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# 28: 6-20-18 1

Acts 9:32-43
Jesus was continuing to reconcile men to the Father through the working of the Holy Spirit in the members
of His Body. He had told His disciples just before His ascension into heaven that they would receive the
power of His Spirit to be witnesses to Him, first in Jerusalem, then in Judea and Samaria, and finally, to the
uttermost parts of the earth. And we have seen that this was the precise pattern in which the gospel was
disseminated.

What was the driving circumstance which sent the gospel message out of Jerusalem? Persecution. The
persecution of the church by the Jewish establishment caused many of the Hellenist Jewish believers to flee
the city, and to become established in the surrounding regions - mainly in Judea and Samaria.

We have seen that Philip, a Hellenist, brought the gospel message into Samaria. Peter and John then
witnessed the believing Samaritans receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Now the time had come for the witness of Jesus to be extended beyond the lands of the Jews, to the
uttermost parts of the earth - that is, to the Gentiles. And for this express purpose, the Lord had chosen a
particular vessel, that he might bear His name before them (Acts 9:15). And who did the Lord choose?
Saul - later known as Paul.

Paul, who had so profoundly experienced the grace of the Lord in his own conversion, would be the one
who would reveal that grace to those who were strangers and foreigners, that they might become fellow
citizens with the saints, and of the household of God (Eph 2:19).

Paul would indeed become the apostle to the Gentiles; but before Paul was sent out, the Lord would use a
different member of His Body to initially share the gospel with the Gentiles - and who would that be?
Peter.

Jesus spoke of this unique role of Peter during His ministry. Turn to Matthew chapter 16.

[Matthew 16:13-19]

v. 13-16 Notice that it is Simon Peter who answered, for the disciples; he was their natural leader. Peter
was saying that Jesus is the Christ - the Messiah of Israel - who is also God the Son.

v. 17 Jesus was saying that this is an understanding about Him that could only come from God; it must be
revealed, to a man, as it had been, to Peter - who received it.

v. 18 When Simon first came to Jesus, at the beginning of His ministry, the Lord told him that he would
be called Cephas - the Aramaic for Peter (Jn 1:42). In the Greek it is petros, meaning a stone, or a piece of
a rock. Upon Simon=s profession of faith, Jesus was now giving him that name - he is now Peter.

But the word translated Arock@ in verse 18 is the feminine form of petros - it is petra. This word has a
somewhat different meaning. It is a massive rock or cliff; a foundational rock. It is used metaphorically for
Christ, and for the testimony concerning Him which is an unchangeable, immovable testimony;
foundational.

So what Jesus was doing here was making a play on words. Peter was a stone, a little rock, which could be
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easily thrown or moved. But by his faith, Peter had placed himself upon the foundational rock of Christ,
which can never be moved. It is on the foundational truth - that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living
God - that the whole church will be built up - beginning with Peter, and the other apostles.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul would write that the household of God is build up upon the foundation of
the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner - the foundation stone (Eph 2:19-20).
The apostles and prophets taught the fundamental truths concerning Christ - the foundation. All that
believe into those truths become a part of the structure - the dwelling place of God, through the Spirit (Eph
2:22).

In verse 18, “hell” (KJV) is actually Hades - the temporary dwelling place of souls of spirit-being who have
died. The gates of Hades cannot prevail against the church, precisely because of its strong foundation; for
those who are built up on Christ are a part of Him, and so have eternal security; just as Death has no more
dominion over Christ (Rm 6:9), Death has no dominion over the believer, who is in Christ.

Having spoken of His church, which will be built up upon Himself, Jesus then revealed to Peter a unique
role that he will have at its beginning.

v. 19 The kingdom of heaven is another term for the kingdom of God - the realm of God’s rule - the
divine, everlasting kingdom. The subjects of the kingdom will be the sons of God - those who come to
God through faith in Christ.

