Acts 5:15 - 16
ESV - 15 So that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
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The early days of the church were a time of phenomenal growth and apostolic miracles. In Acts 5:15-16 we read, "People brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at le...
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It may also be interesting to note here the story of the woman (mentioned in all the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke),who had been bleeding for 12 years and was healed just by touching Jesus' garment. It was not so much the garment itself that cured her but her faith, that just by coming into contact with anyrhing connected to Jesus she would be healed.
[Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them] Note how this is connected with the great increase of church membership. The more there are together who will believe God the greater will be the atmosphere of faith created and the easier it will be for others to experience answers to prayer. Believing rose to such heights that the multitudes had faith even in the shadow of Peter and their faith was met by God -- they were healed every one (Acts 5:16;). [shadow of Peter] The miracles and fame of the apostles appear to have become equal to that of Christ and so John 14:12 (KJV) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. Was fulfilled for the first time. There was no healing virtue in a shadow but there always is in unwavering faith in God. The facts of the gospel were fully known and God was Himself confirming the truth with signs following (Mk. 16:17-20; Heb. 2).
The shadow that was with Peter and heal the sick was the spirit of God that was when the spirit felled on people now it lives within us.
The simple answer is the Holy Spirit of God. He is the source of all God's healing power and he uses willing vessels like Peter to administer healing. It is important to note that the ministry of healing is always connected to the gospel message. Sometimes the healing is in response to the proclamation of the gospel. Many people heard the gospel message from Peter. Then the Holy Spirit poured our healing mercy for every person that Peter ministered to. The Spirit was affirming the truth of the gospel with signs and wonders, just as Jesus foretold would happen and the disciples had prayed for. Sometimes the healing comes first. The sick are laid on the street. Peter prays for some of them who are healed. The people expect their loved ones could be healed just by Peter's shadow falling on them. This level of expectancy opens people's minds and hearts to hear, understand and accept the gospel message. As we read in the Acts 5 scripture, many people believed the gospel and were added to the church (obviously they followed Peter around and heard the gospel message from him). There are two essential ingredients for a divine healing ministry like we see displayed through Peter. These are "faith" and "prayer". Both need to be present for many people to be healed. When Jesus came to Nazareth, he performed very few miracles, because of their lack of faith. Peter had faith in the power of God and believed in his apostleship to preach the gospel. He also prayed for people who were sick. Prayer usually follows faith. The people who brought their sick friends and relatives out into the street demonstrated both prayer and faith. Their act of bringing their loved ones out was a demonstrated prayer request. Their belief that even Peter's shadow could heal demonstrated their faith. If Peter had not been faithfully proclaiming the gospel, I think it is unlikely he would have had an effective healing ministry. Jesus is the Son of God and saviour of the world. He is waiting for each of us to understand our spiritual condition and invite him to become our personal saviour. Once we do that, any kind of healing is possible and even expected. Our belief in Jesus is what transforms our lives, including miraculous healing and other forms of God's grace poured out upon us, because of God's love for us. Shadows, holy objects, sacred relics, etc, have no divine power to heal. When we put faith in such things and pray to them, we have made them into idols which is offensive to God. It is faithful prayer, in Jesus' name, that brings the power of the Holy Spirit into each and every need of a Christian's life - including divine miraculous healing.
Maybe God loves to use His own word to continually remind us of His good story of restoration and redemption, and our calling to join Him in it. The author may have been pointing his Jewish readers back then who likely knew their OT text, (as well as us modern readers now) back to His word through Isaiah 32:1-3. The King was now reigning and the "princes or rulers" (His followers as the royal priesthood Peter himself mentions in 1 Peter 2:9, which itself may harken us back to Exodus 19:6) were now called to "rule" in justice by bringing shelter, and a drink of water, and "shade" to a weary land. A weary land that had been under the "stormy" Roman empirical rule for many years. Peter's shadow, shade of a great rock.....pretty interesting connection there, as Peter's name was basically "Rocky". If Acts was written 20-30 years after Pentecost and this story of the early church, perhaps it would have been a great encouragement to believers to pick up the mantle of the royal priesthood spoken of in Exodus and 1 Peter, to be shelter, and a drink of water and shade, to be Jesus' disciples and partner with Him in the bringing of the kingdom.
Peter’s shadow healing is like Paul’s handkerchiefs healing others (Ac 19:12) and the hem of Jesus’ garment doing the same (“the fringe of his cloak”) in Mt 9:20 and Luke 8:46 (parallel passage). I’ve always believed that God used Peter’s shadow to heal others though the text does not say one way or the other. I don’t believe that any of these material objects had magical qualities, but the least article or shadow represented a direct means of contact with Jesus or his apostles.
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