Tabitha’s works were held up as saintly, while she herself lay struck down as sinful. This is our agony at the death of a Christian. “All the widows stood… weeping… showing tunics and other clothing” she had made. For Tabitha had been “devoted to good works and acts of charity.” Her works, works that persisted after her death, are judged to be holy. But the judgment of her works is helpless against the judgment of her person: she is a sinner, and thus the prize of death and Satan. The works of Tabitha and the tears of the widows clamor that this should not be so.
But Peter “put all of them outside,” works and widows alike. Good, right, and holy though it is, the judgment of her works is silenced.
Peter kneels. The proud, boisterous, death-defying apostle of Luke’s Gospel kneels. He himself has been silenced, taught to await the Word. Then the Word renders its own free and sovereign judgment, a judgment not of the works but of the person. Speaking “to the body,” Peter says, “Tabitha, arise!” And, by sheer grace, we will have her back, works and all, forever.
Prayer: Lord, save us by your grace. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Gary Blobaum, Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, in Sumter, SC.