Acts 9:36-43 Healing Leads To Salvation For Many.
Joppa was northwest of Lydda, on the coast of the Mediterranean sea (modern Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv, about 38 miles northwest of Jerusalem-NGSB, 1729). The Plain of Sharon extends north of Joppa. The important thing was that Peter was in the area, and friends of Tabitha held out hope that through Peter she might be brought back to life. Tabitha or Dorcas means Gazelle, but she stopped moving like one. She had many friends because she “was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did” (v. 36). They were clearly saddened by her death. They prepared her for burial, but some urged Peter to come to them in the hopes that they all might be shown mercy and receive her back from the dead (vv. 37-38).
When Peter arrived he could see the widows weeping, clutching the tunics and garments that Tabitha had made for them (v. 39). Peter followed the same practice as Jesus, of putting the people outside as he knelt down and prayed for Tabitha’s healing (v. 40 Cf. Mt. 9:25). When Tabitha arose Peter presented her to the people and many then “believed on the Lord” (v. 42). The fact that Peter stayed with a tanner anticipates the vision of many peoples, which Peter would later receive (10:9-23), since tanners were considered unclean because they dealt with dead bodies (Cf. Lev. 5:2). There was clearly a change from the previous ceremonial law, and this stay with Simon was a precursor for Peter.