To Peter, Jesus was giving the keys of the kingdom of heaven. What do keys open? Doors. Peter would be
privileged to open up the door to the kingdom of heaven - first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles. What
are the keys of the kingdom? They are the blessed truths found in the gospel of Christ.

In the book of Acts we have already seen Peter preaching the gospel to open the door to the kingdom for
the Jews, on the day of Pentecost. Now, he is about to do so for the Gentiles. The keys, the gospel truths,
are the power of God unto salvation, to all who believe - to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile (Rm 1:16).

That power would initially lay in the hand of Peter, who would take the lead in representing His Master in
His offer of reconciliation to both Jew and Gentile. By their own free choice, men would decide whether
they would go through that door, and enter into the salvation that God had in store for them. And whatever
their decision on earth, so it would be established in heaven.

What we see is that, although Paul would be the apostle to the Gentiles, it was given by the Lord to Peter to
initially open up the door of the kingdom of heaven to them. Do you think that there was a particular
reason why the Lord would have chosen Peter to do this initially, and not Paul? I think there was.

Peter was a Hebrew Jewish believer - a native-born Jew. He was initially the leader of the community of
believers in Jerusalem, where the church had begun, and would have been held in high regard. Those
believers in Jerusalem were also mostly former Hebrew Jews, just as Peter was.

If it was Paul, a foreign-born Jew and former enemy of the gospel, who initially shared the gospel with the
Gentiles, the church in Jerusalem - and elsewhere - might have been skeptical of the reality of Gentiles
becoming true believers; and even if they bought that, they would be inclined to think that they were
inferior to those believers who were previously Jews. This, in fact, is what Judaism thought, concerning
their Gentile converts; they were never considered equal to a Jew.
In order to impress upon His church the reality of the Gentiles being completely equal members in the
Body of Christ, the Lord chose Peter to initially deliver the gospel to them - and, of course, Peter had to
become convinced that the Gentiles were fully equal, himself, before he would be able to convince others.
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It is difficult for us, as 21st century believers, who are mostly Gentile in origin, to appreciate just what a
stronghold this was in the Jewish mind. Let’s consider that for a moment.

When the nations rejected the LORD at Babel, He determined to make a nation for Himself; a nation from
whom the LORD would bring forth His Christ; a nation that would be a light to all the other nations, to lead
them to God.

In making His nation, the LORD began with one man, whom He called out of the world - and who was that
man? Abraham. The very inception of the nation, then, was marked by separation from the other nations.
The LORD was intent upon retaining this separation of His nation, for mixture would lead to Israel being
assimilated back into all the other nations.

Initially, that separation was willingly kept by those who believed in the LORD - the forefathers of the
nation, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But as the family of Jacob grew, they began to intermarry with the
surrounding Canaanites. So the LORD brought Jacob=s family down into Egypt, where He could ensure
their separation, as the Egyptians viewed foreigners as an abomination, to be shunned.

Once the family of Jacob had grown in numbers into a nation, the LORD brought them out of Egypt. Then
the LORD gave them the Law, which was to lead them to Christ (Gal 3:24). The Law was also to act as a
hedge of protection, to keep Israel separated from the other nations - to the extent that Israel watched over
carefully and preserved the LORD =s Law. But Israel changed the Law into mere observance of rituals, and
added traditions to the Law of their own invention.

Having changed the will of God into a set of religious practices, the Jews changed the Law, which was
designed to keep them as a nation, into a set of reasons to exclude the other nations.

A perfect example of this can be seen in the temple. The temple and its ceremonial sacrifices were
designed to show a man his sin, and the One who could save him from his sin - Israel’s Messiah. But what
did the Jews do with the temple, by the day of Jesus? They had posted signs around it, indicating that no
Gentile could enter in, on pain of death.

The LORD had never indicated to do that, when He gave Moses the pattern for the Tabernacle, and David the
pattern for the Temple. The outsider who desired to come to worship God, bringing the appropriate
sacrifice, was welcome to come into the temple courts.

