With persecution of believers in the Messiah of Israel getting into full swing in Israel and the gospel going out of Jerusalem, the Lord’s dealing with Israel was about over and the Gentiles were now coming onto the radar screen of the gospel of the grace of God. The man Saul who was instrumental in persecuting the saints would now have a taste of his own medicine. He was a chosen vessel of God to bring the gospel to the Gentiles and this chapter marked his conversion and calling as well as his introduction to the church of the living God.

Acts 9:1: And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
Acts 9:2: And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

Saul undoubtedly was a very focus man. What he believed to be right he would do his very best to make things right. He was brought up as a Pharisee and he was also a son of a Pharisee. He was taught by one of the most esteemed teachers, Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God. Though he might not personally be privy to all that took place during the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, he was there to witness and give consent to the death of Stephen after hearing his blasting sermon against the Jewish authorities. So persecution arose after the death of Stephen in Israel but the disciples moved out of Jerusalem and began preaching Christ and Christ crucified to many others among the Jews in Israel and some evidently went out of Israel to regions beyond.

While these disciples carried out the great commission of the Lord, they were still labouring among the Jews and not the Gentiles. With Saul being a man of great zeal towards his God, the God of Israel, he persecuted the disciples in Israel and now on his own accord, he volunteered to persecute believers in regions outside of Israel. He sought permission from his superiors and got approval to prosecute those who had departed from their Jewish faith and bring them back to Jerusalem to be punished. Saul was trying his very best to get the house of the Jewish faith in order and in trying to clean the house against those who tried to cause trouble, he was going out of the way to get the disciples of Christ.

He definitely showed no mercy to the disciples of the Lord and be they men or women, Saul was going to arrest them and bring them back to Jerusalem. Saul not only threatened the disciples but slaughtered them as well. One can imagine the cries and prayers of those disciples against their persecutors during that time where husbands and wives became separated and children orphaned during this time of persecution and trouble of the church. His zeal in this exercise surely pleased the religious elites of his day and approval was given and he could prosecute Jews outside of Israel who had believed in Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel. As far as Saul and the religious authorities were concerned, the Messiah of Israel had yet to come. The destination he was going was Damascus in Syria.

Acts 9:3: And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
Acts 9:4: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Acts 9:5: And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Acts 9:6: And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

That fateful day while Saul was on his way to prosecute those who had turned away from their Jewish faith, he had a confrontation from someone out of this world that changed his life forever. He might be already armed with a name list who he would be arresting and bring to task and perhaps even thinking about how to deal with them and admonish those Jews in Damascus to tow the line on Judaism. But he was struck down by a bright light from heaven. Saul was actually nearing his destination and was about to get to work on those rebels who had departed from the faith when this incident happened. His mission to Damascus carried great importance and perhaps this could even bring him great fame and he could become the next in line to succeed his teacher in Jerusalem in the not too distant future. But that day, his religious pursuit for his Jewish faith and the manner in which he was brought up were called into question and all that he embraced to be true were about to change in this lightning confrontation from the Person whom he was persecuting.

The high and lofty prosecutor was brought to the ground and wallowing in a state of confusion. It must have been a pathetic sight for this great man of God. When he fell from his high horse of self-righteous zeal and utmost hatred against the saints, he was questioned by the Person whom he was persecuting why he was doing such a thing. His own limited understanding of the written oracles passed down from his forefathers was now brought into question. He knew the voice who called his name was someone much greater than any mere sons of Adam. He was on his way to persecute the saints and now he was questioned by the One why he was doing this. In his fallen state on the ground, completely overpowered, he recognized this Person to be someone much higher than his teachers and superiors back in Jerusalem. He addressed this person Lord and asked for his name just like his forefather Jacob asked in yonder years where that angel refused to reveal his name. This time however was different. Saul was not wrestling with an angel for his own survival. He was going all out against the will of the God of Israel and was persecuting the saints of the Most High God.

Here was a moment of revelation to Saul. The Lord Jesus Christ then revealed himself to Saul. Moreover, Saul was told that he was actually persecuting the Lord Jesus Christ. Now this was the greatest of all punch lines he read from the news. He was brought up and taught by his teachers to be a defender of the Jewish faith. He was convinced and convicted that these fanatics who went after Jesus of Nazareth were apostates and troublemakers. These rebels were following a leader Jesus who was supposed to be dead whom they preached and affirmed to be alive. When Stephen declared he saw Jesus standing on the right hand of God in heaven before he died, he no doubt heard that blasphemous claim. Now Saul finally had a confrontation with the Lord Jesus Christ whom he was persecuting when he was on his way to persecute His disciples in Damascus. Saul, a man of scholarly status of the Jewish faith had never felt so wrong before. He was further told it was hard for him to go against the pricks trying to force his way against the will of God. He was more than up against the wall. He had come to a dead end in his own ignorant religious zeal without knowledge. It must have been a shocking and painful revelation.

