Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon. (Acts 9:40b-43)
This miracle glorified God and changed many lives, including Peter’s. For fourteen years, Peter had been entrusted with converting Jews. (See Galatians 2.) He was raised as an Orthodox Jew and was taught Gentiles were unclean. Gentiles were called goyim with a tone of disdain.
Peter likely was one who took Paul to Caesura when the Hellenistic Jews tried to kill him. It could have been on his way back to Jerusalem that Peter stopped in Lydda and Joppa. They were mostly Gentile cities with Greek influence, so the Jews with Tabitha were Hellenistic. Tabitha is a Hebrew name, but she also went by her Greek name, Dorcas. No doubt there were also Gentiles in this Joppa group of disciples because Peter stayed with a tanner named Simon.
A Jew would never be a tanner. Skinning an animal was considered unclean. Only a short time ago Peter wouldn’t have stopped to say, “Hello,” to this man. God arranged for Peter to Joppa to meet Gentiles and know that his prejudice from childhood had no basis. Perhaps a Gentile widow who praised God when she had so little helped Peter to see they were good people. No doubt the tanner was a good Christian man; Peter stayed with him for some time.
Lord, I praise you for changing me. Thank you for placing me in situations where I will continue to grow and love more people. In Christ’s name, I pray, amen.