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July 8 UPDATE from Pastors/Elders

January 05, 2020

Miracles - Part 2

Most of us have not experienced the miracles of dramatic healing recorded in Acts. Do you believe God still heals this way? Listen or read to find reasons to believe.

Mike Gerhardt 01/05/20, Miracles part 2, Acts 9:32-43. I believe there is a slight difference between anticipation and expectation. Examples: Someone might say, I anticipate that with all my study & SAT classes that I will do well on my SAT test OR they may say, I expect with all my study & all the hard work that I will get perfect scores on my SATS or sue for money back on the courses I took. I anticipate with all the holiday eating that I will go on a diet and hope to lose a few pounds OR I expect this new diet plan my doctor gave me will make me lose 30 pounds before my February trip, or I’m changing doctors. I anticipate that Tuesday’s Church Council meeting may start on time, but I expect that at least one person, not named, will be late. Anticipation is a hope and faith that something may happen if it doesn’t happen that’s okay. Expectation is a hope and faith that something must happen, and it better happen, or there will be great disappointment. READ 9:32–35.

First, this is hard to explain.

Peter was last mentioned in 8:25 when he was returning to Jerusalem from Samaria with John. Peter was involved in an itinerant mission around Judea which brought him to Lydda. Lydda (Lied-da), mentioned only here in the New Testament, is today called Lod; Israel’s international airport is just north of the city. I tell you this because these are real places and real people. Peter carried on an extensive traveling ministry. This is implied from the way he addressed his first epistle.1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. Philip had preceded Peter to the area in and around Caesarea as in Acts 8:40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea. The healing of Aeneas was miraculous, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. Can you imagine being in bed for eight years? Yet this was an occasion for many to come to faith in Christ. Three times in Acts, Luke used the words turned to the Lord to refer to salvation 9:35; 11:21; 15:19. ALL turned to the Lord. What if you were to see a man cripple for eight years stand and walk? How would you respond? The gospel was beginning to attract a wider audience, for many in this coastal region were Gentiles. Sharon is the fertile plain along the coast of Palestine, about 10 miles wide and 50 miles long. Lydda was on the southeastern edge of the plain. It was Peter’s second healing of a cripple. It was ALL for God’s glory. Paul healed a lame man in Acts 14:8–10. READ 9:36–43.

Peter at Joppa. This is hard to believe. While Peter was at Lydda, a well-beloved Christian woman, a disciple, in Joppa by the name of Dorcas died. Her name means gazelle in Greek as does its counterpart Tabitha in Aramaic. She was known for her help to the poor. Not only was she dead, but she had also been washed and prepared for burial. Some might say this wasn’t a resurrection, she was just asleep, and Peter only woke her up or just resuscitated her. Luke gives us these details to understand how great a miracle this was!!

Because the cities of Lydda and Joppa are only about 12 miles apart two men were sent from Joppa to call Peter. No one had been raised from the dead in the early church so far as the records of Acts declare, but the faith of the believers was so great they urged Peter expecting the Lord Jesus to use him to resurrect Dorcas just as Jesus had raised others before. There may have been some eyewitnesses to Jesus' miracles. Jesus raised four counting himself, from the dead. The others were in Luke 7 the widow’s son (stopping the funeral procession), in Luke 8 Jairus’ daughter, and in John 11 Lazarus (who had been entombed 4 days). Jesus had promised the disciples they would do greater things than He did. John 14:12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father.

When Peter arrived, he sent the weeping widows and other believers out of the upstairs room. I wonder why he did that? Maybe he needed to concentrate on his personal faith in Jesus’ healing. Maybe he wasn’t sure if God would heal. Maybe he was nervous and didn’t want anyone to see that insecurity. The Bible tells us he prayed on his knees for Dorcas and commanded her to arise. To avoid ceremonial defilement, Peter did not touch her until after God restored her to life. Again, this miracle, like previous ones, led many to believe in the Lord. After this miracle, Peter remained in Joppa for (literally) sufficient days with a tanner named Simon. His house was by the sea. These two outstanding miracles confirmed his ministry and prepared him for his encounter with the Gentile Cornelius; God was with him in a special way. He was ministering in an area that was partially Gentile. His living in the home of Simon the tanner was significant. Tanners were considered ceremonially unclean being in contact with the skins of dead animals Lev 11:40. Peter was being ready to accept the unclean Gentiles into the family.

Now let me ask you, does God raise people from the dead today? Recently a beautiful two-year-old named Olive stopped breathing. Her parents Andrew and Kalley asked their church to pray for Olive’s resurrection from the dead. The medics had tried to revive the little girl to no avail and declared her dead, but the Bethel Church gathered to pray for her resurrection. Now some of you are thinking that’s ridiculous, why would they do that? Some of you don’t know what to think. Personally, I have heard of people who have been clinically dead for over 30 minutes coming back to life with no residual effects. I have heard missionaries tell of people being raised from the dead and many coming to Christ because of the miracle. So, why doesn't God heal everyone?

We have said this before, it is God who heals and for His glory, not as a response to our demands. He has chosen to heal some and not everyone. In the case of little Olive, they have stopped praying, may she rest in peace, and may the family be held together by the Spirit of the God of all comfort.

I believe miracles happen. I also believe we need eyes to anticipate that God will do something. We must be careful not to demand of God or expect God to perform for us. It is for His glory that He does any miracles and we can anticipate that. He is our Good Father. He knows best. Pray to have eyes to see His great work.