Summary: This text is to teach that we should depend on our faith when there is no hope.
WHEN FAITH IS WHAT YOU NEED
My brothers and sisters there are times in our lives that we need to examine the faith that we have. Too often our common reasoning stands in the way of our Christian faith. Not only common reasoning, but we allow friends, things, and the lack of foresight to stand in our way, when it is our faith that only matters. I’m reminded of a story that I read about a father and a son who’s house caught afire. His father searched for the boy through the inferno, but could not find him. So he left the house hoping that his son had found his way to safety. But upon arriving outside he saw his son standing on the roof of the house. With stretched out arm he called for the boy, “Jump and I’ll catch you.” the father knew that in order for his son to be saved he had to jump from the building. But the boy could only hear his Dad’s voice and could not see where his Dad was. All he could see was flames and the dense smoke. And seeing this he was afraid to jump from the roof. His father kept calling to him, “I’ll catch you.” But the boy protested, “Daddy, I can’t see you.” Then the father replied, “But I can see you, and that is all that matters.” -Illustrator Unknown
You see this father being who he was, was trying to get his child pass what he saw, to the safety of what he heard. This is what happened in the text. The disciples in Joppa did not allow their reasoning to get in the way of their faith. They believed in the power that was exhibited in Peter. They knew and had heard about the powerful name of Jesus Christ that Peter used in Lydda and I suspect that they knew that if they could get Peter to come to Joppa, he could speak the powerful name of Jesus and life could be restored.
In the previous text we saw Peter making his rounds and there he came upon the saints who dwelt in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas who had been bed ridden with the palsy for eight tormenting years. It was this man that was handicapped to the most critical degree. He could not wash himself, feed himself, nor could he take care of his own personal needs without someone helping him. But that was before Peter came to town. When Peter saw him he said, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole; arise, and make thy bed.” Then the text said, “And he arose immediately.” Now the wonderful results of this miracle was twofold, the first being Aeneas himself being healed and the second being that all the people that dwelt in Lydda and Sharon saw him [speaking of Aeneas] and turned to the Lord. So we learned in that lesson that there is awesome power in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This lesson takes us even further into Peter’s missionary journey. While he was yet in Lydda, the disciples in Joppa heard that Peter was there and they sent two men with a message desiring Peter to come. The nature of this urgent visit is evident in the preceding verses. The text starts off telling us about a disciple name Tabitha. She was known for her good works. But we found out that she was sick, in-fact so sick that she died. This was the urgent reason for Peter to be summoned. Now while the disciples were elevating their faith by sending for Peter, there were some who was overtaken by grief and was preparing her for her burial.
So let’s see how the disciples faith can prove to be contagious.
1. THEY HAD FAITH WHEN THERE WAS NO HOPE (V.38)
“And forasmuch as Lydda was near to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring that he would not delay to come to them.”
As we look at the text we can see a few disciples showing their faith when there appear to be no hope. The text describes the situation as hopeless. The town’s most liked person had fallen sick and died. I can imagine how grieved they must have been, after all Tabitha or Dorcas as she was called, was known for her good works and almsgiving. Later on in the lesson we will see the widows with tear soaked eyes showing Peter the coats and garments that she had made. They were preparing for the funeral when some of the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda which was not far from Joppa. Now I’m sure that they had heard about the miracle of Aeneas and how Peter called on that miracle working name of the Lord. And with the faith that they had they sent for the man of God to come and maybe he will call on the name of Jesus to raise Dorcas from the dead.