In the beginning, the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached in Jerusalem, and as it was preached thousands came to believe the Gospel and followed the Way. Yet, this was not to be a local thing, and God forced the message out of the city and into the surrounding region by means of persecution, and many more came to hear and believe the message of salvation in Christ. When the right time came, Jesus personally met the instigator of this persecution, Saul of Tarsus, on the road to Damascus, where Saul intended to continue his persecution. As a result of this meeting, Saul believed, and turned to Christ, ending the persecution. This section gives us two very vivid examples of what was going on in the region where the Gospel was preached, examples that remind us of what happened when Jesus Himself took His message of the Kingdom of heaven to the people.
The first of these examples falls within Acts 9:32-38 and involves a man named Aeneas who had been paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. Peter found him and healed him by the authority of Jesus Christ, with the result that many more came to believe his message.
The second involved a woman named Tabitha who lived in a nearby community (9:39-43). She was widely known as a good and godly woman who served the needs of others in a way that endeared her to her community; sadly, she had fallen sick and died. Having heard that Peter was in the vicinity, messengers were dispatched to ask him to come at once, which he did. Upon his arrival, Peter found Tabitha laid out in a room full of mourners who told him about all the generous and kind things she had done in their midst.
Peter asked that the room be cleared and began to pray over Tabitha; she awoke, and Peter led her, very much alive, out to greet the others. Needless to say, the news of this was electric throughout the town…
During the ministry of Jesus, He took the message of the Kingdom to the common people, and wherever He went, the Kingdom was preached, the sick were made well, the lame were healed, sight was restored to the blind, and impure spirits were driven out. Jesus was the very embodiment of the Kingdom, and He prepared His disciples to take His place when their time came, and in our story, their time had indeed come; now, they were the embodiments of the Kingdom, and where they went, the results were the same as when Jesus had gone before them.
Yet as amazing as this was, God was only just in the beginning phases of executing His eternal plans, and as we will soon see, a whole new chapter was about to begin…