter stayed on for a while in Joppa in the house of a man named Simon, who made leather.
Most of us have grown up being told to make our beds. It is a chore. But it begins the day with a small accomplishment, restoring order to the chaos of the bed on which we rested the night before.
Our God is a God of order and distinction, separating the day from the night, the land from the sea, male from female. He himself is also categorically distinct from the created order. And he tells us that his distinctions are “good.”
The essence of God’s created universe is not chaos, and therefore we do not honour God by living chaotically or in acts of moral depravity. On the contrary, we are to be distinct, to “be holy, even as the Lord our God is holy” (Leviticus 19:2).
Sin is the disobedient and lawless violation of God’s order, an explicit denial of his sovereignty. Sin expresses our desire to have him dead and for us to “be as gods, determining good and evil for ourselves” (Genesis 3:5). It produces chaos, anarchy, and death throughout all creation.
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is a sign of God’s justice, and also the beginning of the restoration and renewal of all things by his grace.
As the news of the gospel spreads, there are signs that his kingdom is coming to earth as it is in heaven. The apostle Peter commands the bedridden Aeneas to walk, and calls upon him to a small act of restoring order by making his bed. The news spreads 40-50 miles away to Sharon.
A greater miracle soon follows. A woman of many good works, Dorcas, has died and Peter is called. Here the power of the cross to undo the work of sin is manifest when she is brought back to life.
We praise you for your loving work in creating distinction and order,
Seeing your goodness in the distinct diversity of things you have created.
Restore in us a reverence for what you pronounced to be good,
And prevent us from being confused in our thoughts and actions,
That all creation might live to the praise of your name.