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  • Writer's picturePatricia

Dorcas, The Generous Disciple

Updated: Jul 13, 2022

Word of the Day: Disciple

One who believes and helps the teachings of a master. One of the companions of Christ.

Dorcas was the only woman in the Bible called a disciple by Luke in the Book of Acts. Dorcas is a Greek name, Tabitha is the Jewish translation, and her name means gazelle. Dorcas was from Joppa, now known as Jaffa, a seaport city that served as the harbor for Jerusalem and Judea before the time of Christ. This city was situated thirty-five miles northwest of Jerusalem.

Dorcas was a Jewish lady who lived among the Greeks and spoke their language. She was known to be a lady who was deeply into charitable works. She carried the talent of stitching beautiful garments and distributed them generously to the widows and the orphans, and this is why Luke refers to her as a woman full of good works, which means that she was genuine in her love towards the needy ones.

Acts 9:36

Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.

There was a time when she was ill and died; according to the custom, her body was washed and exposed for three days before the burial. Her grieving friends had prepared her body.

Acts 9:37

And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.

It was too late to call a doctor as she had already passed away, but it was not too late to call an apostle. Two men went to get Peter and implore him to arrive soon. Although the Bible does not mention anyone in her family, we can see that she had people who surrounded her and loved her. The widows mourned her death and wore the garments Dorcas had made for them.

Acts 9:38-39

And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.

39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.

Once Peter arrived, he told everyone to leave the room; he kneeled, prayed, and told Tabitha to arise. Peter spoke with the authority he could only get from God. Once he said Tabitha arise, she opened her eyes and sat up. A few minutes later, she was presented alive to the saints and the widows; they must have had a feast to celebrate her resurrection. The seacoast City of Joppa was no longer the same. After this miracle, many came to know Jesus as their Saviour.

Acts 9:40-42

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.

41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.

42 And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.

Conclusion: The story of Dorcas consists of only seven verses from the Book of Acts chapter 9, which means that it is very short, but she was famous in her town for her good works; and because of her excellent reputation and love for the Lord. Many people came to know Him after Peter performed this miracle.

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