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Bible Gemz 1532 - Where are Lydda, Joppa and Sharon? (Acts 9:32-43)

February 11, 2019

 

Meanwhile, Peter traveled from place to place, and he came down to visit the believers in the town of Lydda. 

There he met a man named Aeneas, who had been paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. 

Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up, and roll up your sleeping mat!" And he was healed instantly. 

Then the whole population of Lydda and Sharon saw Aeneas walking around, and they turned to the Lord. 

There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas). She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor. 

About this time she became ill and died. Her body was washed for burial and laid in an upstairs room. 

But the believers had heard that Peter was nearby at Lydda, so they sent two men to beg him, "Please come as soon as possible!" 

So Peter returned with them; and as soon as he arrived, they took him to the upstairs room. The room was filled with widows who were weeping and showing him the coats and other clothes Dorcas had made for them. 

But Peter asked them all to leave the room; then he knelt and prayed. Turning to the body he said, "Get up, Tabitha." And she opened her eyes! When she saw Peter, she sat up! 

He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then he called in the widows and all the believers, and he presented her to them alive. 

The news spread through the whole town, and many believed in the Lord. 

And Peter stayed a long time in Joppa, living with Simon, a tanner of hides. (Acts 9:32-43)

 

 

Since the last Gemz I have been asked if there was any significance to the order of the places in 9:31 – namely "The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria”. Yes it is a curious order, one which is not normal. Most likely the places are arranged in terms of the order of importance of those geographic areas. Samaria last of course as it was the least important, but Judea placed first followed by Galilee. Galilee was the second most important region after Judea which of course contained Jerusalem. 

 

While Paul was being saved and meeting with the disciples, Peter was out on a missionary journey, preaching and proclaiming the name of Christ. Here Christ is being used as a title for Messiah. It is interesting that the verb [dierchomai] could mean to pass through each place or to go from place to place. Here it is most likely to mean to go from place to place. It is often used in the NT for missionary activity. Peter was on a journey to share the Good News about Jesus the Messiah. These towns he went through, at least the two named, were Jewish towns but not exclusively. There were significant numbers of Gentiles there as well. Luke has been building the story towards the introduction to the Gentiles for a while. He is leading us gradually to the Cornelius story by way of: 

  • the people from many nations at Pentecost (Acts 2)

  • the Hellenists (Acts 6)

  • the Samaritans (Acts 8)

  • the Ethiopian (Acts 8)

Where is this action taking place?

 

Lydda

The New Testament town of Lydda was the ancient town of Lod, on the road to Jerusalem, about 11 miles Southeast of Jaffa. It is now a station on the Jaffa-Jerusalem Railway. It occupies a picturesque hollow in the plain of Sharon, and is surrounded by gardens and orchards, the beauty of which intensifies by contrast the squalor of the village. The town stood on the great caravan road between Babylon and Egypt, near its intersection with that from Joppa to Jerusalem in the East. Its position on these great arteries of commerce meant trade for the inhabitants. “The manufacture and repair of such requisites for the journey as sacks, saddles and strappings would create the skilled labor in cloth, leather, wood and metal that made the neighbourhood once the valley of craftsmen”  

 

Joppa

Is the equivalent of modern Yāfā or Jaffa and is built on a rocky mound 116 ft. high, at the edge of the sea. A reef of rocks runs parallel to the shore a short distance out. There is a gap in the reef through which the boats pass that meet the steamers calling here. In time of storm the passage is dangerous. On one of these rocks Perseus is said to have rescued the chained Andromeda from the dragon. Modern day Jaffa is a prosperous town, profiting much by the annual streams of pilgrims who pass through it on their way to visit the holy places in Palestine. In ancient times a good trade was done with Egypt, Syria and Constantinople. Soap, sesame, wheat and oranges are the chief exports nowadays. The famous gardens and orange groves of Jaffa form one of the main sights of interest. The Christians and the Muslims have rival traditions as to the site of the house of Simon the tanner. The remains of the house of Tabitha are also pointed out. the first railway in Palestine was built from Jaffa to Jerusalem. 

 

Sharon

Refers to the strip of fairly level land which runs between the mountains and the shore of the Mediterranean, stretching from Nahr Rubı̄n in the South to Mt. Carmel in the North. There are considerable rolling hills; but, compared with the mountains to the East, it is quite properly described as a plain. The coastal “plain" extends about for 48 kms from Joppa to Mount Carmel. The soil is a deep rich loam, which is favourable to the growth of cereals. The orange, the vine and the olive grow to great perfection. When the many-colored flowers are in bloom it is a scene of rare beauty. Water is plentiful as there are four rivers in the area, one of which is called the Sharon. Deep, finely built wells near some of the villages are among the most precious legacies left by the Crusaders. The breadth of the plain varies from 8 to 12 miles, being broadest in the Sharon. In ancient times, this area was given over to the pasturing of cattle. David's herds were fed in Sharon was Shitrai the Sharonite (1Chron 27:29). Jerome speaks of the fine cattle fed in the pastures of Sharon, and also sings the praises of its wine (Comm. on Isa 33 and 65). Toward the Sharon no doubt there was more cultivation then than there is at the present day. There is a German colony to the North of Jaffa, preserving the name of the region, Sārona, the old Greek name of the plain. Sharon is only mentioned in this passage in all of the New Testament yet it was the one most prominent of all three towns as the name of the region derived from the name of the river. 

 

 

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our goal is too high and we miss it, but it is too low and we reach out. Michaelangelo 

 

You should never look down on another person unless you are helping them up.

 

The greatest luxury of wealth is not the ability to BUY, it's the ability to GIVE! Rick Godwin

 

Either you’re a person who will be stopped, or you are a person who won’t be stopped. You choose. Henry David Thoreau

 

If you put a small value on yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price.

 

 

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