By the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. They were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. (Act 5:12 WEB)
In the previous post, Jesus Healed People, we looked at record after record where Jesus ministered healing. A man born blind was healed, a woman with an issue of blood 18 years was healed, lepers were healed and more. Those he healed as he moved among the people. But others he healed from a distance simply by his word like the nobleman’s son, and the centurion’s servant.
We also looked at some of the Scriptures about the how of healings and some of the warnings about healing in Scripture. Some people won’t believe no matter how big the miracle. And there are lying signs and wonders done by false ministers. When you see something that even might be miraculous, look for the fruit. If there is more love, joy, peace, and other fruit of the spirit, that was from Yahweh. If the true word of God increases, that was from Yahweh. If there is strife, jealousy, envy, outbursts of anger, spiritual immorality, and other evil deeds, then Yahweh didn’t author that.
In T 1.7 Tradition in Original Christianity, Part 7, The Apostles Taught the Body of Christ Energized in the Spirit, we look at the workings and gifts of the Spirit in operation in the body of Christ. There we specifically look at gift ministries, like apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. And we look at the manifestations of the spirit; speaking in tongues, interpretation, prophecy, faith, gifts of healings, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits, and working of miracles. We see these gifts and manifestations in play here as the Apostles minister in these scripture records.
Here we will mainly focus on people being delivered, but there are the manifestations of gifts of healings here as well as discerning of spirits, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, faith, and working of miracles involved in these records. The apostles walked in the spirit with nine manifestations of the spirit being manifested regularly wherever they went.
Jesus often just spoke the miraculous into being. While doing that he received revelation as to what others were thinking and spoke to that. He spoke directly to devil spirits. Jesus personally didn’t anoint with oil, “lay on his hands”, or pray over people from the records we have, but he did sometimes tell people to do things like “stretch forth your hand”, and he did touch the leper, the coffin, and put mud made with his own spit over one man’s eyes.
Jesus trained his disciples, especially the apostles in his methods. Likewise, we have records of healings and miracles in the book of Acts which we are going to look at in this article.
Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: (Act 3:1-9 KJV)
Here we see the apostles Peter and John following in the Lord Jesus Christ’s footsteps. This is right after the day of Pentecost. They boldly go into the temple at the hour of prayer. There’s a man there lame since birth. Notice the man is expecting something, but it doesn’t say that he’s asking for healing. Peter says to the man to look at them. Then comes the famous line, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I the: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” Peter takes the man hand, and lifts them up. It says that immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength! Next here is a man whose feet and ankle bones were emaciated one minute and the next moment he’s walking and leaping!
The record says that Peter just spoke to the man. Boom! Next thing you know he’s delivered. Everyone’s excited. Everyone wants to know what’s going on. Peter then gives a sermon that this was done by the power given through the man that they had crucified.
Signs and wonders open doors to preach the word. The healing miracle was a launching pad to speak the word of God and lead men to the truth. This was a regular occurrence in the time of the apostles.
Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who testified to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. (Act 14:3 WEB)
All the multitude kept silence, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul reporting what signs and wonders God had done among the nations through them. (Act 15:12 WEB)
Just like the ministry of Jesus, the apostles’ ministry was amazingly powerful. Look at this.
They even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on cots and mattresses, so that as Peter came by, at the least his shadow might overshadow some of them. (Act 5:15 WEB)
The belief was so high that people flocked, and even then that shadow of Peter caused healing!
Here is a record of Peter healing a paralyzed man. He speaks the miraculous into happening.
As Peter went throughout all those parts, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, because he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed!” Immediately he arose. All who lived at Lydda and in Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord. (Act 9:32-35 WEB)
Here is a record of Paul healing a man, crippled from the womb, impotent in his feet. Next thing you know this man who had never walked was leaping up and walking!
At Lystra a certain man sat, impotent in his feet, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked. He was listening to Paul speaking, who, fastening eyes on him, and seeing that he had faith to be made whole, said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet!” He leaped up and walked. When the multitude saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voice, saying in the language of Lycaonia, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” (Act 14:8-11 WEB)
Being delivered from evil spirits is another form of healing. Paul, performed this healing, removing a spirit from a girl. Read it, and we’re going to look at some interesting facts.
