Acts 9:41

Mormon statue memorializing apostasy.

Thursday, 25 August 2022

Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. Acts 9:41

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The previous verse detailed the restoration of life to Tabitha (Dorcas). With that having occurred, it next says of Peter, “Then he gave her his hand.” The verb is an aorist participle, saying, “And having given her his hand.”

It is speculated that this is noted because up until this time nothing has been said of physical contact between the two. If there was, Peter would have been ceremonially defiled according to Jewish law. That is found in Numbers 19:11, which says, “He who touches the dead body of anyone shall be unclean seven days.”

This is unlikely because it also says in Numbers 19:14, “This is the law when a man dies in a tent: All who come into the tent and all who are in the tent shall be unclean seven days.” The tent in that passage is to be equated to an enclosed area which is just where Tabitha’s body had been laid. The prophets of the Old Testament also went into the dead in the same manner as Peter, and they had physical contact with them while dead. That is seen in 1 Kings 17 (Elijah) and 2 Kings 4 (Elisha). But more to the point, in Christ, the types of defilement that are seen under the law are fulfilled and the law is set aside.

Regardless of this, Peter extended his hand to her. In doing so, he “lifted her up.” The order of events was different when Jesus restored life to the twelve-year-old girl. In Luke 8, it says –

“But He put them all outside, took her by the hand and called, saying, ‘Little girl, arise.’ 55 Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately. And He commanded that she be given something to eat. 56 And her parents were astonished, but He charged them to tell no one what had happened.” Luke 8: 54-56

Jesus first took the hand of the girl. He then directed her to arise. Peter directed her to arise and then took her hand. The difference is possibly because the life itself flowed from the Lord to the little girl whereas this is to show that the life of Tabitha was restored through Jesus and not from Peter. Only after her restoration does he take her hand to help her up. Next, it says, “and when he had called the saints and widows.”

The distinction between saints and widows is certainly not intended to mean the widows were not believers, but that they are the ones who were most affected by the charitable deeds of Tabitha. She tended to those who were unable to support themselves and were dependent on others for their needs. Having noted this, it is to these previously mournful souls that Peter “presented her alive.”

The miracle had been wrought, Tabitha was restored to those who had been mourning her loss, and the joy of her presence was probably accompanied by a great amount of praising the Lord for His tender mercies upon them all.

Life application: There are many people who say they believe in Jesus and yet they don’t accept the early Genesis account as literal history. This generally extends to Genesis 11 where they begin to accept it as true and literal, as if God suddenly started telling us the truth about what was happening at that time.

There are people that say they are believers and yet they do not accept the idea of predictive prophecy. In other words, the prophecies in the Bible that are fulfilled were written after they occurred.

There are people who claim to be Christians, but they dismiss the miracles, healings, and raising of the dead as fabricated stories.

A lot of these categories overlap too, meaning it is the same group of people in two or even all three of the categories. Some only fall into one of them. But all of them show a lack of faith in God, and they do not accept the “Jesus” who is presented in Scripture. Jesus held to the absolute authority and truthfulness of the Genesis account including the story of man’s creation (Mark 10:6), the killing of Abel (Luke 11:51), the flood of Noah (Matthew 24:37, 38), and so on.

Jesus refers to prophecies that were written long before His coming, and which were either fulfilled in His coming (such as Luke 4:18) or that would be fulfilled in the future (such as Mark 13:14). The number of such prophecies is rather extensive.

And more, Jesus is said to have performed miracles, healings, and the raising of the dead. After His ascension, these continued on through the apostles who were empowered by the Lord to do so, such as in the raising of Tabitha in Acts 9.

Although it is possible to be saved and hold to these erroneous views, it is both illogical and contradictory to do so. And to then teach these things to others will lead to the presentation of a false Jesus and thus a false gospel.

Where is your faith? If you cannot trust the word that tells of Jesus, you are not demonstrating faith in the Jesus who is presented in Scripture. Have faith, accept the word, and trust that what is presented is literal and truthful.

Lord God, help us in our times of unbelief or in our failure to accept Your word as it is given.  May we stand approved before You as those who trust that Your word is literal, and it is true. Help us in this, O God. Amen.