“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. . . And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.” (Acts 9:40-42, AV)
In 1987, we moved from a Chicago Illinois suburb to Savannah Georgia. The move came right around Christmas. Since it was a company move, we had a professional moving company pack up our goods onto a moving van and they took off for the South. We did not think about it, but along with all our other household goods, they packed our indoor plants. Well, we were kind of concerned about the plants being in the moving van during due to the cold Chicago weather, but the movers assured us that they would be fine.
When we arrived in our new home in Savannah and unpacked our goods, every one of the houseplants were dead down to the soil. So, we put the pots out on the front porch and kind of forgot about them. We knew the plants were dead, so we decided to wait until spring and take care of them at that time. A few weeks later, I went out on the front porch and noticed that the pot holding our formerly 4-foot-tall Rubber-Tree-Plant had a small shoot protruding from the soil. Sometime later the plant was back to life. We could not believe it, but it was true.
We have told the story about the Rubber-Tree-Plant that came back to life many times since then. Looking back at it, it still seems quite remarkable that the plant came back to life after nearly a month in sub-freezing temperatures.
When amazing things happen, the word gets around. In Peter’s encounter with Tabitha, something happened that struck everyone as being impossible. Tabitha, also called Dorcas, died and the Lord raised her back to life through the ministry of Peter. The Bible records nine such experiences of specific individuals in the Old and New Testament, and some others in a general way (Luke 7:22).
After the Lord raised up Tabitha, the Scripture tells us that the word of this miracle spread throughout all of the city of Joppa. Let us face it, when someone who was dead comes back to life will not remain a secret. The result of this miracle is that many in Joppa believed in the Lord. They understood that it was not Peter who raised up the woman, but it was the power of the Lord.
Today, we do not see this kind of miracle where a person who was dead is raised back to life. I have heard reports, but have never seen something like this. Of course, if God has chosen to raise up someone like this today, He most certainly has the infinite power to do so. Moreover, we know from the Scripture that there is a day coming when there will be a bodily resurrection (1 Thess 4:16).
Yet, there is a way where many are raised from death to life today. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses” (Colossians 2:13, ESV). All unbelievers are spiritually dead and when they come to true saving faith in Jesus Christ alone, they are raised to become spiritually alive. When this transformation occurs, people look on and are amazed and as a result, others believe also. One who is raised from death to life has a remarkable influence on others who are watching.