They were all cured

When it comes to healing in general, I find myself not too well versed in either ministering for healing or receiving healing.  So I feel for my friends who run from spiritual conferences to healing revivals in the hopes that some person of incredible ministry involving healing may pray for their loved ones who are slowly dying without any hope of surviving unless a miracle happens. The hope is real, the placement of the hope might have been misplaced.

So how does it work with Peter’s shadow?  Is that any different or what is the difference?

First of all, people are healed at these events and people were healed when Peter’s shadow fell on them.  Jesus healed by direct word, sometimes with no contact at all, and sometimes with the use of another physical material like His garment or mud.  All that seemed to be needed was faith from the one who had need and a person from which supernatural power of the Holy Spirit resided and then from time to time a physical representation like Peter’s shadow or Paul’s handkerchief and aprons.  Today, I believe we use oil as James instructs us along with the prayer of faith.

The difference expressed here in Acts was that Peter’s shadow was an expression of the Kingdom of God breaking into their world.  They knew they were surrounded by the glory of God and they hoped to be touched by the power of God, to be changed by it, saved by it and healed by it.  That faith gave witness to the fact that they were all cured.

Yet more than ever believers were added to the Lord, great numbers of both men and women,  so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on cots and mats, in order that Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he came by.  A great number of people would also gather from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all cured. – Acts 5:14-16

 

 

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Dwelling in hope

David, though a person of the Old Testament, was one who had a quiet, firm and full hope of the resurrection of the dead and of eternal life and glory.

Hope and confidence in God delivers a joy to the soul, a gladness that is found in speech and a quietness that comes from a body absorbed in peace.  To be destitute of the help of God can only result in sorrow and torment.  Trusting in God delivers us, and fills our hearts with joy – one that is promised, one that we can be full of, and one that cannot be taken away from us. It means that we fall under the protection of God – it is because of this that we are still anxious and tremble – for we still have sorrows, but in the midst of them we can rejoice for there are no troubles so great that can break the peace that God gives to us.  The promise of the resurrection goes one step further – the hope that is promised to the soul is also made to the body – so God protects them both.

That is what makes a Christian’s definition of hope – it is not a wish – it is a solid, concrete promise that is based on God’s Word.  

So Peter, noticed something in David’s writings too.  As David was expressing his own hope in God, it would seem that he expressed things that only the Holy Spirit could have expressed.  David saw things far into the future regarding the promised Messiah knowing somehow that he would still have the opportunity of experiencing something more in the future.

For David says concerning him, ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;  therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope.  For thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let thy Holy One see corruption.  Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou wilt make me full of gladness with thy presence.’ – Acts 2:25-28

Great is Your Faithfulness – Martin Smith

Save me!

I would also say to any unconverted person who is here, under conviction of sin, — Dear friend, if you are beginning to sink, yet still pray. If your sins stare you in the face, and threaten to drive you to despair, yet still draw near to God in prayer. Though it seems as if hell had opened its mouth to swallow you up, yet still cry unto God. “While there’s life, there is hope.”

“While the lamp holds out to burn
The vilest sinner may return;” —

and the vilest sinner who returns shall find that God is both able and willing to save him. Never believe that lie of Satan that prayer will not prevail with God. Only go as the publican did, smiting upon your breast, and crying, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” and rest assured that God is waiting to be gracious unto you. – Charles Spurgeon

Peter will only come out of the boat in the midst of the storm if Jesus says, “Come.” He is not trying to grandstand and go for the miracle, He is not making a show, but his hope stems from his impulsive love.  And in the same swift motion of love, when he falters and starts to sink, that same hope in Jesus makes him call out, “Save me.” 

It is too hard to explain why we go through the dark, distressing and even mysterious times of our walk with God.  I have seen people at complete wit’s end when plans and hopes are disappointed and the only conclusion is that God must be mad at me – but the call is still the same – “Save me.”

Hard to imagine what our world was like before Jesus invited us to “come.”  Those dark waves with nothing for us to hang on to, no bright hope to sustain us and life seeming to make more downward turns engulfing us in those movements.  How could we be satisfied for so long in living life without God, without Jesus and without hope? So thankful to have been able to cry out, “Save me!”

Thank you Lord for the hand that has reached down into the lives of so many that I read in the Bible, and the countless times You have reached down into mine.  You are my Saviour.  Thank you for making me holy and blameless and above reproach and for securing an everlasting hope for me.

Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” – Matthew 14:28-31

As followers of Jesus Christ

These are the questions that come to mind –

  • what does it look like to love impartially?
  • what does it look like to help others in need when there is no hope of them ever returning the favour?
  • what does it look like to love in moments when the cost of that love will never be repaid?

It is my hope that as followers of Jesus Christ we live higher – we live on a whole different plane than the rest of the world.  If not, what would set us apart or make us different?  We were called to come out and be separate and how is that possible if we do the same things everyone else is doing?  Therefore the challenge is given – if we love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, pray for those who spitefully use us – well then, we are standing out.  Most might think us mad, but at the end of the day they will recognize something they have always been searching for – love. Let’s not be just another social club – let’s give the love of Christ that we have received to those who have never heard and have yet to receive.

“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt.  Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again.  Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again.  But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven;  give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” – Luke 6:27-38

10 Signs of a Jesus Follower

1 Peter 1:3