Acts 5:15, 16
So that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches…
Comparing apostolic miracles with those wrought by our Lord, it should be noticed that he showed power over nature by stilling storms, walking on waters, multiplying food, and withering trees; but the apostles' power was limited to various forms of bodily danger and disease. In each case the miracles illustrated the higher work of those who wrought them. Christ's miracles illustrated his Divine claims and mission as the revelation to men of the Father. Apostolic miracles illustrated their mission to preach Christ to men as the Healer of the soul's disease, Redeemer from sin's penalties, and Savior from sin. The question is often discussed whether the power of miraculous healing has been lost to the Church. Claim to such power has been made in every age, with more or less confidence, and such claims are made now. Singular and interesting instances of bodily healing in response to faith and prayer are narrated by sober witnesses; and it may be admitted that there are certain classes of diseases which can be affected and relieved by the strong will and faith of a fellow-creature. But it is difficult for us to recognize the properly miraculous character of such cures. We may consider -
I. HEALINGS ALONE. God has provided in nature sufficient and efficient healing agents for all man's diseases, lie has given to some among men healing skill, to be used in the service of others. No nobler ministry is entrusted to men than that of healing. A vast and almost overwhelming mass of human suffering calls for the healer's art. Though some forms of bodily disease are beyond human cure, few, if any, are out of the reach of relieving agencies. Apostolic healings materially differed from those of the ordinary doctor.
1. They were immediate.
2. They were without the use of medicinal agencies.
3. They were complete, without peril of any return of the disease.
4. They were wrought by spiritual power - and that not the apostles' own, only operating through them - reaching the very springs of vitality and giving new life. How such healings illustrate the Divine work in sin-sick souls may be fully shown.
II. HEALINGS WITH TEACHINGS. This was the special feature of the apostolic ministry. The end was not reached when a suffering man was cured; that was but the means to a further and higher end, even that soul-healing which comes by the reception of Christ the Savior, whom apostles taught. Illustrate how medical missions are made the agency for winning the attention of the heathen to the gospel message. Point out what are the particular points of spiritual teaching which gain effective illustration from bodily healings; e.g.:
1. The assertion of a necessary relation between sin and suffering. Suffering is no accident, no mere calamity; it is the divinely appointed fruitage and consequence of sin. It is designed to fix the character of sin, to give men conviction through feeling, vision, and sympathy, of the evil of sin. When more clearly understood, suffering is seen to be the corrective agency through which man may be delivered from sin.
2. The assertion of the Divine relation to suffering. God does not pass aside of the diseased or disabled; every day he is working gracious works in sick-rooms and hospitals. Of this his constant work Jesus gave full illustrations in his miracles, when he came to "show us the Father;" and of this apostles renewed the assurance when they healed, in Christ's Name, all the sick and suffering ones that were brought unto them.
3. The consequent assertion of the Divine relation to sin. God would not concern himself with the mere effects; we may be quite sure that he deals with the cause. The great Physician is concerned about our sin. lie would not that any of us should perish in our sins. And, therefore, when the apostles healed a sufferer they preached unto him Jesus, who is precisely this, "God saving men from their sins." - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.