The Jews came to regard the fact that the LORD had chosen them and granted them certain privileges as
meaning that they were better than the other nations. By the time of Jesus, the Gentiles were commonly
referred to as Adogs@ (Mk 7:27, 28) - dogs being scavengers, unclean animals, held in the utmost
contempt.

Meanwhile, by performing the works of the Law, as well as their added traditions, the Jews viewed
themselves as clean. So the Jews would not eat with those unclean Gentiles; would not enter their homes;
would avoid touching them, or even touching anything with which they had come into contact.

The Jews had taken the separation that the LORD had intended to keep His nation holy, and turned it into an
excuse to exclude the other nations - which was never the LORD =s intent.
This mindset of the Jew would have been carried over into the church by those Jews who came to believe
into Jesus as the Messiah - which included Peter. After all, Jesus was Israel=s Messiah; Israel=s Law,
Israel=s prophets - they all spoke of Jesus. Israel=s Scriptures testified of Him (Jn 5:39, Lk 24:44); and He
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was born of, and had come to His own people, the Jews (Jn1:11). And to date, the church was essentially
composed of all former Jews; some foreign-born, yes, but still, Jews.

The conversion of the Samaritans certainly would have opened up the minds of the Jews to some extent to
see Jesus had come to save more than just the Jewish people. Peter had witnessed first-hand that the Lord
had given the Samaritans the gift of the Holy Spirit, just as the Lord had given the Spirit to the Jews in
Jerusalem.

But the Jews would reason that the Samaritans had the Pentateuch - the first five books of the OT; that they
professed to believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and that they were waiting for the Messiah -
as the Jews did also. It would not have been too difficult for the Jews to accept that God would graciously
extend His salvation to the Samaritans - after all, the Samaritans were, at least, half-Jewish! But the Jews
would have seen the Gentiles as a completely different case.

Jesus had commissioned His apostles that they were to make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19); to preach
the gospel to every creature (Mk 16:15); that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His
name among all nations (Lk 24:47). The witness to Jesus was to be carried out from Jerusalem, to Judea
and Samaria, to the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8).

But as a whole, the church may have thought Jesus merely meant to make disciples of the foreign-born
Jews, who were scattered among those nations. The thought that they were to evangelize the Gentiles
would not have naturally come into their heads.

But now they had a new Head - Jesus - who was no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Man looks on the
outward appearance, but God looks on the heart (1 Sam 16:7). The Lord does not see Jew, or Gentile - He
sees hearts that are deceitful and desperately wicked - desperately in need of Him. And He so loves them
all.

Now the time had finally come for the Lord to send out His witness from Israel, to the other nations, so that
they could come to the Light, and be saved (Is 42:6). And that witness was to begin with Peter, who was to
use his gospel-key to open the door to the Gentiles.

The Lord always seeks to prepare the hearts of His servants (Ps 10:17), and with the strong, preconceived
notions of the Jews towards the Gentiles, the preparation would have to be strong, indeed. What we will
next see, in the final part of Acts chapter 9, is the initial preparation of Peter for his mission: to open the
door of salvation to the Gentiles. The Lord=s initial preparation took the form of a set of miracles that were
also signs; they were a prophetic picture.

Remember that when the Lord had begun His work of reconciliation - with His nation, Israel - He had
worked a sign through Peter and John - the miraculous healing of the lame man, a picture of the nation of
Israel. Inspired by the Spirit, Luke recorded that healing in detail in Acts chapter 3. Many healings took
place after that time, but Luke recorded no details concerning them - until we come to the double healings
here in Acts chapter 9.

Why would Luke provide such detail of these healings? Because the Spirit once again inspired him to do
so. The Lord was marking out a new spiritual path for His church, with another picture - a sign,
particularly meant for Peter, as a preparation of his heart for the new direction that the work was taking -
into Gentile territory.
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Before we look at these signs together, I want you to give you another detail concerning the circumstances
of the church, following Saul=s (Paul’s) departure from Jerusalem. We had last read that the churches in
Judea and Galilee and Samaria experienced peace at this time, and were continuing to grow, in strength and
numbers (Acts 9:31).