As we were going to prayer, a certain girl having a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much gain by fortune telling. Following Paul and us, she cried out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us a way of salvation!” She was doing this for many days. But Paul, becoming greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” It came out that very hour. (Act 16:16-18 WEB)
One thing that’s interesting about this is that there’s no record of the girl asking for this spirit to be removed. The record cites the cause of this removal as the annoyance that had grown over many days while Paul was ministering. Evidently, Paul was led by the spirit to remove this impediment to his ministry, not that this girl asked for it! The result was that an impediment to the movement of God’s word was removed.
Here’s an interesting record.
A certain young man named Eutychus sat in the window, weighed down with deep sleep. As Paul spoke still longer, being weighed down by his sleep, he fell down from the third floor, and was taken up dead. Paul went down, and fell upon him, and embracing him said, “Don’t be troubled, for his life is in him.” When he had gone up, and had broken bread, and eaten, and had talked with them a long while, even until break of day, he departed. They brought the boy in alive, and were greatly comforted. (Act 20:9-12 WEB)
This record above does not appear to be as much a healing as it is a word of knowledge by revelation that the man would be okay. The man Eutychus, it says, fell and was “taken up dead”. Now it’s really not clear whether he was actually dead or just appeared dead. But Paul ministered, and the young man was seen the next day alive.
The next record is a little gross. Here’s a man with bad diarrhea and a fever. Paul healed him in the name of Jesus Christ.
Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us, and courteously entertained us for three days. The father of Publius lay sick of fever and dysentery. Paul entered in to him, prayed, and laying his hands on him, healed him. Then when this was done, the rest also who had diseases in the island came, and were cured. (Act 28:7-9 WEB)
This is one of the few accounts where it says that Paul both prayed and laid his hands on him. Of course, there are a number of records where laying on of hands was used to minister the Holy Spirit. From this, we get the practice of laying on of hands. But, notice that this was not the norm. Laying on of hands is not a prescribed ritual. If you can lay your hands on someone, you better have the holy spirit’s leading. You don’t want to lay your hands on someone without their permission. And you don’t want to lay your hands on someone and wind up in a fight with whatever spirit is in that person.
Just like Peter, Paul developed a reputation himself. The Scriptures call what happened God working special miracles! (Notice that both healings and exorcisms are called miracles in this verse.)
God worked special miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out. (Act 19:11-12 WEB)
Maybe not a special miracle, but an awesome one is next. Just as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead Peter raised Dorcas from the dead!
Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which when translated, means Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and acts of mercy which she did. In those days, she became sick, and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. As Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. Peter got up and went with them. When he had come, they brought him into the upper room. All the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter sent them all out, and knelt down and prayed. Turning to the body, he said, “Tabitha, get up!” She opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand, and raised her up. Calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. (Act 9:36-42 WEB)
Every situation appears unique. In this case, Peter, led by the spirit, put the people out of the room. He knelt down and prayed. Then he spoke the miraculous into being, “Tabitha, get up!”. Peter didn’t pray before every miracle. Peter didn’t do anything the times when people were delivered just by his shadow. But in this case, he knelt down and prayed, then he spoke the miraculous into being.
Wow, we see the apostles doing what they were trained to do by our Lord! They are delivering people.
In another record, we see the place where they are gathered is shaken!
When they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were gathered together. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. (Act 4:31 WEB)
We have been mainly talking about the healings done by the apostles, but there were other miracles too. Look at this.
The same night when Herod was about to bring him out, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains. Guards in front of the door kept the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side, and woke him up, saying, “Stand up quickly!” His chains fell off from his hands. The angel said to him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” He did so. He said to him, “Put on your cloak, and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He didn’t know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened to them by itself. They went out, and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. When Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I truly know that the Lord has sent out his angel and delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from everything the Jewish people were expecting.” (Act 12:6-11 WEB)
That is so amazing! I can see the headline, ANGEL BREAKS APOSTLE OUT OF PRISON! Peter must have been in shock because at the end of the story we read “when Peter came to himself”!
Here is a very interesting record of deliverance concerning Paul.
But some Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there, and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul, and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But as the disciples stood around him, he rose up, and entered into the city. On the next day he went out with Barnabas to Derbe. (Act 14:19-20 WEB)
Now, this record does not spell out everything that happened. But we can learn a little bit more from the context so let’s read a few more verses.
