I’m preaching from Acts 9:36-43: the story about Peter raising Dorcas from the dead. I don’t think I’ve ever preached on that passage before, and I’m impressed by the lessons some of us other, ordinary disciples can learn from it. Here’s an excerpt:
When Peter was alone in that upper room with the cold, lifeless body of Dorcas he simply did what he had seen Jesus do. He wasn’t a faith healer; he was just full of faith in the One who once said to his disciples, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these” (John 14:12).
If we believed that, I think we would lay hands on more people and pray for them, and, to be fair, at our prayers for healing service we do. You’ve heard me say that it’s not a healing service. We can’t promise that. But we do promise to pray for healing and usually, when people come forward for prayer, we ministers listen to their requests and then put our hands on them and pray. Sometimes, at their request, we anoint them with oil. Why not? But if we really believed what Jesus said I think we would lay hands on people all the time, everywhere, and pray for them every chance we could. I think we would pat on them, and hug them, and shake their hands, and every time we did we might pray that God’s healing power would somehow flow through us to them. We’re not faith healers, but we could be full of faith in Jesus, we could believe that somehow he could use us—his disciples—to get his work done here on earth.
One of the people who seems to do that especially well is Suzii Paynter, the new Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. She’s going to be with us in worship today, and stick around for a brief reception afterward. I hope you will come, if you can, and meet her.
Another person who does that well is Mike Maruca, head of the Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School. I hear that he greets all 52 students at his school by name each morning, and if one of them is missing he goes to find him, just like a good shepherd. Mike is going to be with us in worship as well.
I hope that you can be with us, and if not in person then perhaps you could tune in to our live webcast at 8:30 or 11:00 a.m. by clicking HERE. Because it’s going to be a great day at First Baptist. We’re going to learn how Jesus can use us—his disciples—to get his work done here on earth.
See you in church!