Acts 5: 12 – 21 The apostles heal many
The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared to 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. As a result, people brought those who were ill 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. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing those who were ill and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.
The apostles persecuted
Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. ‘Go, stand in the temple courts,’ he said, ‘and tell the people all about this new life.’
At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people.
* * *
Miracles were happening. It wasn’t just the sick from Jerusalem who were being healed; people were being brought in from the surrounding towns. People were so convinced by the healings that they brought the sick into the streets “so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.”
Even the high priest and his associates bear witness to the miraculous power being displayed, because they were “filled with jealousy.” If there had been no healing, there would have been no cause for jealousy. In this case, the jealousy was so great that the chief priests had the apostles arrested and put in the public jail.
But that didn’t stop the apostles. God sent an angel to open the jail doors and to bring them out. The angel gave them the instruction that they were to go and stand in the temple courts and tell the people all about this new life. First thing next day, there they were, in the temple courts teaching the people.
There are four things that stand out for me:
- There were many healings;
- The number of believers grew:
- God’s angel released the apostles from imprisonment;
- The angel instructed the apostles to tell the people “all about this new life” and the apostles obeyed.
The healings go hand in hand with the number of believers, and with the teaching of new life through Jesus. Furthermore, God was prepared to intervene with an obviously supernatural miracle when he sent his angel to release the apostles from jail.
Which brings me to some questions.
- Does miraculous healing in the name of Jesus take place today?
- Do we see growth in church numbers?
- Are there any credible reports of God intervening through angels in the present day?
- Are we telling people about new life in Jesus?
- If these things aren’t happening in my church, why not?
- What should I do about it?
- What is God’s will for his church today?
I don’t pretend to have reliable answers for any of these questions, but I certainly think we should be asking them, asking them of ourselves, asking them of each other and, above all, asking them of God in prayer.
Thank you that you have a plan and a vision for how you want your church to grow. Please guide my thoughts as to what you want me to do in your plan, and help me to be obedient.
In Jesus’ name, Amen