Acts 9 v 32 - 43

This is a fairly straightforward story, but there are still things to be noted in it:

1. Recent passages have been about Saul/Paul, but the narrative is re-focussed on Peter for a while.

2. Stories of individual believers and of fellowships in the Early Church re-emphasise that following Jesus was not just about saying and believing the right doctrine, but about practical obedience: the Church was known because of the renewed lives people experienced when they came into contact with Christians. Aeneas was one such person and through his healing many people came to faith in Jesus.

3. Tabitha was a good person who demonstrated her faith through her deeds. We are reminded that the Church had lots of calls upon its purse. Those like Barnabas who donated funds to it were much needed as there were so many who struggled. Widowhood was a big problem in those days as there was little that could be earned without a man and men often died young. Note the woman who met the baby Jesus at the Temple in Luke 2-Anna- who had only been married seven years before her husband died and had spent at least fifty years as a widow!

4. Peter stayed with Simon the tanner. Almost always, those who did this as a profession had to live away from the general populace as tanning animal skins was such a malodorous experience! Peter was not fussy who he stayed with as long as he was welcomed!

5. The Christians at Lydda are called 'saints' and Paul always wrote his letters to the 'saints' in wherever he was writing to. Christians are different from the world: they are called out in the same way as the Israelites were called to be a holy nation. They failed God as a nation and now the saints are to be found in countries throughout the world, each called to act as salt and light in their communities. We are different not because we are chosen for greater honour, but because we are chosen for greater service. We have been saved in order to serve.

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