Hi. Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host of the daily challenges. Today is Tuesday, the day we study the Bible together. This week, as part of our series on the identity of Jesus, we’re going to study a story of early Christians bringing healing to a hurting woman.
Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all outside, 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. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. And he stayed in Joppa for many days with one Simon, a tanner. (Acts 9:36-43 ESV)
In case you’d ever heard Christianity was oppressive to women, this is just a small vignette where we see that it wasn’t just Jesus who treated women with dignity, respect and love; it was his followers as well.
This seems like it should be a hopeless story, having been called AFTER the person has died. That’s what makes this story so impactful – she already died, and Peter was nine miles away, at least. Remember my paramedic story from yesterday – a modern defibrillator needs to be on you within 12 minutes to even have a hope of saving you from a narrow set of heart conditions. There’s no hope for someone who died 2000 years ago, 9 miles away from help that has to arrive on foot or by horse at best.
The author of this story wants us to know she was definitely dead. There are mourners, she’s been washed and laid out in an upper room, and they’re remembering her good works. The wake is basically in progress.
It would have taken about five or six hours to bring him from there, so it was necessary for him to hurry. If he delayed, the people in Joppa would have buried Tabitha’s body.
But then Peter shows up and does all that he’s learned from Jesus.
Question: Read Mark 5:21-42 and write down the parallels between this story and what Peter did.