One reason for this was that Saul, who had been a leader in the persecution, had been converted, and so
there would have been less persecution for that reason. But history provides another clue as to why the
persecution may have ceased. The Jews may have become preoccupied with what they would have seen as
a more pressing problem.

By this time, Caligula had succeeded Tiberius to the throne of the Roman Empire. In 39 AD, Caligula sent
an emissary to set up a statue of himself as the emperor-god, in the temple at Jerusalem; to put to death all
who made any resistance; and to make the rest of the Jews slaves. According to two key historians of the
period, this caused immeasurable consternation to the Jews, who became fully preoccupied with warding
off the intentions of Caligula.

If this event coincided with the time period of the first wave of persecution against the church in Jerusalem
- as it appears to have - you can imagine that it could easily have been the cause of the persecution of the
church by the Jews to cease. So Providence may have been at work through the Romans even at this time
in order to preserve the early church.

Let=s continue with the account.

v. 32 With the cease of the persecution from the Jews, there was now some relief from the intense
pressure in Jerusalem. This gave Peter the freedom to leave the city, and visit some of the local assemblies
that were growing up in the surrounding communities - that is, he went on a missionary trip. Where would
Peter go? Where the Holy Spirit led him, of course.

Peter headed west out of Jerusalem, in the direction of the Mediterranean coast, coming into the town of
Lydda, about ten miles from the coast (see map). Lydda lay in the crossroads of routes from Egypt to Syria
and from Joppa to Jerusalem. Later, Peter would proceed to Joppa, on the Mediterranean.

Now, why would Peter go to these cities? Because these were cities that had already been evangelized by
Philip, when he had left the Ethiopian eunuch. Remember that the Spirit took Philip to the city of Azotus
on the Mediterranean, and from there, Philip had proceeded up the coast, preaching in all the cities, until he
came to Caesarea, about 30 miles north of Joppa (Acts 8:40).

Now, I had previously thought that these were Samaritan cities, but they were apparently considered part of
Judea. As these cities were originally in the Philistine plain along the coast, they had a significant Gentile
population, as well having many Jews. But Peter came to visit the saints that dwelt in Lydda.

What is a saint? Literally, a Aset-apart one@, or sanctified one; saints are just believers. Some may have
come to believe, based on the preaching of Philip. Some may have been refugees from the persecution of
the church in Jerusalem. But whoever these saints were, they likely had been assembling together in
Lydda, growing in the truth, fellowshipping, and meeting to pray together. Peter came to visit with these
saints.
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v. 33-34 Peter encountered a man named Aeneas. Notice that Luke qualifies that this is a Acertain man@;
in the account which immediately follows concerning Tabitha, Luke qualifies her as a Acertain disciple@.
By this, we can take it that Aeneas was not a disciple; he was an unbeliever. Luke used the same term for
the lame man back in chapter 3, who was also an unbeliever (Acts 3:2).

We can also surmise that Aeneas was a Jew, and not a Gentile. Otherwise, this account of him would be in
greater detail, and the account about Cornelius which follows in chapter 10 would not be given the
significance it has by Luke. In that Aeneas is a name of Greek origin, it is likely that Aeneas was a
Hellenist - a foreign-born Jew.

We learn that Aeneas was sick with palsy - that is, he was paralyzed. He had been in this condition for
eight years - eight years, paralyzed! Unable to walk, Aeneas probably could not earn a living, and provide
for himself. We can tell Aeneas was poor, because the bed which is mentioned in the Greek was the kind
used by the poor - a coarse, thin pallet.

Perhaps Peter learned of Aeneas from the saints in Lydda; we can=t tell. But what we do know is that the
Spirit was in the encounter, and He prompted Peter heal Aeneas - in the name of Jesus, the Messiah.

Had Aeneas heard of Jesus? I think it’s very likely that he did. Why would a paralyzed man even try to
rise up based on a stranger’s words - about someone who was not even present healing him? That Name
must have meant something to Aeneas, already.

