Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. 37 In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Please come to us without delay.” 39 So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. 40 But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then, calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. 43 And he stayed in Joppa for many days with one Simon, a tanner. – Acts 9:36-43
I recall attending a concert at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Texas at which Itzhak Perlman performed. Perlman is a world renowned violinist; one whose presence and performance is unparalleled in the orchestral world. I remember saying to a total stranger that night, “I think this is the most famous person I have ever heard perform.” Itzhak Perlman was and is a true superstar. We paid a premium price for the tickets to that concert, and it was well worth it. He played beautifully.
You might list any number of people whom you would rate as highly-famous superstar types. In his day, Peter was one such a superstar – together with Dorcas, the woman who had died and who Peter raised to life. These people are larger than life to many people. Their impact was so profound that Peter was sought out at the time of Dorcas’ death.
In the end – after Peter restores her to life – the widows and saints are called together to rejoice in the work of God. It is remarkable to me that the effect of Peter’s healing, the impact of Dorcas’ death and restoration is sufficient for a special call out to these other two groups. When they come, we are told that many believed in the Lord.
Christians who are called to extraordinary works of mission, grace, healing, or service will seek to point people to God, not themselves. I’m sure that when Dorcas got up, she had her handiwork put away: “No more fuss for me,” would have been her commentary. “This is Jesus’ work. I do what I do for his glory.” Peter, too, would not wish to be the focus of anyone’s worship.
When people do great things and point others to God, it takes away the penchant toward envy. Widows (the least secure or strong in society) and saints (those most dedicated to Jesus) alike will be emboldened to look to Jesus and seek his favor. Perhaps they will even focus our hearts on God’s goodness and move us to dedicate ourselves more fully to God. For Jesus is the source of healing, hope, life, and salvation. Those who look to him rejoice in his goodness, grace, salvation, and eternal love shown to saints, widows, superstars and all who believe in Jesus.