When they had preached the Good News to that city, and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that through many afflictions we must enter into God’s Kingdom. When they had appointed elders for them in every assembly, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they had believed. (Act 14:21-23 WEB)
Prayer and Ministry Go Hand in Hand
In this verse, we see the term “prayed with fasting”. Just about every chapter in the book of Acts shows someone praying for something. It does not say so, but I would be willing to bet that people were praying in that group that was standing around him as well as believing for him to be delivered. However, it is noticeable that for many of these events, the apostle didn’t have to stop and pray first, Peter with Dorcas being one exception. However, we know that regular prayer was a staple in the disciple’s lives, and apostles are some of the best disciples.
If you are praying all the time, then you don’t need to stop to pray when every little thing happens. Appointing elders is certainly a time that calls for prayer. And it says in Acts 14 that they not only prayed, but they prayed with fasting when they had appointed elders in every assembly.
One of the first things that we read about the disciples way back in chapter one of Acts is that they prayed.
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. When they had come in, they went up into the upper room, where they were staying; that is Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord continued steadfastly in prayer and supplication, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. (Act 1:12-14 WEB)
When Jesus told the disciples to wait for the promise of the Father, they spent time in the upper room praying. The book of Acts tells us that this was part of the routine, prayer time. Throughout Acts, we see records of prayer.
They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and prayer. (Act 2:42 WEB)
Peter and John were going up into the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. (Act 3:1 WEB)
Prayer is part of the recipe for manifesting the power of God. Prayer goes hand in hand with the ministry of the Word.
But we will continue steadfastly in prayer and in the ministry of the word. (Act 6:4 WEB)
And, even during their travels, we see disciples going off by themselves to pray.
Now on the next day as they were on their journey, and got close to the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray at about noon. (Act 10:9 WEB)
As we were going to prayer… (Act 16:16a WEB)
They prayed in all kinds of places, even prisons, sometimes with miraculous results.
But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were loosened. (Act 16:25-26 WEB)
Now there’s a miracle that happened right after prayer. The whole prison quaked as its foundations were shaken, the doors opened and everyone’s bonds fell off. The result was that the Philippian jailer and his household were converted to Christianity.
Here’s prayer on the beach.
When those days were over, we departed and went on our journey. They all, with wives and children, brought us on our way until we were out of the city. Kneeling down on the beach, we prayed. (Act 21:5 WEB)
Paul teaches us to pray “without ceasing”. The Christian life is a life of prayer.
Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you. (1Th 5:17-18 WEB)
Now, of course, that doesn’t mean that every moment of every day we are on our knees like Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. But, consider this, prayer in its most basic form is just talking to God. Yahweh is ever-present. His presence is joyful.
You will show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy. In your right hand there are pleasures forever more. (Psa 16:11 WEB)
Even when we’re working in the shop, studying at school, teaching a class, making dinner, or talking to the cashier at the store Yahweh is present. In our minds, even with other people, we can talk with God in between the sentences of talking with other people. Remember to always be listening to the still small voice of the Lord (1 Kings 19:12-13). That is being continuously prayerful.
That changes prayer from just this little section of time in the morning or some other time to a continuous process throughout the day. And, remember, speaking in tongues is the prayer that speaks mysteries to God (1 Cor 14:2) and builds up our spirit (1 Cor 14:4). We pray both with our spirit (speaking in tongues) and with our understanding (1 Corinthians 14:14-15).
Prayer precedes miracles. Alas, not all miracles are peaches and cream. Some are sad.
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira, his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land? While you kept it, didn’t it remain your own? After it was sold, wasn’t it in your power? How is it that you have conceived this thing in your heart? You haven’t lied to men, but to God.” Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and died. Great fear came on all who heard these things. The young men arose and wrapped him up, and they carried him out and buried him. About three hours later, his wife, not knowing what had happened, came in. Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” She said, “Yes, for so much.” But Peter asked her, “How is it that you have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” She fell down immediately at his feet, and died. The young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her by her husband. Great fear came on the whole assembly, and on all who heard these things. (Act 5:1-11 WEB)
This is such a sad story. It’s tragic. And, of course, it’s not the rule, rather it’s an exception. Most miracles heal people, curing them of disabilities or diseases, or ridding them of evil spirits. Remember, we judge the source of miracles by the fruit. The fruit of this miraculous event was that great fear came on the whole assembly and on all who heard these things. There are so many great things that happen with the miraculous power of God. But God is sovereign, he’s in charge. And this sad story reminds us that He’s not fooled. There are a lot of wonderful people in churches, but there are people in churches who lie, cheat, steal, and do all kinds of things. There is nothing in the story that says Ananias and Sapphire were believers. This story is a warning to them that sometimes God’s protection is removed from people. He just doesn’t put up with everything all the time from anyone who wants to see what they can get away with. So, it’s a morality story. Don’t lie to God.