Saul was found trembling and astonished which he should. Could he imagine the harm he had done to the Church of the living God for persecuting it and wasting it? So he asked what the Lord would have him to do. The Lord did not kill him immediately in which He could, especially for the horrific persecution he launched against the disciples of the Lord. Of course the Lord knew his heart and spared him for a very special purpose. God providentially allowed Saul to wreck havoc of the Church and now the Lord could use him in a way no one could possibly fathom. Indeed he who was forgiven much would love much. When he could even talk with this Lord from heaven, and addressed Him as Lord, showed that Saul was not a rebellious and wicked man. He was an upright man doing what he thought was right and was defending the honour of God when he persecuted the saints. The fact of the matter was anyone persecuting a believer in the Lord was persecuting the Lord personally. Unfortunately most people would not know and acknowledge this and hence they would eventually meet their tragic ends. Notwithstanding, Saul was different. He was quick to turn from the burning and he was used of the Lord in a most wonderful way thereafter.

Now he acknowledged that he was wrong and asked what he had to do. Unlike Judas Iscariot who committed suicide instead of repenting, Saul was quick to repent. He was bringing forth fruits meet for repentance in the light of his crimes against the saints all the while in his state of unbelief. He did not argue with the Lord or gave excuses to mitigate what he did to the disciples of the Lord. He knew full well that he deserved nothing less than death but what benefit would death bring to the Lord for this man who ignorantly persecuted those who belonged to the Lord. It was far better to ask what he could do to undo his wrongs in repentance trusting in the mercy of the Lord.

What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth? (Psalm 30:9)

That day Saul found mercy, goodness and grace of the Lord. In spite of all that he had done, he was forgiven, given a new direction and a new mission. He was given a chance to declare the truth of God having been spared for all evil he did to the church of God. He was instructed to get up from his fallen state and enter the city, the place he intended to prosecute the believers of the Lord. This time, entering the city was for a different purpose, a purpose far from what he was supposed to accomplish. He would be revealed the will of the Lord when he entered that city, the city of his future destiny. This was certainly not the former city of Jerusalem where the peace of the Lord was absent from him for the many years he was brought up steep in religious fervour but empty in the knowledge of the true and living God. He would be most fruitful working in Gentile cities than in the city of Jerusalem. And to begin with, Damascus would be the starting point of his new work and new life he received from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 9:7: And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
Acts 9:8: And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.

This incident no doubt had shaken those religious police who went with Saul. They witnessed what happened to their chief who was on an important mission to prosecute fanatics and apostates of the Jewish faith. They were there to assist Saul to accomplish this great and important work for the Jewish people to ensure they continue in the faith of the fathers. But now they saw their leader fallen to the ground, confused and spoke with an unseen person in trembling voices and in utter humility. Had their chief gone mad being struck by lightning but survived? So they stood speechless unable to render any assistance to the officer and perhaps very terrified as well.

This self-confident man of God with a holy mission to defend the Jewish faith had turned into a weak and helpless man who needed assistance to proceed into the city. From a wrathful man against the Jesus zealots turning into a helpless wretch was indeed an astonishing sight to those who went with him. When Saul got up from the ground, he was no longer able to see. His men had to help him with handholding like a little child learning to walk to bring him to the place of his intended persecution. The persecutor had now turned protected in this twisted change in event. Those men must have had much reasoning among themselves in this unexplained change of fate in their mission and how they were going to continue with their objectives were now thrown into a limbo. Nevertheless, they brought their chief to the prearranged lodging and await further instruction from their now blind, confused and helpless officer. To bring this severely handicapped man back to Jerusalem would be too challenging a task.

Acts 9:9: And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

When Saul thought he could see with his fleshly eyes what lied ahead in his religious zeal the achievement he could accomplish for the God of Israel, he had to be blinded in order to see with the eyes of faith. Looking through the eyes of the flesh had been so wrong all this while and now he had to see without his eyes but see what the true and living God was about to reveal to him in silence and solitude. He had to be shielded away from the faces of all his teachers and those in authorities he looked up to but to look at the Lord: Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:16) No man could approach the Lord but the Lord approached this man on the way to Damascus instead. What grace and mercy of the Lord for blinding this hardened Pharisee with the true Light from heaven to remove his blindness in this world! That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (John 1:9)

It was during these three days shut away from the world and all those cares and distractions that Saul was finally learning and receiving his proper religious education. All those paper qualifications and pompous religious titles earned from Jewish religious seminaries were totally and completely worthless in the light of this private tutorship from the Creator of the universe. With his eyes blinded, Saul was beginning to see. What a cruel irony. All those faces of the disciples he persecuted, their cries and their torment, probably appeared before him during these times of serious reflections. All those laws of Moses were now explained to him in clarity that he had never seen before through the eyes of the flesh. Now he could see how the Messiah of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ must suffer first before glory would come.