In believing that Jesus could heal him, Aeneas made a decision in his will to obey Peter=s command - and
immediately he received the strength to do so, from Jesus. Aeneas rose up, and he did what Peter said - he
rolled up his pallet, and he put it away - for what need did he have of that sickbed, anymore? That was a
thing of the past, for Aeneas. He had been made whole - spirit, soul and body.

You might remember that this miracle follows a very similar pattern to one that Jesus did, in healing a man
who was also paralyzed. Jesus had commanded the man to rise, take up his bed, and to go his way into his
own house, for his friends had brought him to Jesus; and through his faith, the man was healed, to the
amazement of all (Mt 9:1-8, Mk 2:1-12). So we see Peter here, following in the pattern of his Master.

v. 35 No doubt, word got around quickly that Aeneas, paralyzed for eight years, had been healed by Jesus
through His disciple, Peter. ASaron@ is actually the plain of Sharon, which runs between Lydda and Joppa
to the south, and Caesarea to the north, up to mount Carmel.

For Luke to say that Aall@ who dwelt at Lydda and in the plain of Sharon saw Aeneas, and turned to the
Lord, is a general statement, but it would imply that the miracle became known all the way throughout the
region up to Caesarea - either by Aeneas traveling into the region (I=m sure he would want to exercise his
new-found strength!), or by those who came to the city, and saw him themselves. Remember that both
Jews and Gentiles inhabited the region.

With Aeneas, the Spirit had given a picture of regeneration; healing from sin-sickness. The name Aeneas
means Apraise@. Aeneas was to be to the praise of the God; but he was paralyzed.
Likewise, the creation of mankind is intended to be to the praise of God, but they are born dead in
trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1); incapable of doing the will of God - paralyzed - due to their will for
themselves. They are poor in spirit, their lusts confining them to their squalid condition - like poor Aeneas,
on his pallet.

Now, Aeneas had been paralyzed for eight years. In Scripture, what does the number 8 symbolize? A new
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beginning. The time had arrived for a new beginning for Aeneas - and that new beginning would take place
in the city of Lydda, which means Atravail@ or Abirth@. The new beginning for the sinner is through a
new birth.

That birth comes through believing into the Lord Jesus, as the Christ of God - as Aeneas did, responding to
Peter=s command, by faith. And through faith comes regeneration; healing from sin-sickness; and the
power to obey God as Aeneas did, in rolling up his bed and putting it away.

Aeneas was done with being paralyzed. The believer is a new creation in Christ Jesus; the old had passed
away; all things had become new (2 Cor 5:17). The believer can now walk in the Spirit - as a born-again
son of God, set apart to God, for His purposes. The sinner has been healed of sin-sickness; he is now a
saint - to the praise of God.

Well, the events at Lydda, with the healing of the paralyzed Aeneas, precipitated another healing in the
nearby town of Joppa.

v. 36 As mentioned, Joppa was ten miles west of Lydda, on the Mediterranean coast. Apparently, there
was another community of believers there. Tabitha is introduced as Aa certain disciple@; Luke is
communicating that she believed in the Lord.

Like Aeneas, Tabitha was most likely a Jew by birth, and may have been formerly a Hellenist Jew. Her
name is given in the Hebrew - Tabitha; and also in the Greek - Dorcas. Both have the same meaning,
Agazelle@. It is notable that this is the only use of the feminine form of the word Adisciple@ in the NT.
This woman essentially spent all of her time in the performance of good works and in charitable giving.

v. 37 Now, I want you to think this through with me. Tabitha became ill and died; who would have
washed her body? It would have been the community of believers - most likely former Jews - and it would
have been the women only, with a woman’s body. This was in accordance with the custom of the day,
when the body was cleansed in preparation for entombment. Except, in this case, note that they did not
entomb Tabitha=s body.

