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The last two people raised from the dead that we will study before moving on in our study of Hebrews 11 are Dorcas, who was raised by Peter, and Eutychus, who was raised by Paul. The accounts are found in the Book of Acts and it seems that the pattern here Biblically is that those with some importance in the Kingdom of God are the ones used to resurrect the dead. The fact is that the only people connected with resurrections of the dead throughout Scripture are Elijah, Elisha, Jesus, Peter, and Paul. Jesus of course as the Son of God raised people from the dead to glorify God and give evidence of His claims to be God in human flesh.
Elijah is introduced to us in 1 Kings 17. His name means “The Lord is God” and he was the preeminent Old Testament prophet. Among all the major and minor prophets it was Elijah who did not even see death. He was taken to heaven alive in a chariot of fire at the end of his ministry. When John the Baptist came on the scene he was proclaimed to be a prophet like Elijah and even believed by some to be Elijah returned from heaven.
Elisha, whose name means “My God is salvation”, first appears in 1 Kings 19 and was anointed by God to follow after Elijah and take up his ministry when Elijah was taken to heaven.
Peter was the preeminent disciple, Apostle to the Jews, always listed first in the list of disciples, a member of the inner circle of three disciples that were the closest to Jesus (Peter, James, and John). It was Peter who preached on the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit was given and the New Testament church birthed.
Paul was the last (and self-proclaimed least) of the apostles, chosen and appointed by Christ as the Apostle to the Gentiles. He wrote most of the New Testament and helped take the gospel and the church around the world. Now let us move on to these last two in our study who were raised from the dead.
Dorcas – Acts 9:40
Tabitha, also known as Dorcas, was a godly woman known for her good works and acts of charity. She is named as a follower of Jesus who believed in Him. In time, she became sick and died. The widows in the church, as part of their ministry to the Body of Christ, prepared her body for burial, washed it, and laid her in an upstairs room. These widows heard that Peter was in the region and so they sent for him. He came right away and when ushered into the room where her body was, and having been shown many of the cloths that she had made for other believers as a testimony to her love for the saints, Peter cleared the room.
He then knelt down to pray and then said to the body, “Tabitha, arise.” She opened her eyes, saw it was Peter, sat up and was then presented alive to the saints. News spread and many believed on Jesus because of this miracle.
Eutychus – Acts 20:7-12
In another report of a resurrection, Paul was in Troas and on Sunday he was preaching as the disciples came together to break bread. He was leaving the next day and as any preacher he had lots still to say. I do not think that there has been a preacher ever who preached every sermon burning in his heart before God took him home. It is a task that will never be finished. But as he preached through the night the hour passed midnight. A young man named Eutychus was sitting in the window of this upper room and as Paul went on Eutychus fell asleep.(It is comforting to know that even the Apostle Paul had people fall asleep while he preached).
However, when he fell asleep, he fell out of the window! He was three stories up, and when they ran to his body he was dead from the fall. Paul went down and fell on him, embracing him. He said that he was alive and as surely as he said it Eutychus was resurrected. He was alive, and so Paul went back up into the room, ate, broke bread, preached some more, and in the morning left on his journey. This resurrection gave great comfort to the disciples.
Both of these resurrections give evidence of the ministry of the Spirit through Peter and Paul. It also shows us that God is indeed the giver and taker of life. Here these two faithful servants of God were restored to life and service within the church for God’s purposes and glory.
Take hope. The same Jesus who raised these from the dead will also raise us up with Himself on the last day. We who have died with Him will live with Him, and nothing can take our life from us until He has appointed that we die and go to be with Him. Do not fear death. It is but one more thing that has been subjected to the rule of Christ through His own death and resurrection.