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In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. Acts 9.36

Here is proof that there were female disciples from the very start of the Church. Not only was Tabitha/ Dorcas a disciple in name, her activities suggest she may also have occupied the role of deacon. Additionally, so effective was she in that role that those benefitting from her ministry could not bear her untimely death. Fresh from his rehabilitation by Jesus and imbued with the power of the Holy Spirit following Pentecost, the apostle Peter did the necessary and restored her to life. In so doing Peter was fulfilling Jesus' promise that those who believed in him would exceed his wonder working (John 14.12).

But let's not get distracted from Tabitha! Luke takes the trouble to translate her name (Dorcas means "gazelle") as if it adds significance to her track record, the implication being that she bounded around with the same graceful energy as the animal whose name she bore. And her handiwork is mentioned as being displayed to Peter, no doubt as evidence of her usefulness to people and faithfulness to God. Like Peter, faith has transformed this person and her legacy testifies to the impact their willingness to serve purely for the glory of God can have, both on those in the immediate vicinity and on the rest of us eternally!



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