Acts 5: 12-20

Written by kathleen on Feb 08, 2015 in - No Comments

Acts 5: 12-20

Falling Shadows

12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.

The fact that God’s people are together all with one accord is a greater display of the power of the Holy Spirit than any particular sign or wonder.

Solomon’s Porch: The second temple was a massive compound, with extensive colonnades and covered areas.  It was a large public area.. Therefore the early Christians gathered together in a particular area of the temple complex, an area open to all.

13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. 14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,

The community of Christians had a outstanding reputation for integrity, and everybody knew it was a serious thing to be a follower of Jesus so they held the early church in high esteem, but they didn’t rush to join. After hearing about the penalty for Ananias’ lie, can you blame them? The Ananias and Sapphira incident would definitely cut down on casual commitment! (the really believed God and how he wanted them to live)

Yet, the church kept growing; even when people knew it was a serious thing to be a Christian, the Spirit of God kept moving with power.

Although the church was no longer the “in” place to hang out for anyone and everyone, those who had truly been touched by the Lord said, “This is where I need to be: in the place of power and purity.

Even if it’s painful, even if it hurts and even if I’m uncomfortable from time to time, this is where I’ll stay.”

We are seeing here how intimately purity and power are linked together. Many times, we sing, “More love, more power…” when in reality our need is less sin and less carnality.

A wise and loving God, knows the results of the misuse of power and will not give it to those who are not pure.

15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. 16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

People were so convinced of the reality and power of what the Christians believed, they thought they could be healed by the mere touch of Peter’s shadow. So there was this anticipation, and expectation, causing the releasing of faith as the shadow of Peter would fall on the people as they took action based on this belief. We don’t know for certain if people were actually healed by this but assuming people were healed by the shadow of Peter.

The people well understood when Peter said that Jesus heals, even if He is doing His healing work through His apostles. The shadow then became a point of contact where people would release faith in Jesus as healer.

There is a principal of faith that needs many times to be activated.  I know that we all have faith. But so often our faith is quite and passive rather than active. James 5:13

The difference between passive faith and active faith is passive faith says I believe God can do it and that God might do it some day.

Active faith is that I believe that God is going to do it now!

What happens is many times we need something to more or less trigger our faith so to speak.

For example the Lord commanded us to anoint with oil and to lay hands on the sick.

Not that there is any healing virtue by laying your hands on the person or any transference of healing power.  It’s not like I’ve got “the healing hands”.

But, as you anoint with oil, as you lay hands on someone, it gives them a point of releasing their faith.

So as hands are laid on them, they look to the lord in faith; that action then begins activating the faith of that individual to receive the promise of God.  It’s no longer God is going to do it someday. But rather God is going to do it now as they lay hands on me.

It may sound crazy that someone could be healed by the touch of a shadow, anointing with oil or even a prayer but we know one was healed by the touch of a garment, when the woman touched the hem of Jesus’ garment (Luke 8:44). There wasn’t anything magical in the garment, but it was a way her faith was released.

Maybe you remember: Jesus was on his way to the house of Jairus, whose daughter had died and the woman grabbed hold of the hem of His garment.  Jesus said who touched Me?  Peter said, Lord, are You kidding? People are shoving and pushing what do You mean, who touched You?

And the Lord said, no, I perceived that power had gone out from Me.

And the woman, trembling, came and kneeled and she confessed.  This twelve years of hemorrhaging.  She said I knew if I could just touch the hem of your garment, I would be healed.  And Jesus said, woman, go in peace, your faith has made you whole.  Because the moment she touched, the hemorrhaging stopped.

For her it was having set a point of contact to release the faith and by her faith being activated, she was healed.

Now she could have said many different things.  She could have said in her mind, the moment He looks at me.  The moment I can catch His eye, I know I’ll be healed! You see it was the idea of a point where faith was to be released and God chose to bring the healing.

In the same way, there was no power in Peter’s shadow itself, but there was power when a person believed in Jesus to heal them, and the passing of Peter’s shadow helped some to believe.

We shouldn’t miss the connection between the purity preserved in the first part of this chapter with the death of Ananias and the fear of God among the Christians and the power displayed here. God was blessing a pure church with spiritual power.

