Going about Doing Good
Upon seeing Jesus heal the sick, even the pagans of Tyre and Sidon had to say of him, “He has done all things well” (Mark 7:37). And when Peter preached the gospel at the house of Cornelius in Caesarea, speaking of Jesus whom God anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, he said that “he went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). These are accurate descriptions of our Lord. And they should be accurate descriptions of God’s people as well.
Leaving Saul and catching up with Peter, we find him journeying west to Lydda and then Joppa, going about doing good. In Lydda Peter visited the “saints,” which is the New Testament designation for “Christians” or “believers,” and while there, he “found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralyzed.” We are not told whether Aeneas was a believer or just a resident of Lydda. What might be of interest to some is the irony that “Aeneas” is the name of the hero of Virgil’s epic, Aeneid, the Trojan who escaped fallen Troy to travel westward throughout the Mediterranean until he finally arrived on the Italian peninsula founding a city that would be the precursor of Rome (written maybe twenty years before the birth of Christ). At any rate, the Aeneas lying before Peter is neither a world traveler nor a hero, but, like us, a pitiful man. But the apostle said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And so Aeneas did. Notice that Peter takes no glory but makes it clear who it is who does the healing – and it wasn’t Peter.
Peter then travels to Joppa at the request of “the disciples” upon the death of the beloved “Tabitha” or “Dorcas,” if you will. We are told that she was a saint “full of good works and acts of charity,” who made tunics and garments, presumably for those who needed them. What a testimony about this woman! Having sent everyone from the room, Peter kneels, prays, and tells Tabitha to arise. She does and he then presents her alive to the formerly grieving widows.
And so Peter (and Tabitha) went about doing good. And as a result, having heard of the miraculous healings of both Aeneas and Tabitha, we are told that many turned and believed in the Lord. And this is the whole purpose of doing good, whether it be miracles, raising the dead, or giving a cup of cold water to a thirsty child. But make sure that the receiver of your good deed knows that you have done so in Christ’s name; otherwise, they might give you the glory. Remember Peter’s words, “Jesus Christ heals you.”