32 Peter traveled around the country. He went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. 33 There he found a disabled man named Aeneas. For eight years the man had spent most of his time in bed. 34 “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up! Roll up your mat!” So Aeneas got up right away. 35 Everyone who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him. They turned to the Lord. 36 In Joppa there was a believer named Tabitha. Her name in the Greek language is Dorcas. She was always doing good and helping poor people. 37 About that time she became sick and died. Her body was washed and placed in a room upstairs. 38 Lydda was near Joppa. The believers heard that Peter was in Lydda. So they sent two men to him. They begged him, “Please come at once!” 39 Peter went with them. When he arrived, he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him crying. They showed him the robes and other clothes Dorcas had made before she died. 40 Peter sent them all out of the room. Then he got down on his knees and prayed. He turned toward the dead woman. He said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes. When she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and especially the widows. He brought her to them. They saw that she was alive. 42 This became known all over Joppa. Many people believed in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed in Joppa for some time. He stayed with Simon, a man who worked with leather.
The events of the early church continue with two events involving Peter travelling from place to place visiting believers. The first event a paralysed man is healed and in the second a believer who had died is raised to life, both through the ministry of Peter.
As I read these events I can’t help but think about who Peter has become. I have lost count of how many times I have heard about the failings of Peter in the gospels. Quick to speak and act, and slow to think. Boastful of his abilities, how he would never leave Jesus. It’s not unusual for past mistakes to define the present and even the future.
Yet in v38 the believers heard that Peter was in the area and called for him to come because someone had died.
I am encouraged by this because Peter has a new reputation. Peter had a life changing encounter with Jesus after the resurrection and with the Holy Spirit in the upper room. Peter is a life transformed by the power and grace of God through the Holy Spirit. God can and wants to work through people regardless of their history because in Christ we have a new present and a new future.
Father, thank you for the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in us. Thank you that our past failures do not limit what you can do and want to do through us today.
Written by Andrew Martin