Summary: Faith vs Supersition. Allow the shadows cast by your dark circumstances to inspire faith in others who are wounded and hurting.
I. WHAT WAS IT ABOUT PETER’S SHADOW?
A. Some Commentators Dispute Whether Peter’s Shadow Really Resulted In Healing
1. Some aregue that there is no evidence that anyone was actually healed from it - that people just had an expectation that they might get healed - and so were healed
2. Whether they did or not, unclear
3. Certainly some healing was happening
B. Why Did They Have This Expectation?
1. Ancient people thought that one’s shadow was attached to oneself
a. in Jewish law, if one’s shadow touched a corpse one was as unclean as one who physically touched the corpse
b. to be touched by his shadow, to be touched by him directly
2. Indirect touch – inspired faith
a. woman who touched hem of Jesus’ garment
b. Acts 19:12 – handkerchiefs from Paul
3. Many couldn’t get close to touch directly – laid on side of road where shadow would be cast upon them
C. We May Say That’s Wacky – That’s Superstition – Could God Honor That?
1. If Peter had known – would he have put a stop to people clamoring for his shadow?
2. Peter was not consciously paying attention to those whose shadow it was falling on
3. Obviously Luke (writer of Acts) got word of it – perhaps afterwards
D. Yet No One Seemed To Tell Them To “Stop Seeking The Shadow”
1. Evidently some were, in fact, healed
2. At a minimum, it inspired their faith, which resulted in healing
II. LESSONS FROM PETER’S SHADOW
A. Compare And Contrast Faith & Superstition – the lines are not always clear
1. Faith …
a. believe with proof
b. belief that goes beyond reason
c. substance of things hoped for
d. glorifies Christ
2. Superstition …
a. believe without hope of proof
b. belief that’s unreasonable
c. substance of things wished for
d. glorifies who knows what?
B. Sometimes Superstition Gets Mixed In With Faith
1. Possible Scriptural Examples?
a. Matthew 9:20 – woman who touched Jesus’ garment
b. Mark 6:56 – sick begged to touch Jesus’ garment
c. Acts 19:12 – use of Paul’s handkerchief
2. Search ourselves – am I wholly void of superstition in my own faith?
3. How many Christians are wholly void of superstition?
a. irrational beliefs
-- neglect to feed oneself spiritually, and expect to be strong - superstition?
-- play with sin and expect to not get burned – superstition?
-- anoint body for healing, but not take care of it – superstition?
-- pray for marriage but not work on it – superstition?
b. faith that more “wished based” than “hope based”
c. instead of glorifying Christ, it glorifies who knows what
C. However, God May Still Choose To Honor Faith, Even When Some Superstition Is Mixed In
1. Sometimes we may do or believe some wacky things
2. God smiles
3. God is patient
4. God works in spite of us and honors our faith in spite of us
D. There’s No Virtue In The “Thing” Itself, But Virtue In The Expectation
1. No virtue in shadow (nor in Paul’s handkerchief or Jesus’ garment)
2. In each case – it was all about the expectation and the faith of the one in need
3. No virtue in anointing oil, a wooden alter, or stepping in church building – but the
virtue is in the expectation and faith of the believer who steps into the church building, or comes to the alter or is anointed for healing
4. All about expectation and faith - your own excitement, anticipation, expectation and faith!
III. PERSONAL APPLICATION: EVEN THE SHADOW YOU CAST CAN INSPIRE FAITH IN OTHERS
A. You Never Know Who Will Be Touched By Your Influence
1. You are a witness – good witness, bad witness – people affected
2. You may never know whose life you will touch – more indirectly than consciously
3. Even in your shadow (negative circumstances that are just part of human life)
a. when even God and everything good seems eclipsed
b. people who are near may see your shadow and there is an opportunity for htem to be touched by your shadow (your witness in the dark times)
c. the things you say and do in the midst of your “shadow moments” can inspire faith in others
B. We All Have Our Shadows
1. When the sun seems to have set low
2. When it’s not the “high noon” – times of life
3. Sun declining, health declining, age, (when we feel weak, tired or life disappoints)
4. Can’t avoid the shadows – they will come
5. Can’t hide from the shadows – they will come
C. The Question: Will Our Shadows Inspire Faith In Others?
1. Our words in the midst of our heartbreaks
2. Our actions in the midst of our heartbreaks