Sunday, February 26, 2012

            Scripture: Acts 9.31-43
Translation: 31And so the church distributed in the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace as it was being edified and going in the fear of the Lord and it was being grown in the encouragement of the Holy Spirit.

32And it happened that Peter who was going through all [those] places went down also to the holy people that were living in Lydda. 33And he found there a man with the name Aeneas who from 8 years old was [stuck] lying down on a mattress, who was in a disabled state. 34And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Stand up and make your own [bed]!” And immediately he stood up. 35And all those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him, those kind of people turned to the Lord.

36And in Joppa there was a disciple with the name Tabitha, which after being translated is said “Dorcas”[1]. This woman was full of good works and charitable donations, which she was doing. 37And it happened in those days that after getting sick she died. And after they washed [her body], they put her in an upstairs room. 38And since Lydda is close to Joppa, the disciples, because they heard that Peter is in it, sent two men to him for the purpose of urging, “Don’t hesitate to come through to us.” 39And Peter after he stood up went with them, who after he arrived they brought into the upstairs room and all the widows were present with him as they were weeping and showing off the tunics and clothes which Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40And after he threw all the people outside and after getting on his knees, Peter prayed and after he turned back to the body, he said, “Tabitha, stand up!” And she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41And by giving her [his] hand, he stood her up. And after summing the holy people and the widows, he presented her alive. 42And it became known distributed through the whole of Joppa and many people believed on the Lord. 43And it happed that [Peter] stayed quite a few days in Joppa with one Simon the Leathermaker.
Explanation and Interpretation:
1.      Plot
a.       Peter is traveling around to where all the believers are
b.      Peter makes a stop in Lydda
c.       There Peter heals a man who was confined to a mat since he was 8
d.      The city and the surrounding area hear about what happened
e.       People who heard the story turn to the Lord
2.      Key Words
a.       ανιστημι = get up, wake up, stand up, it is the technical word for resurrection, it is used by Peter in his order to the crippled man in v.34, as well as by the narrator for the man’s action in the same verse. In v.39 to describe Peter’s getting up to go with them, and then in v.40 with Peter’s order to the dead woman to get up, and then in v.41 with Peter getting the woman on her feet
                                                              i.      the point is to highlight the fact that someone got raised from the dead, by someone who believes in the One Who Raised from the dead.
b.      επιστρεφω = turn on/towards, used twice, first in v.35 for the people who turned to the Lord in faith, and second in v.40 when Peter turns towards the body of the dead woman, used to echo the first usage and foreshadow a similar response by the people of that town, but also to color how Peter is operating, viz. faith in the Lord
c.       πιστευω = used only in v.42, but there in an important way, viz. it replaces the expected επιστρεφω as one expected to have in parallel with the close of the first section of the story, but here by replacing it, it tells us how to understand the επιστρεφω in v.35 as well as make the focus here more intense
d.      διερχομαι = meaning to go through, used in v.32, and v.38, which puts the focus on the nature of Peter’s action, which is actually foreshadowing something, probably Paul’s church encouragement trip
3.      Key Themes
a.       Resurrection/Raising
b.      Turning to Faith in Christ
c.       God’s care for believers
d.      God’s care for unbelievers (He used His Care for believers to bring in the unbelievers, which I guess still ultimately makes them believers)
4.      Doctrines
a.       About God
                                                              i.      God can heal and fix and raise what nobody can
                                                            ii.      God works through His People on earth
                                                          iii.      God uses circumstances and His Miracles in people’s lives to bring people to Him
                                                          iv.      The Lord, the Sovereign Jesus, Yahweh is the object of our focus and faith
                                                            v.      Time does not affect God’s ability to heal or transform situations or people or conditions
                                                          vi.      The Holy Trinity, Yahweh, is the God of Resurrection! He can Raise anybody, anytime, anywhere, even using a human vessel to bring the raising!
b.      Misc.
                                                              i.      You get saved by turning to the Lord, in faith
                                                            ii.      What you do can have a big impact on people
                                                          iii.      Peter operates by grace, because he saved someone who did nothing and someone who did everything, both already believers, thus deservedness is not an issue. How many crippled and dead were not raised?
5.      Notes
a.       The function of this story is to give a segway from Paul back to Peter who will be the focus for a while, but moreover to get Peter from Jerusalem and into Joppa, which is where he will soon have a dream and be summoned to Cornelius to share the Gospel with a Roman
1.      God’s got the Power, so trust Him like He’s got it
2.      God really cares about you if you are a believer!
3.      God cares about you if you are an unbeliever so much He wants to you to be a believer
4.      Trust in Christ for Eternal Life, because He is the One Who Raised from the Dead on His Own
5.      God can fix your problems, even if you don’t deserve it, but He may not even if you do deserve it, so trust Him either way
6.       However else the Holy Spirit wants to connect the dots for you.

[1] i.e. gazelle 

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