Peter and Tabitha
- Imagine the sadness of Tabitha's friends at her death—and their joy when she was brought back to life.
- Be amazed at Jesus' power over death.
Amid all the powerful works of the Holy Spirit and the frenetic growth of the church, Luke takes the time to tell the story of Tabitha (also known as Dorcas). In her, we catch a glimpse of the church at work in its everyday ministry of love and service.
The church is the continued ministry of Jesus Christ. We have already seen how the apostles carried on that work in their teaching and healing. In Tabitha we see how the ministry of Jesus is carried on through every member of the church.
As a member of the fellowship of believers at Joppa, Tabitha is remembered as "always doing good and helping the poor" (9:36). Her special gifts were used in ministry to needy people, especially in making clothes for poor widows. In those days widows often had a rough time because they were without family and financial support. Often they were left to survive on their own. Tabitha helped make their lives easier.
In this story Luke reminds us that the ministry of Christ isn't just in the more public and spectacular gifts of preaching and teaching, or in the miracles of healing and deliverance. It's also found in the humble service of people like Tabitha who make love real with their hands.
When Tabitha died, the community at Joppa felt a great loss. The widows needed her support, and the whole community felt destitute. In their distress they called on Peter, who happened to be in the area.
What did they expect from Peter? They had, after all, prepared the body for burial, so maybe they thought he might lead the funeral. Perhaps they just wanted to hear gospel words of consolation and hope from an apostle who had been with the risen Lord. Perhaps they even hoped for something more from someone who had seen Jesus raise the dead.
What a scene Peter finds there. Tabitha is laid out in an upstairs room, and all around the widows are weeping and showing him the fine clothes Tabitha made for them while she was alive. Moved to action, Peter gets on his knees beside the bed where Tabitha is lying. The whole scene reminds us of the time when Jesus healed Jairus's daughter, sending away the mourners, kneeling, and gently inviting the dead person to get up. Again, the apostles are continuing what Jesus "began to do and to teach."
"Tabitha, get up." What a simple description of a tremendous miracle. For the first time, the apostles even raise the dead, just as Jesus had done. And many people believed because of this great miracle.
One of the things the kids in your group can learn is that everyone in the church is part of the ministry of Jesus—even kids like them. Urge them, in practical, hands-on ways, to be part of the church's ministry. And make sure that your congregation expects and values kids this age as an integral part of the ministry of the church.
Step 1 Breathe
Use this time to focus your attention on God.
Do this with me: calm your head, heart, and hands as you slowly breathe in . . . and out. (Demonstrate a few deep "in and out breaths" with eyes closed.)
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DWELL helps kids find their place in God's Big Story. Learn more about this popular and trusted children’s ministry curriculum.