17 Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, 18 and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.

Although the Sadducees were a numerical minority, they were the ones who held the purse strings as well as the political power so when they saw all of the people that were receiving the Lord they were jealous, and angry.

The Sadducees were radically opposed to anything having to do with the supernatural so it is no wonder that, after observing all of the healings, the Sadducees were filled with indignation.

Therefore the apostles, like Jesus are put into prison because of their good works and their popularity were a threat to those who had an interest in the religious and moral darkness.

19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

An angel of the Lord opens the prison doors which was easy for God to arrange. (Possibly, they only understood this was an angel in retrospect.) Angels often come in human appearance, and it may not always be easy to recognize an angel Heb 13:2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.

The apostles are not only set free, but they are set free for a purpose, that they may Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life. God did not set the apostles free so they could run for the hills or so they could enjoy their own comfort. They were set free for a reason!

This is a pattern for our own lives? We are set free so that we may proclaim all the words of this life, instead of being set free for our own pleasure and comfort.

This directive to speak “All the words of this life” is saying it starts now! (Active faith)  You see, we’re not just talking about future life, afterlife, or eternal life. Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life now and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Life is what the Bible is all about.

I don’t understand those who say, “Well, the Bible’s great and it’s a good starting point, but we have to add more. We have some innovative techniques, some educational tools, and some resources that were unavailable to those who wrote the Bible that can help heal people psychologically and emotionally.” (Just buy my book!)

1 Cor 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Because of these experiences Peter would later write that His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:3-4

Notice that Peter is not telling us that everything we have need of pertaining to life and godliness will be given to us; rather he says everything we need to live an abundant, fulfilled life and everything we need to live like Christ has already been given to us.

This is a radical concept; so many don’t have this understanding. They think we still have to pursue some kind of key and if we can find it, then we’ll be able to unlock the secret of life. Like they’re looking for the combination on the padlock of godliness.

But Peter says something wonderful when he says God has already  given us all things—not most things, not a bunch of things—but all things that pertain to life and godliness.

When a baby is born, they aren’t all that they will be one day, but everything they need is already packed into that little body.  Their job, then, is not to find additional body parts to add to themselves. Their job is simply to grow.

So many Christians read, search, and look for what’s missing in their faith, instead of simply taking God’s Word at face value, which says His divine power has given us everything we need for godliness and all we need for abundant life.

We grow as we get to know the Lord Jesus through prayer, through the Word, through worship; and the better we know Him, the better we understand how all things that pertain to life and godliness can function within us.

God has called us to be His children and has called us to spend eternity in the glory of His kingdom. But not only are we called to this awesome and glorious future, but God has called us to live a virtuous life.

So often we think of the term virtue in the term of sexual purity but this Greek word is much more than that. It is a word that speaks of courage, and of valor. God has called us to live a courageous life, of purity, holiness that is all wrapped up in this word, virtue.

Within this life on planet earth in addition to giving us everything we need to live godly He who calls us has called us to a substantial, meaningful life that is found in and through obedience to the word of God.

The formula is there, all that is necessary is there in the word.  We don’t need further revelation of a new truth or religious systems that want to sell their relevant formulas for the church. Yet all that is necessary to live the life of godliness has been provided for us. And we don’t need further revelations.

If you just take the gospels and just underline the promises of Jesus and when you do personalize those promises. So when it says, whosoever; put your name there because the promise is yours.

Like the great promises of salvation.  “For God so loved the world (your name) that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever (your name) believes in Him,” (again, insert your name) “shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

The promise of eternal life. John 10:9-10  I am the door. If anyone (your name) enters by Me, he (your name) will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they (your name) may have life, and that they (your name) may have it more abundantly.

The promise of the Holy Spirit.. John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you (your name) another Helper, that He may abide with you (your name) forever 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you (your name) know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

The promises that the Lord gave to us in regards to prayer life, boldness, strength, encouragement, direction, comfort, peace, joy,  a plan for life . Are all “Exceeding great and precious promises that by these, we are made partakers of the divine nature.” (Invitation)