Now, it was also the custom of the day to bury or entomb a body immediately, because corruption set in
quickly in that warm climate. So why would it be that they did not do so with Tabitha=s body, but laid it in
an upper room, instead? The next verse gives us a clue.

v. 38 The disciples in Joppa had heard that Peter was in Lydda. If they had heard that, would they not also
have heard what Peter had done there - that he had miraculously healed a man who had been paralyzed for
eight years? Of course, they did. And that is why, when they sent two men there to ask Peter to come to
them, that they also asked him not to delay - for they were thinking about Tabitha=s body.

The believers in Joppa came to see that if Jesus had healed that paralyzed man through Peter, much like He
had when He walked the earth, then Jesus could also heal Tabitha through Peter - for Jesus had also raised
the dead during His earthly ministry. By faith, the disciples at Joppa expected Peter to raise Tabitha back
to life.

Now, why would the disciples have so desired Tabitha to come back to them? Because they loved her!
With all that she did, as a member of Christ=s Body, they missed her, and sorely felt that separation that
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Death had brought. They desired to be reunited with her.

v. 39 The Spirit prompted Peter to go, and he went to the upper chamber, where Tabitha=s body was laid
out. The poor widows of the community of believers were there, weeping and wailing in accordance with
the customary Eastern mourning.

Tabitha - known to the community by her Greek name, Dorcas - had made these widows dresses and coats
- her labor of love for them - and the believers, wearing these, showed them to Peter.

Now, let=s think about this again. The disciples knew they were going to bring Peter in to where Tabitha
lay, and they believed Peter would heal her, through Jesus. They had already washed Tabitha’s body.
So would her body be covered? Of course it would; a man is coming into the room! Would her body have
been covered in a burial shroud? Why would it? The disciples believed Peter was going to restore
Tabitha=s life. So Tabitha would have been dressed in her own clothes - clothes which were undoubtedly
those of her own making. You might say that Tabitha was clothed in her own Agood works@.

Let’s continue.

v. 40-41 Peter put the weeping widows out. Why were they weeping? The separation of death causes
hearts that love to weep; even when they believe that life will be restored. Jesus Himself wept at this (Jn
11:35). But Peter put them out - for what place did tears have, on such a joyous occasion?

Then Peter knelt down and prayed - addressing the One who could raise Tabitha from the dead; and indeed,
would. By faith, Peter spoke to the body, commanding Tabitha to rise; and so she did, rising from the dead
back to life. Then Peter helped her up, called the saints (this includes the widows) and presented Tabitha to
them - alive from the dead. Can you imagine the rejoicing at that reunion?

v. 42 Of course, the news of this spread like wildfire, and it undoubtedly proceeding out of Joppa, and up
the plain of Sharon towards Caesarea, just as the testimony of Aeneas had. And when people heard
Tabitha=s testimony, they too chose to believe into the One who had the power to make the dead live.

As we consider Peter=s role in this healing, we again see him following in the pattern of his Master.
During His ministry, Jesus also raised the dead, and in one case, in a very similar manner to that of Tabitha.

Jairus was the ruler of a synagogue, whose daughter fell ill. He sought out Jesus, but before Jesus arrived
at the home, the little girl had died. Jesus had also put out those who wept and wailed; spoke to the body;
and commanded the girl to arise; and so she did (Mk 5:22-43). So once again, we see Peter reflecting
Jesus.

The healing of Tabitha was dependent on the healing of Aeneas, for if the disciples in Joppa did not hear of
that healing, they would not have sent for Peter to heal Tabitha. This connects the two healings - and
completes the picture given by the Holy Spirit.

In Aeneas, we saw the picture of a sinner who was healed of his sin-sickness, and set apart to God, as a
saint. In Tabitha, who was already a saint, we see the end that God intends for His saints - when they are
delivered from death in bodies of glory.

