The last time I read through the book of Acts, I paid particular attention to the miracles of the apostles. I was a bit surprised to note how often the apostles performed miracles, especially physical healing.
Three instances of miraculous healing really stand out to me. The first occurs in the first few verses of Acts 3. Peter heals a man who had been lame his entire life (we learn later in Acts 4:22 that the man was over 40 years old):
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Understandably, the onlookers were rather interested in how Peter had managed a trick like healing a 40-year-old malady, and Peter and John were happy to oblige by sharing the Gospel… which landed them in jail. They then used their time in front of the court to continue to share the Good News of Jesus.
The second instance of healing isn’t a story so much as it is a description of life in the early church. In Acts 5:12-16 we learn that the sick were brought to the apostles on the off chance that Peter’s shadow might cross over them and cause them to be 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. 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. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.
Lastly, we have Paul resurrecting a man from the dead in Acts 20:7-12. The man died because Paul talked him to sleep and he fell out of a window:
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.
In these and similar accounts of healing, Jesus and the apostles typically heal a physical malady and then share the Good News. While healing isn’t always accompanied by preaching, it is notable that it often is in these stories.
Do you have any favorite examples of healing in the Old or New Testament? Share them at the Bible Gateway page on Facebook!