In this blog I have tried to explore the Acts of the Apostles and reflect on the encounters, the people and the places that we find in the early church. The early church are in a new situation as are we, and as we continue to explore what church looks like, how it points to Jesus Christ and how this might look post COVID19. We find ourselves today with the Apostle Peter in Acts 9:32-43.
In this miraculous encounter we see Peter healing Aeneas and raising Tabitha from the dead. For me the encounter is particularly amazing as it has the early churches passion for Jesus at the centre of it.
Firstly we see the Apostle Peter following the example of the risen Lord Jesus in both cases. When he heals the lame Aeneaus he uses the words “Get up and roll up your mat” we are taken to Mark 2:11 where Jesus uses similar words healing the lame man in Capernaum “Get up take your mat and go home”. In the case of Tabitha (or Dorcas) being raised from the dead we here Peter say “Tabitha koum” so similar to the words of Jesus when he raised Jairus’s daughter in Mark 5:41 “Talitha koum” which means little girl get up.
Secondly we see the Apostle Peter using the power of the risen Lord Jesus in both cases. With Aeneaus he says “Jesus Christ heals you” and in the case of Tabitha we hear before the miracle “he got down on his knees and prayed”.
Thirdly we see the Apostle Peter working for the glory of the risen Lord Jesus in both cases. With Aeneaus we read “All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.” and in the case of Tabitha “This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord”
This incredible threefold understanding of the early church’s ministry is a great window into our calling as a church. If we were not in COVID19 Lockdown we would still need to be asking questions of how this is reflected in our mission as a church, but now it is even more important in a world hurting more than ever that we reach out using the example of the risen Lord Jesus, in the power of the risen Lord Jesus and always for the glory of the risen Lord Jesus.
I leave you with an old Charles Wesley hymn written in 1749:
1 Jesus, Lord, we look to thee,
let us in thy name agree:
show thyself the Prince of peace;
bid all strife for ever cease.
2 Make us of one heart and mind,
courteous, pitiful, and kind,
lowly, meek in thought and word,
altogether like our Lord.
3 Let us for each other care,
each the other’s burden bear;
to thy church the pattern give,
show how true believers live.
4 Free from anger and from pride,
let us thus in God abide;
all the depths of love express,
all the heights of holiness.
Your friend and Vicar