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Day 32: Tabitha, An Unusual Disciple

Day 32:

Thursday: Tabitha, An Unusual Disciple

Acts 9.36-42 (THE MESSAGE)

Down the road a way in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha, “Gazelle” in our language. She was well-known for doing good and helping out. During the time Peter was in the area she became sick and died. Her friends prepared her body for burial and put her in a cool room.

Some of the disciples had heard that Peter was visiting in nearby Lydda and sent two men to ask if he would be so kind as to come over. Peter got right up and went with them. They took him into the room where Tabitha’s body was laid out. Her old friends, most of them widows, were in the room mourning. They showed Peter pieces of clothing the Gazelle had made while she was with them. Peter put the widows all out of the room. He knelt and prayed. Then he spoke directly to the body: “Tabitha, get up.”

She opened her eyes. When she saw Peter, she sat up. He took her hand and helped her up. Then he called in the believers and widows, and presented her to them alive.

I love this story for many reasons. Most importantly, it identifies a disciple named Tabitha, which shows that women were, in fact, disciples. Also, it shows that women provided for those who had serious needs. Willimon says the community sent for Peter, because Tabitha’s “death has caused a crisis in the community. Now the most vulnerable ones have no one.”[1] Willimon reminds us that God’s promise to bring healing and power to the poor is echoed throughout scripture, and he references II Kings 4:32–35, as an example of Elisha bringing a widow’s son back to life.

The New Way of life that Jesus is offering is releasing a power that will “break the last recalcitrant region (I Cor. 15:26). In this new community widows will not be left to perish. Tabitha is restored to them by Peter’s bold word and act of solidarity. The name of Jesus Christ bears the same life-and-death-giving power as the creator of the whole universe. All the boundaries of life, the highest heavens, the breath of life obey his command.”[2] I agree with Willimon that when the community of faith speaks of miracles, “the social system of paralysis and death is rendered null and void.”[3] Do we believe that God’s power is greater than any earthly power?

Prayer Recap: Dear Jesus, You gave Peter the power to restore Tabitha’s life as Your disciple. Help us to remember that Your power on earth as in heaven can never be explained with logic, and should always give us a reason to thank You. Amen

[1] Willimon, William H. (2010-07-15). Acts: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (pp. 84-85). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid., 86

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