Practical Reflections on Acts - 9:32-10:4

Acts 9:32‑10:4  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
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32. “And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.”
For the time being, Saul passes off the scene, leaving Peter to fulfill the commission given him by the Lord Jesus: “feed My lambs  .  .  .  shepherd My sheep” (JND). He who had been unfaithful to His Lord now faithfully visits the believers of “all quarters.” Lydda (“Lod” in the Hebrew) means “travail; strife.” The work of shepherding among God’s dear people often involves bringing peace where strife exists.
33-34. “And there he found a certain man named Eneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. And Peter said unto him, Eneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.”
Where there is strife among God’s people, there is inability to walk in strength and liberty for God’s glory. What a joy it must have been to dear Eneas to be delivered from his helpless condition! Now, rather than being a servant to his bed, the blessed name of Jesus Christ has caused the former cripple to be an overcomer. Oh! that God’s dear people, overcoming all bitterness and strife, would be found walking in peace one with another (Eph. 4:31-3231Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31‑32)).
35. “And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.”
Again the principle of doing before speaking is presented. It was not what people heard Eneas say, but rather what they saw in his changed life that caused them to turn to the Lord. What wonderful blessing results when brethren endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:33Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)).
36. “Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.”
Whether viewed by the word (Dorcas) or by the people of God (Tabitha), this disciple was the same—full of good works and almsdeeds. What a sermon her life preached to all who knew her!
37. “And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.”
The beautiful spirit of loving, gracious care for one another, which Tabitha morally represents, is ever in danger of weakening and dying out among Christians. In a day when the love of many shall wax cold (Matt. 24:1212And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (Matthew 24:12)), we must guard against such a thing happening, individually or collectively.
38. “And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.”
How wonderful that those brethren who had suffered such loss were near another assembly that had the means to encourage, comfort and help them. Let us see to it that we are ever close enough to one another to be able to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:22Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)).
39. “Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.”
The beneficial results of Dorcas’s ministry, which had provided for the needs of the helpless, is publicly displayed. How wonderful if our service is found to provide garments of comfort for our dear brethren—those whom Christ loves—who are in need. “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees” (Heb. 12:1212Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; (Hebrews 12:12)).
40-41. “But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.”
Seven beautiful moral principles are found in Tabitha’s restoration to life. The servant discerns the Lord’s will apart from human sentiment (“Peter put them all forth” ), acts in dependence on God (“kneeled down, and prayed” ), speaks the Lord’s mind (“Tabitha, arise” ), provides guidance for the restored (“when she saw Peter, she sat up” ), identifies in personal fellowship with the restored (“gave her his hand” ), strengthens the faith of the restored (“lifted her up” ), and, finally, brings the restored back to the bosom of the assembly (“presented her alive [to the saints and widows]” ).
42-43. “And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord. And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.”
Simon Peter quietly remains in a humble dwelling for many days until His blessed Master again calls him to service. The servant is hidden, while the ministry he was called to continues to reap fruit.
Chapter 10
12. “There was a certain man in Cæsarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.”
Blessing had already gone beyond Jerusalem, reaching into Samaria (Acts 8). Now it goes even further, reaching to a Gentile—one who, like the Ethiopian eunuch, though earnest in heart, had found no lasting peace or blessing in Judaism.
3. “He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.”
Cornelius worshipped God from an honest, reverent heart. Yet, like the Ethiopian eunuch, he did not really know that One he worshipped. But now he finds that God knows and cares about him.
4. “And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.”
Though it is not normal for a believer to be afraid of the Lord, until a quickened soul rests fully in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, this is often its experience.