In such circumstances having communion with the Lord, Saul had the best of all devotions before the true and living God that he had never experienced before. All those times attending to all the rites and rituals of the Jewish faith before the great temple in Jerusalem were completely eclipsed under the present closeness with the Lord. What would Saul give up in exchange for such joyous moments of salvation and revelations from heaven would be beyond contemplation. Indeed Saul had seen the Lord during these three days of solitary confinement in which he fervently challenged those who questioned his apostleship later: Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? (1 Corinthians 9:1) While the Lord was educating and dealing with this once a hardened Pharisee, the Lord worked with another disciple in Damascus to seal the fate of this man to accelerate the gospel clock sending salvation to the end of the world.

Acts 9:10: And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
Acts 9:11: And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
Acts 9:12: And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.

The faith of the Lord Jesus Christ had spread to this city and in particular, one disciple Ananias, was the vessel chosen to initiate Saul into the church of the living God. The Lord personally instructed Ananias to look for Saul. Ananias was told that Saul was praying and indeed Saul had a very long prayer meeting with the Lord during the three days. Saul was residing at Straight Street and in fact straight was this man Saul like Nathanael, in whom was no guile, a pure Israelite indeed. Information was given to Ananias that Saul had seen a vision concerning Ananias ministering to him for his recovery of sight.

Acts 9:13: Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
Acts 9:14: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.

The fearsome reputation of Saul was known of all the disciples in Israel and in regions beyond. The disciples of the Lord were well informed of the evil that Saul did to the Lord’s people in Jerusalem and now coming to Damascus to do the same. They also knew Saul had the backing of the chief priests to prosecute the Jews in foreign land who dared to depart from their faith. These disciples of the Lord were preparing to face the consequences of their faith in Christ and to suffer like what their brethren were going through in Jerusalem. So it was a surprising order for Ananias to approach Saul, their coming persecutor.

Acts 9:15: But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
Acts 9:16: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

Nonetheless, Ananias was assured by the Lord that Saul was a chosen vessel to testify for the Lord to great and small to the Gentiles as well as to suffer great things for Christ’s name sake. The sufferings Saul had to endure for Christ were recorded and truly he suffered the most among all the other apostles.

Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. (2 Corinthians 11:23-25)

Acts 9:17: And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
Acts 9:18: And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

So Ananias went to Saul and restored his sight. Ananias also laid hands on Saul. However, Ananias was not an apostle. His laying on of hands was not to impart the Holy Ghost to Saul like what other apostles did to their converts in Israel. This act of laying hands on Saul was to recover sight for him and that Saul might be filled with the Holy Ghost. During the three days of communion with the Lord, Saul would have been converted and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost was a non-issue.

All those Jewish disciples in the past received the Holy Ghost when they got saved but only certain servants of the Lord were full of the Holy Ghost like Stephen and Philip. There is a difference between receiving the Holy Ghost and being filled and full of the Holy Ghost. No one can be filled and full of the Holy Ghost unless he has already received the Holy Ghost. The apostles received the Holy Ghost when the Lord breathed on them. It was only on the day of Pentecost that they were filled and full of the Holy Ghost when they were baptized with the Holy Ghost in the room where they met.

So for Saul here, the way the disciples got saved and baptized in water and receiving of the Holy Ghost were not applicable to Saul as the time was now changing and moving on to the next phase of church building. It was recorded that Saul was baptized by Ananias after receiving his sight. So Saul did not receive the Holy Ghost after he was baptized in water like the rest of the Jewish disciples in Israel. It was not the same with the Samaritan converts as well where they had to wait for Jewish apostles to lay hands on them to receive the Holy Ghost after they were baptized with water. As far as Saul was concerned water baptism was an act of obedience like the rest of the converts in the past. It had no bearings on his salvation or conditions in which he would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Hence years later, he chided those who placed undue importance on the issue of water baptism.

Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. (1 Corinthians 1:13-17)

As for Saul being baptized by Ananias, it was just an act of submission to God’s will. When Saul was being dealt with by the Lord during the three days away from all human contacts, he had already made up his mind to surrender his life to the Lord. Ananias was just a servant appointed by the Lord to minister to Saul. The Lord could have called the apostle Peter to minister to Saul but He did not. So water baptism had no significant efficacy whether performed by one servant of the Lord or another. Saul did not despise Ananias even though he might be a relatively unknown disciple and he submitted himself to Ananias for the recovery of his sight with the laying on of hands and water baptism.

Acts 9:19: And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
Acts 9:20: And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

So Saul ended his solitary classroom learning about the finer points on the Law of Moses and Scriptures in the Old Testament with his eyes blinded. In the past when he could see with his fleshly eyes, he was blinded by religious zeal without knowledge. However when he was blinded by the bright light from the Lord, he was allowed to see spiritual truths kept away from him all those time taught by the best teachers in Jerusalem. Now with his physical sight restored, he was ready to perform God’s will. It was time for him to labour in the vineyard and the Lord’s harvest fields.

Being kept away for special revelation without food and water for three days, it was time for him to charge his body with fuel to get him going for the Lord. His soul and spirit were charged up ready to go for the Lord and now with his body tuned, he was to be ushered into the work of the Lord in the presence of his newfound brethren. So Saul joined himself with the disciples in Damascus. This man Saul, an Israelite in whom was no guile, preached Christ in the synagogues immediately to the Jews after his conversion. He openly declared that the Lord Jesus Christ was the Son of God. The Lord Jesus Christ was crucified by the Jews and their rulers because He had declared Himself to be the Son of God. The Jews could not understand and accept the fact that how a man on earth could be the Son of God even though the Lord did many miracles to confirm to them who He really was. Now Saul was taking up the matter and declaring this truth to the Jews.

Acts 9:21: But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?
Acts 9:22: But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

This about turn of the prosecutor Saul took many by surprised. The people knew who Saul was and what he did to the disciples of the Lord in Jerusalem. They were also aware that Saul was coming to Damascus to deal with the saints. How could this fearsome persecutor of those who followed the Lord Jesus become a preacher for Jesus? This must have been the main talking point for quite some time for those people in Damascus during that time. They could hardly believe that such a hardened man who persecuted and slaughtered the saints could turn around and become one of them. Saul however, proved he was worthy of his salt, confounded the Jews in Damascus proving that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah of Israel.

Acts 9:23: And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:
Acts 9:24: But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.
Acts 9:25: Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

The many days Saul abiding with the brethren in Damascus could be a few years. Saul was sent to prosecute the Jews and he had now turned traitor to the faith of the Pharisees. The Jews in Damascus counted on Saul to purge Damascus of those fanatics and apostates who had believed in Jesus of Nazareth in the Jewish community. To say they were disappointed with Saul and those in Jerusalem that sent him was an understatement. Eventually, the Jews in Damascus planned to kill Saul. Saul knew their plans to kill him and Saul’s enemies watched the gates day and night to ensure that they might eventually kill him.

In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands. (2 Corinthians 11:32&32)

It was so common where the secular power was dragged into religious dispute of the people. It was also the case for the Lord Jesus Christ. The Jews in Damascus wanted Saul dead but they managed to get the powers that be to do the dirty work for them. Religions and politics often operated together for mutual benefits. It was for the purpose of control and ruling over people and many times money was involved. The economic aspect of political and religious activities was another dimension that cannot be ignored in the persecution of believers of the Lord.

Saul was now having a taste of his own medicine dished out to the disciples of the Lord. The famous persecutor from Jerusalem had now turned persecuted. Notwithstanding, Saul escaped with the help of the disciples and went to his next mission field. This time he was going home to the place where he started off as the persecutor of the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 9:26: And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.

It was understandable that Saul was not accepted into the fellowship of the saints in Jerusalem. After all, he had persecuted them in the past, and there might be family members and friends in the midst who were victims of Saul’s slaughter as well. How could they so easily forget what happened to them when Saul wrecked havoc of the church in Jerusalem? The disciples were of course afraid of him and did not believe that Saul was a disciple of the Lord. Perhaps, Saul was sent by the Jewish authorities to spy on them.

Acts 9:27: But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
Acts 9:28: And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.
Acts 9:29: And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.

The Lord however, had prepared a good man in the church in Jerusalem. Barnabas, also known as the son of consolation for selling his properties and giving to the poorer brethren, had a very good reputation among the brethren. All that had happened to Saul was known to him and so he took Saul to the apostles and declared to them the conversion of Saul and his subsequent work for the Lord in Damascus. Thus Saul was able to associate himself with the believers in Jerusalem and he immediately began preaching Christ. His ministry got him into confrontation with the Grecians like Stephen in the past and his life was once again put into danger.

