Shortly after Jesus’ ascension and the fiery flames of Pentecost descended, came a miraculous healing. It tells of Peter and John healing a man who was crippled from birth (Acts 3:1-10). Furthermore, this man was over 40-years-old, indicating that the healing was not due to any residing muscular strength. This man didn’t walk an inch for more than 40 years! After this miracle, Peter explained how the healing took place and our proper response to any healing.
1. The source of healing is not from human power or godliness (3:12). All power for healing comes from the Holy Spirit. I dislike healing services that market the healer’s face and name on a banner, as if he was responsible for the healing. No human has the ability to heal. Pride in our spiritual gifts leads us down a steep and slippery slope. Neither is godliness, according to Peter. This is interesting point isn’t it? I’ve always thought that being super-godly will enable my prayers to be more efficacious. In some sense, it is true, but it could make us depend on our human effort to stay pure. We become ego-centric rather than God-centric. We need to separate the spiritual gifts from a person’s character. Just because someone is a gifted healer is no indication that his character is godly. But that’s no excuse for living a shoddy life.
2. It is by Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that heals (3:16). In contrast to depending on ourselves, healing can only come from Jesus’ name. Why is Jesus’ name so powerful? Peter explains that after Jesus was crucified and resurrected, God glorified him (3:13-15). God raised Jesus to the highest place. Jesus’ name is the name above all names. When we pray for healing, we need to use Jesus’ name. It is not a magic formula like Abracadabra! Jesus is not a genie at your bidding. Jesus is a name that is infused with power and shakes up every molecule of the universe. Not only is his name responsible for healing, but faith also. Peter says that this faith comes through Jesus’ name. The Bible says, faith comes by hearing. I’m not sure if the crippled man expected to be healed but at the moment that Jesus’ name was spoken, faith entered the man’s spirit. He believed that Jesus could heal his crippled legs. And instantly, his muscles grew until he had strength to walk. We need to believe that Jesus still heals today. If we don’t believe we won’t even bother praying for healing.
How can we respond to healing? There are two possibilities.
1. Praise God. The man healed entered the temple praising God (3:8). The people watching also praised God (3:9-10). Thank God when you witness healing. Thank God when you are healed. It’s easy to walk away ungrateful just like nine lepers did to Jesus (Luke 17:11-19). We have to be grateful for his abundant grace. Notice that the crippled man entered the “temple courts” after his healing. After your healing, allow testimonies to be given to the congregation in church. Strengthen one another’s faith that God has displayed his mercy and grace. All healing must lead to praising God. No glory must go to the person who prayed for healing.
2. Repent and turn to God. Healing also can lead to salvation of others. Some onlookers didn’t believe in Jesus yet. Peter urged them to repent and turn to God so that their sins will be wiped out (3:19-20). When we turn to God, “times of refreshing” from the Lord are promised to us. We must look beyond the miracle of healing to the giver, Jesus. Peter laid out very clearly that Jesus was crucified for our sins. He died a horrible cruel death in our place on the cross. By his stripes, we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
I could even argue that the greatest healing is our relationship with God. Jesus healed the rift that sin tore apart. We are all like the crippled man, crippled by our sins. We can’t walk. We can’t worship. We are helpless. Only Jesus can save us from our current predicament. If you have not trusted Jesus as your Saviour, would you accept his free gift of salvation to you?