Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Dorcas


Dorcas is the Greek name of a Christian woman who lived in Joppa. Her name in Aramaic was Tabitha, which means “gazelle.” The Greek word for “gazelle” is Dorcas.

“At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did.” (Acts 9:36, KJV)

Dorcas is thought to have had the means or the wherewithal to be a leading figure in the Christian community of her day. Dorcas was loved very much because of how she used her “wealth” and position. She did many good works and she performed many acts of “charity” or love.

Dorcas made clothing and gave them to the poor and needy. As a result of her generosity and industry many churches today continue her “work” in what are known as “Dorcas Societies.”

Dorcas, and her loving sacrificial service may have gone unnoticed beyond her generation accept for the fact that one day she took sick. As a matter of fact her sickness resulted in her death. She had been “washed” and “laid” out for viewing and mourning prior to her burial.

Some of her friends heard that the Apostle Peter was in Lydda. They probably had heard how Peter healed Aeneas. Peter was sent for and asked to come to Joppa. We don’t know why they sent for Peter or what they had actually expected him to do. We do know that two men traveled to Lydda and escorted Peter back to Joppa.

Upon arriving in Joppa and at the house of Dorcas, Peter was shown samples of the clothing that Dorcas made prior to her death. Peter saw many of the women who were present and mourning Dorcas’ death.

The inspired account tells us that Peter sent everyone out the room. He then knelt down and prayed. We are told that Peter turned to her body and said, “Tabitha, arise.” (Acts 9:40, NKJV) It is probable that Peter had grown up speaking both Aramaic and Greek. For reasons unknown to us he called Dorcas by her Aramaic name. Regardless, she “heard” his command to arise; she opened her eyes, looked at Peter, and then sat up.

Can we stop for a moment? I wonder what she thought. The Jews believed that the soul hovered over or around the body for approximately three (3) days after a person died. Scripture of course does not support this; the bible says, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” (II Corinthians 5:8, NKJV) A believer is translated immediately in the presence of the Lord (in heaven) upon his or her death. Other than a few exceptions no one returned from death. I wonder if Dorcas would have preferred to have remained in the presence of her Lord?

Regardless, of my curios speculation she was restored to life. As a result of this miracle, many people believed in the Lord.


Larri said...

Perhaps the LORD explained she was returning in order that others might come to faith. Maybe a glimpse of Him spurred her to do even more to disciple others. Great "D" post, Gregg! I'm really enjoying reading these. Happy Wednesday! ☺


A most enjoyable D post Gregg.
By the way I once had a cat call Tabitha or should I say Dorcas.


farawayeyes said...

Knowing about Dorcas as we do, she was probably overjoyed to 'come back' and continue in her good works.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post, you have taught me something today. I am a Christian and I follow Christ, but I'm afraid that my Biblical knowledge is limited. I don't know many of the characters of the Old Testament at all, and so I'm grateful to you for your explanation of Tabitha/Dorcas.

God bless you and your ministry.


Darlene said...

I had to stop by today because my mother's name is Dorcas. (She gets very annoyed when people spell her name "Dorcus"). When we were growing up, she always made all of our clothes. She has always been happy that she has a Bible name.

jean said...

Dorcas is one woman whom I would love to meet in heaven. I must confess, I cannot hold a candle to her. But, what a blessing for the people who knew her and for us, even today, to have such an example of how the Lord works His wonderful works in a person saved by grace.

Horst Peters said...

Great blog. Dorcas - I had forgotten about her. I'm reading the Bible cover to cover this year and have a ways to go until i reach the New Testament. Thanks for sharing.

Horst Peters

Sara Hill said...

I'm sure someone has counted the times in the Bible where someone is brought back to life. There's Dorcas, Lazarus, the son of the widow that Elisha raises. There's Jesus, of course. Any more?

Anonymous said...

Great series Gregg! I love it. Keep ;em coming.

ETowns said...

Great post! I too wonder why he called her by the name he did, and what that could mean to the gospel; or if she would have much rather stayed in the presence of the Lord. Great reading.

Petra said...

Wonderful story on so many levels. How come they didn't recount their near-death or real-death experiences? Or did they. Great D post! Blessings!

Anonymous said...

I remember Dorcas from Arthur Miller's The Crucible. I thought the name was interesting, and now I know its origins.

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

This is a great post. I love it.

It reminded me of a nursing home lady, very frail, with advanced dementia. I remembered I greeted her in the morning, before her breakfast... she asked for coffee, I served it for her. Then like a couple of hours later, I heard of an emergency... she had suddenly dropped unresponsive, her breathing was very shallow...then no pulse! Several of us rushed to her bedside, tearful, in shock. Within a minute or so, she opened her eyes...she was breathing again.

She is still with us. :-)


Betty Alark said...

You never know what's going to come your way to open your eyes!

Great read, Gregory!

Peace unto you!