Acts 9:30: Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.
Acts 9:31: Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

Having escaped from Damascus, Saul found himself having to flee Jerusalem as well. The brethren hence sent him to Caesarea and onward to Tarsus, his hometown. The persecution arose from Stephen and then pursued aggressively by Saul who was the persecutor but now became the persecuted. The turmoil and upheaval of the believers of Jesus in Israel and the regions beyond finally had rest when this episode of Saul came to a close when he was sent packing back to his own home in Tarsus. So the churches in Israel had rest and believers edified and multiplied with much blessings from above. The believers were walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost reaching out to the many lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Acts 9:32: And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.
Acts 9:33: And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy.
Acts 9:34: And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.
Acts 9:35: And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.

Though the Lord had already started the program of bringing in sheep from Samaria and even some Gentiles into the church, Peter was still labouring only with the Jews in Israel. The role of church building for Peter was still ongoing in the coming days being a recipient of the keys to the kingdom. He opened the door for the Samaritans to enter the family and soon, Peter would be instrumental in bringing in the Gentiles into the fold.

Over here, the drama concerned another healing ministry of Peter performed for the salvation of the residents at Lydda. The candidate of this special healing concerned a bedridden man having been in such bondage for eight long years. Years ago when Peter healed one such man at the temple in Jerusalem, many turned to the Lord Jesus and even the religious authorities could do nothing to stop the conversions of those men as well as prevent Peter from healing and preaching in the name of Jesus. So the work in Jerusalem was now moving out to other regions during this time where signs and wonders were also performed to turned many to the Messiah of Israel.

Acts 9:36: Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.
Acts 9:37: And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.
Acts 9:38: And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.

While Peter was providentially sent to Lydda seemingly to heal just a bedridden man, the Lord was actually ordering his step with greater work and miracles to perform around there. The Lord was preparing him soon for his onward journey to open the door of the gospel to the Gentiles at large. Meanwhile, there was this faithful and devout woman of the Lord who had died. The reputation and the power Peter possessed was of course known to great and small, far and wide in Israel. Their faith in Peter’s power and capability was so great that even the death of this woman was a possible case of miracle if Peter would turn up and help.

During the earthly ministry of the Lord, the Lord did raise the dead. The was no record of the apostles or disciples of Christ raising the dead as yet. Notwithstanding, what the Lord told His disciples in the past must surely happen.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. (John 14:12)

Such was the reputation of Peter, the work that he did in Jerusalem and now that he had traveled northwest, was not a coincidence. He was providentially sent there and the people had hope in him to do something for this woman who had passed away not very far from Lydda. Had Peter not been in the vicinity, they would have buried this woman. So since Peter was there, it was worth a try or even to have Peter conduct the funeral for this godly woman.

Acts 9:39: Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.
Acts 9:40: But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
Acts 9:41: And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.
Acts 9:42: And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.
Acts 9:43: And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.

Peter being with the Lord during His earthly ministry was no stranger to healing the sick, casting out devils and including raising the dead. Nothing was impossible for the Lord and nothing was too challenging and difficult for this apostle as well. Unlike the modern day fake healers who chose their cases to respond to, Peter did not hesitate to go to the home of the dead woman. So he traveled with those people further west to the seaside city of Joppa.

This woman Dorcas, who was also a disciple, was no doubt not a hearer of the word of God only, but a doer of the word and full of good works for the glory of the Lord. Peter was no sorcerer or magician like Simon of Samaria. He simply prayed and asked of the Lord to honour his request for the sake of those present and for the conversion of lost souls. For the Lord had indeed promised His disciples that their prayers would certainly be answered.

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. (John 14:13&14)

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:7)

And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:23&24)

Thus many in Joppa believed on the Lord that day and the Lord was glorified through the request of the apostle Peter. So Peter tarried in Joppa until the Lord moved him onward to the next destination carrying with him the keys to unlock the gospel door to many souls the Lord had prepared for the Kingdom. Meanwhile Peter would have to abide with Simon, a tanner, in Joppa waiting upon the Lord for the next mission in the gospel work. With the conversion of Saul recorded in this chapter, the groundwork for the conversions of the Gentiles would just be a matter of time while Peter had to be dealt with concerning his attitude and prejudice towards the Gentiles were settled where the keys he possessed would be used to welcome the Gentiles into the church, to become part of the family of God.

Chapter 8 Chapter 10