Fourth Sunday of Easter: The substituted Old Testament Passage – The Word spreads and believe grows

Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.” (Acts 9:36-43)

The book of Acts, beloved reader, at times functions as a listing of signs and wonders establishing the founding of the early Christian church, and what brought many to faith. Even today, when something amazing happens people flock around eager for the details and ready to believe. It is not just issues of faith that spread like this; stories of lotions and medications that heal fly around the internet, newspapers, magazines . . . and people believe it whole sale!

Now, you ask, did I just compare the spreading of the gospel and the good news of Jesus Christ to spreading of stories on the internet?! Well, yes, I guess maybe I did. Am I saying the good news of Jesus Christ and the gospel nothing more than an infomercial, you ask?! No, not exactly . . . . but would that be such a bad thing? I may have to think about that.

We may call the bible “The Holy Book” and say it was divinely (or Divinely) inspired. It is filled with the stories of ordinary people coming to faith, or fleeing from faith, and some being dragged back to faith (I could go on, but I hope you are getting my point). The bible was never meant to be placed on a pedestal and never be consulted or used except for special and specific occasions. It is an instruction book for daily life. Which is why I am bothered a bit about people coming to faith simply because of the miracles they hear that are associated with some people’s faith story. The story of Tabitha/Dorcas is a good example.

Did those people come to faith simply because someone was raised from the dead? Or did they hear about the good woman that Tabitha/Dorcas was and came to faith because of her example? Infomercials are notorious for having slightly exaggerated information designed specifically to draw one in so they will believe and buy. The Christian faith should not be like that, because (trust me on this one beloved reader) one’s faith does not necessarily produce miracles that get one out of difficult situations. And a faith based on the telling of miracles may not survive a testing from persecution and suffering.

It is no secret that for many in our modern world life is tough. And faith can help one get through. The true miracle of faith is that we get through difficult situations in life WITHOUT miracles! Something to consider as Easter gets further away. Shalom!

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About Carole Boshart

I have two blogs on WordPress. "A Simple Desire" which is based on the daily "Sips of Scripture" published and sent out by Third Way Cafe. "Pondering From the Pacific" is based on my reflections on the world - sometimes religious/spiritual, and sometimes not so much.

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