Another tragic manifestation of the power of God is the death of Herod in Acts chapter 12.
Now Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. They came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus, the king’s personal aide, their friend, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. On an appointed day, Herod dressed himself in royal clothing, sat on the throne, and gave a speech to them. The people shouted, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he didn’t give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died. But the word of God grew and multiplied. (Act 12:20-24 WEB)
Apparently, Herod was allowed to continue in power up until a certain point. But he didn’t give God the glory, and the people were calling him a God. Not all of God’s judgment is reserved for the final judgment. Yahweh exercised some of his sovereign judgment on Herod. Herod “was eaten by worms” is what the record says.
You can actually find medical explanations for what this means as this is documented in historical records. An NIH article gives the name of a possible parasite.
Again, whether something is of God or not is determined by the fruit. What was the fruit in this case? The fruit was that the word of God grew and multiplied. As tragic as it was this was a miraculous display of power.
Paul’s conversion is a miraculous display of power (Acts 9:1-18). Paul, then called Saul, was a mean man against the Lord. He went into people’s houses that professed Christ, dragged them out, and brought them bound to Jerusalem. But, on the way to Damascus, “suddenly a light from the sky shone around him. He fell on the earth, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He said, “Who are you, Lord?” The Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise up, and enter into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the sound, but seeing no one. Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened, he saw no one. They led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. He was without sight for three days, and neither ate nor drank.”
Okay, there’s the first miracle, there was this great light that blinded Saul, but no one else could see. There was the voice saying, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, and telling them what to do. He was blind.
And, there’s a miraculous conclusion to the story. In Damascus was Ananias, whom the Lord told in a vision to go to Straight Street and minister to Saul of Tarsus. But Ananias already knew about Saul of Tarsus and reminded the Lord of all the evil that he had done in Jerusalem. But the Lord reassured Ananias that Saul was a chosen vessel to bear his name before nations and kings and the children of Israel, whom the Lord has already shown the great things he must endure for the Lord’s sake. Ananias went to the house where Saul was. He laid his hands on him and told him that he was sent to restore his sight and help them be filled with the Holy Spirit. And when he did;
Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he received his sight. He arose and was baptized. (Act 9: 18 WEB)
Talk about a powerful introduction to the Lord! Saul was a heavy hitter for the other side. But the Lord had other plans, and he used this phenomenal sequence of miracles to start the process of turning Saul into the great apostle
We have just looked at a number of healings and miracles in the Book of Acts. We saw the apostles speaking the miraculous into being. We did see some laying on of hands, and a lot of prayer. But we did not see any anointing of oil, the matter of which we will discuss in another article.
Remember, Jesus said that the things that he did we shall be able to do also
Most certainly I tell you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and he will do greater works than these, because I am going to my Father. (Joh 14:12 WEB)
The things that we have just read about, with all the power and miraculous events is the church to which you and I are called.
It certainly requires God’s gifts to be able to see those things. But as it says in First Corinthians, “covet earnestly the best gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31). Let’s look at that briefly.
God has set some in the assembly: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, and various kinds of languages. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all miracle workers? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with various languages? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. (1Co 12:28-31a WEB)
All of the roles talked about in the sections are gifts. Apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle workers, healers, helps, governments, and people who speak in tongues are all gifts to the body! And they’re just some of the ones available. I want them in my life.
Pray with me for Yahweh to send and God’s people to receive true apostles, true prophets, godly pastors, evangelists, teachers, healers, and whatever other gifts are needed to help the body of Christ run better, “for the perfecting of the saints, to the work of serving, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we may no longer be children, tossed back and forth and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, Christ; from whom all the body, being fitted and knit together through that which every joint supplies, according to the working in measure of each individual part, makes the body increase to the building up of itself in love” (Eph 4:12-16) , and, that the true, rightly divided word of God may grow and multiply around us and throughout the world in the name of Jesus Christ.
Spread the word.
 About the death of Herod the Great, NIH, National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12879820/#:~:text=A%20medical%20explanation%20for%20his,in%20the%20words%20of%20Josephus. says that this was possible “parasitism caused by Schistosoma haematobium.”