Tabitha, or Dorcas, means Agazelle@. It was a name that was applied to females, probably because of the
beauty and grace of the gazelle. It is not unusual in the East to give the names of beautiful animals to
young women.
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Tabitha resided in the town of Joppa, which means Afair to Him@. Here was a disciple of Jesus, a
beautiful woman, full of grace, who was very fair in the Master=s eyes; who was filled with good works.
So who does Tabitha represent? Tabitha represents the Body of Christ; the church, whom Christ loved, and
gave Himself for (Eph 5:25).

Tabitha got sick and died, because she lives in an earthen vessel, which will corrupt. And so it will be for
the members of Christ=s Body, should the Lord tarry. But is that the end, for the church - death? No - just
like it was not the end, for Tabitha.

The body of Tabitha was washed - and so the church will be sanctified and cleansed before being presented
to the Lord (Eph 5:26). And Tabitha was clothed in her own garments, the product of her good works. The
Lord will present the church to Himself a church of glory (Eph 5:27). She will shine out the glory of her
Lord that she had taken in, and made her own (Rev 21:9-11), which became her labor of love, on the earth
(1 Cor 3:8, Rev 22:12).

Peter came to Tabitha in that upper chamber, spoke to her, and raised her alive again. And so the Lord will
come for His church: He will descend from heaven, and He will call for His bride with a shout; and we will
be caught up to meet Him in that upper chamber, in the clouds - and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1
Thes 4:13-18).

The raising of Tabitha was a comfort to the community of believers in Joppa, just as it is a comfort to us, to
know that we will be together with our dear ones in Christ, again. He will wipe away every tear (Rev
21:4); we will not weep, but rejoice.

The Spirit of God purposed these two miracles for a two-fold purpose. The miracles provided a testimony
to the power of Jesus to heal the sick and revive the dead.

But we see that the miracles were also signs, which showed the complete plan of God for the church (Jn
6:40); first, the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5), and then the
redemption of the body (Rm 8:23) - so that nothing is lost (Jn 6:39). Deliverance from sin and deliverance
from death; His is a complete deliverance.

The miracles were for the people, to encourage them to place their faith in Jesus as Lord. But who were the
signs for? At the time, they were specifically meant for Peter, as a preparation of heart for his work among
the Gentiles. The Spirit would help Peter understand the meaning of the signs - a picture of the completed
work of Christ.

And where did the signs point? They pointed up the coast. Who were the people who were hearing of the
miracles, and were being added to the church daily? Those in Lydda - and Joppa - and those on up the
plain of Sharon, towards Caesarea - regions with substantial Gentile populations.

The name Caesarea means Asevered@. In that city resided the people that had been severed from God by
their rejection of Him so long ago - the Gentiles - to which Peter would next be sent, so that he could open
up the kingdom of heaven to them.

v. 43 Peter spent a period of time in Joppa, no doubt teaching the doctrines of Christ - which would have
been so important to establish the new believers. He stayed with a man named Simon, a tanner - that is, he
tanned animal skins, creating leather.
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We=ll read later in chapter 10 that Simon lived by the seaside (Acts 10:6); sea water would have been used
in the tanning process. The occupation of tanner was considered unclean; defiling by Jewish law. Yet
Peter willingly stayed at Simon=s house many days - was that the leading of the Spirit? It was likely so.

It=s interesting to think a moment about Simon=s occupation - tanning animal skins for use as apparel.
That=s an ancient occupation. In the beginning, that=s what the LORD did in the garden, after Adam and
Eve repented of their sin; He made coats of skin and clothed them (Gen 3:21).

Do you remember what the animal sacrificed to obtain the coats of skin pictured? The sacrifice of the
Coming One; the Christ. The coats of skin themselves pictured the completed redemption, when we will be
clothed with our habitation which is from heaven - our body of glory (2 Cor 5:2).

So this was where Peter spent the remainder of his time in Joppa - with a man who was his namesake,
Simon, who lived by the seaside. The sea is used in Scripture as a picture of the sea of humanity - the
nations. Simon=s occupation would become Peter=s occupation - for very soon, many Gentiles would be
redeemed from out of the sea of humanity, that the Lord might bring many sons unto glory (Heb 2:10).