The Acts of Dorcas

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Acts chapter 9:36-43

Tabitha, translated into Dorcas was a disciple of Christ.  Her life was marked by her good deeds for the poor.  She made garments for the widows.

She was well love by those who knew her. I expect that many story’s were told of her kindness.  It was part of her testimony.  She did her deeds because she loved the lord and she would be very aware that Christ had died for her sins and that he had risen from the grave.  It is this knowledge and the love of Christ which motivated her.

I wonder what motivates us?  Are we kind because we love the lord as she did, or do we do good deeds for our own gain?  If we do it because we love the lord then God is pleased with us and will in many ways show kindness to us, but if we do good deeds out of wrong motives, then God is not pleased and he is under no obligation to us.  I think that Dorcas experience love in return for her kindness and she appreciated it.  As there is no mention of any family of hers in this passage it may be that she had no one and appreciated being loved by the church all the more.

She became ill and died.  The church felt the loss greatly as she was no longer there to care for the widows and those who needed her.  It was discovered that Peter was close by, so it was agreed that two men would be sent to fetch him. The found him and entreated him to come quickly.

The widows showed Peter the garments Dorcas had made for them and they were weeping.  I think that as they showed him the garments they told many stories of the Kindness of Dorcas.

I wonder what they expected Peter to do?  The passage does not record anyone saying “Peter, ask God to make Dorcas rise from the dead”. Perhaps they just wanted to share their grief, or perhaps they had all sorts of ideas as to what God might do.

Finally, peter told them to leave the room.  I note that Jesus did the same thing, he told people to leave rooms. Perhaps Peter remembered this and decided to do the same thing.  This was not going to be a show, a spectacle, this was to be a matter of prayer.

 

Peter knelt and prayed.  We do not know how long he prayed for, but he said, “Dorcas, arise” She opened her eyes and when she saw Peter she arose and he presented her to the others and then we are told that story went throughout Joppa and many believed in the lord. Everyone present that day would tell all their friends about it.  This added to Dorcas’s ministry and greatly expanded it.

I wonder what we expect from God. Do we expect him to answer prayer and if we do, do we expect him to answer beyond what we can conceive of?  Dorcas already had a good testimony, but God added to it.  Do we expect him to add to ours?