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Bible Study Guide for Sunday, May 8, 2022

May 8, 2022
  • Acts 9:36-43
  • Psalm 23
  • Revelation 7:9-17
  • John 10:22-30

Today’s readings are on the theme of Good Shepherd Sunday, which comes around each year during Eastertide when Psalm 23 is read. The one reading that doesn’t quite match this theme on first glance is the one from Acts. This selection tells the story of a raising from the dead that is about as straightforward as it gets. A faithful Christian grows ill and dies; her friends call over Peter from a nearby town; alone with the temporarily-dead body, he prays, then instructs her to get up; she opens her eyes and does so.

What struck me about this resurrection story was how uncomplicated it is. The person who dies is a member of the faith community, unlike in the healings of the centurion’s servant in Matthew 8 and Luke 7 or the royal official’s son in John 4. There is no problematic delay between her death and the arrival of help, as there was with the raising of Lazarus. Peter doesn’t have to pray for hours or lay on hands to wake Tabitha from her sleep. Up she gets and her friends rejoice.

Tabitha’s friends were going through the rituals of grief, but those who called Peter there must have had the hope of resurrection on their minds; although they don’t say it in so many words, there is no mention in the text of merely inviting him there to attend the funeral. It seems they already had faith that he would be able to bring back their friend from the dead. Theirs is a quiet and complete trust, the simplicity that Jesus describes in the reading from John: “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.”

In Acts, the faith of Tabitha and her community brings her back to the life of this world. Jesus promises something even bigger and stranger: eternal life, the kind of life that will never die. Though we must face the finality of death in our own lives and the lives of those we love, Jesus’s promise is that this is not truly the end. He is the Good Shepherd and nothing can take us from the protection of His hand.

- Lindy Noecker


  • What would you say is blocking you the most from a simpler and more straightforward faith?
  • Death and loss can draw some people closer to their faith, or it can cause alienation for others. What has been your experience with death and your faith? An increase, a decrease, or something else?
  • How does the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd resonate with you?


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