Acts 9:32-42 – Peter Raises Dorcas from Death


Acts 9:32-42


Peter goes to Lydda where he heals Aeneas, a man who had been paralyzed for eight years, and then to Joppa where he raises Dorcas from the dead.


This passage marks the first time in Luke-Acts that anyone other than Jesus raises another human being from death. The passage dramatically reinforces the point that God’s power to save is granted to Jesus’ followers by Jesus through the Spirit. It also establishes Peter as the most trustworthy leader in the community. In scenes to come, Peter will make the critical first move to include Gentiles as full partners  in the Christ-believing baptized community that eats and prays together. 

This story is also notable for its portrait of Tabitha (Aramaic)/Dorcas (Greek). She is explicitly identified as a “disciple” and especially esteemed for her “good works and acts of charity,” not least on behalf of needy widows. She also appears to be a valued leader among the believers in Joppa, perhaps the head of the “house church” there.