Acts 5:16

Thursday, 24 February 2022

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. Acts 5:16

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The previous verse spoke of ailing people being brought into the streets in hopes that “the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.” From there, Luke records, “Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem.”

The word “gathered” is an imperfect verb. It should read something like, “Also a multitude were gathering.” The people came, and they just kept on coming. At this point, the ministry is limited to Jerusalem. This is still the beginning of the command of the Lord to the apostles that said, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

However, despite not yet going forth into the surrounding cities, the surrounding cities were coming to Jerusalem because of the message of hope which is based upon faith in Christ Jesus. And the gathering was no small group. Rather, Luke records it as a multitude. The word was going forth, and those who heard of it were passing it along so that the streets of Jerusalem were filling up as many were “bringing sick people.”

The word signifies “without strength,” and it indicates those who are feeble, frail, weak, sickly, and so on. It is a general word that is defined well by the simple word “sick.” Any who were generally ailing, for whatever reason, would be brought. Along with them were “those who were tormented by unclean spirits.”

Here, the verb is a present participle. It speaks of those “being tormented.” One can imagine people being brought forth who were actively going through the torments of possession, just as was seen of those brought to Jesus. They may be argumentative, foaming at the mouth, struck dumb, or whatever else. They were in an active state of possession, and there was no other hope but to bring them to Jerusalem where there were apostles of Jesus Christ, proclaiming healing in His name, “and they were all healed.”

It is interesting to note that the previous verse did not include this final statement of healing. People were anticipating the shadow of Peter passing by to fall on the sick. From this, it appears that the term may have been used to indicate a hope for Peter to stop and actually heal the people. In the act of stopping, his shadow would actually fall on the individual while he took the time to proclaim healing in Jesus’ name. It is speculation, but it appears to be a valid thought.

Life application: The word “all” does not always mean “all” in the Bible. Paul says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

Because of the words of Paul, some immediately come to the conclusion that there is one judgement for all people. From that springboard, an incredibly confused theology arises. For example, the judgment spoken of by Jesus is suddenly lumped in with what Paul refers to –

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.” Matthew 25:31, 32

This is a giant problem with this. Actually several. First, Jesus was speaking to Israel about issues that were relevant to Israel. The synoptic gospels focus on His ministry under the law and in anticipation of the coming millennial kingdom. Paul, on the other hand, was writing to Gentiles in the church – a completely separate body in a completely different dispensation.

Secondly, even if that is misunderstood, Paul clearly states that those being judged are saved and their judgment has nothing to do with condemnation. On the other hand, those Jesus refers to will either be brought in to inherit the kingdom or they will be cast into the everlasting fire. And so on.

Thus, the word “all” used by Paul is clearly not speaking of the same group of people mentioned by Jesus. In other words, context must be maintained or a pretext will naturally be the result. Understanding this, the “all” mentioned in Acts 5:16 does not have to mean that everyone who was so afflicted was healed, but that all who met up with the apostles were.

It is not Jerusalem that brought about healing, nor is it Azusa Street that somehow has power to bring about healing, revival, and so forth. Likewise, it is not an individual – like Peter or Paul – that brought about healing. Rather, it is God who supernaturally healed in all instances. And there are those instances recorded in Scripture where healing by an apostle did not occur, such as 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, Philippians 2:25-30, 1 Timothy 5:23, 2 Timothy 4:20, and so on.

With the Bible recorded and the epistles completed, we are to refer to those same epistles for our doctrine and our instruction. We are to pray for others, we are to ask for the Lord’s hand of healing upon us if it is His will, and we are to take the appropriate measures concerning physical healing that are developed by competent people in whatever field they are trained in.

At times, the same people who refuse medical treatment of one kind or another (or all medical treatment) because of some inane religious reasoning will still put on warm clothes when it gets cold, wash their hands with soap, use disinfectants (natural or otherwise), and so on. The disconnect in thinking is astonishing.

Taking preventative measures and not taking curative measures is about as smart as buying a gun and not buying bullets for it. Or maybe the same person will buy both a gun and bullets, but never put the bullets in the gun. Such would indicate a very unclear thinker indeed.

Think things through, use reason, and remember to take everything in context. In failing to do so, there will always be faulty doctrine in your life.

Heavenly Father, help us to reasonably consider Your word and to take what it says in the proper context at all times. In this, we will avoid many pitfalls that come before us in order to trip us up. Yes, Lord, help us to be sound in our thinking and theology. Amen.