Encouraging the Believers Brings More Believers
36 Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. 37 In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.
38 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.”
39 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. 40 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. 41 And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then, calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive.
42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
Luke shares some rare details in this story, but I think it’s to show how they don’t affect Peter. Tabitha is an artist. She makes all kinds of beautiful things and has a reputation for serving and doing well.
But that isn’t the point for Peter.
So far we’ve had magicians trying to buy the Holy Spirit, Pharisees killing people because they felt like their power and temple was being threatened, Ethiopians getting saved that would have never been allowed in the Temple at all and now you have a bunch of widows asking for someone to be raised from the dead. Jesus made a great habit of never fitting into a formula for healings, and Peter is being a good disciple.
The most encouraging part about all of this though, is that Peter is finally unleashed. Instead of hiding out safe in Jerusalem, Acts 1:8 is being fulfilled.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Acts 1:8
Jesus told them to go and make disciples of all nations, and Peter is now doing it. He is traveling from city to city, as people are beckoning him to come, and preaching the Gospel. There are definitely times to go to the unreached who have not heard, but there are also times to go to those that are calling and crying out for encouragement and sustainable teaching. There weren’t many Christians anywhere in those days, so each tiny pocket of believers was trying to grow.
By going to respond to the believers in Joppa, there became more believers in Joppa than ever. It was enough to help Peter to stay there even longer, growing the church and encouraging the believers that Jesus was still at work.