A daily devotion for May 15th
The Apostles Heal Many
12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.
The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. Acts 5:12-14
This sounds like the days of Jesus all over again, does it not? Here is a tremendous display of physical healing power at the hands of the apostles. The result was that multitudes were added to the church, increasing it far beyond the five thousand we had already noted before. Here is obvious evidence of the power of God at work.
But there are many people who are troubled by this account. They say,
What is wrong with the church now? Why don't we have signs and wonders and mighty events like these taking place? Many people, feeling that such signs are the mark of power, have tried to reproduce these signs and wonders, and the result has been certain of the healing movements of our day, with faith healers who travel about declaring that they are able to heal as the apostles did.
We must notice some things about this account that are carefully given to us by Dr. Luke. First, he says, these were done by the hands of the apostles. These were not done by all believers. They constitute what the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 calls
the signs of an apostle... (2 Corinthians 12:12). He said to these Corinthians,
You are questioning my apostleship. You're asking if I really am an apostle because I'm not one of the twelve. Well, let me ask you this. Have you not seen the signs of an apostle that I have done among you? These signs you see were specifically to accompany the ministry of the apostles to whom was assigned the task of laying the foundations of the church, of giving the Scriptures upon which the church must rest.
Not only were the Apostles to manifest the power of God in physical ways, but this physical manifestation was to be a symbol, a sign, of the spiritual power that God would release among the people. It is always a mistake to put emphasis upon a physical miracle. Physical miracles, although they attract attention, also confuse people so that ultimately they miss the point of what God is saying. God wants to heal the whole of man, the hurt in man's spirit most of all. That is where the problem really lies. Every person ever healed by the Lord Jesus, or by the disciples in the days of the early church, died. The physical healing was a temporary thing, with no exceptions: they all died. But when God heals the spirit, it is an eternal event. There is an inward change that is never lost. When God heals a man from the inside out, he makes him a whole person. It does not really matter what happens to the physical — at best it is only a temporary thing. The great thing that God is after is the healing of the hurt of humanity in its spiritual sickness, its evil, its darkness and its desperateness. That is always where he desires to start. I do not mean that God has stopped healing physically; he has not. But the deepest need of man is spiritual healing, not physical. That is what this passage is saying. And when spiritual healing happens, multitudes will be added to the church.
Father, thank you for your power to heal, not just in the physical realm but in the deeper realm of the heart.
Life Application: Are we trivializing God's healing at the deepest level of our souls by focusing primarily on physical healing? Do we trust His power to heal and His wisdom to choose both how and when?
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