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Summary: The multitudes believed that their sick ones could be healed without the touch of the hands of the apostles, since they laid the sick on cots and couches in the streets in hopes that the shadow of Peter might pass over them.

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November 18, 2013

By: Tom Lowe

Lesson II.D.2.a: The Apostle's Respected By People (2:12-16)

Acts 5.12-16 (KJV)

12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.

13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.

14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)

15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.

16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.

Commentary

12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.

13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.

14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)

“And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people.” Notice that the apostles exercise the apostolic gifts. Gifts of healing and gifts of miracles were sign gifts which were given to the apostles. They did many signs among the people. “By the hands of the apostles” does not necessarily mean that these “signs and wonders” were done through the laying on of hands—and certainly does not mean that they were done through the power of the hands of the apostles. It simply means that God working through the apostles, wrought signs and wonders among the people.

During the earthly ministry of Jesus, He often laid hands upon the sick, and in Mark 16.18 He said of His disciples, “They shall lay hands upon the sick, and they shall recover.” However, verse 15 of our present chapter proved that the multitudes believed that their sick ones could be healed without the touch of the hands of the apostles, since they laid the sick on cots and couches in the streets in hopes that the shadow of Peter might pass over them.

The discipline in the church had put a fear on the people and stopped the revival, so that nobody for purely human reasons dared to unite with the new fellowship. However, the Church was held in high regard by the people. Only those who experienced a genuine work of God dared to unite with the Church; yet there were still great numbers who were being saved.

“Believers were being added to the Lord.” People heard and believed the Word preached by Peter and the other apostles and were added to the Lord’s Church day by day (Acts 2.47[1]). Rapid numerical growth was a phenomenon of the early Church. We know that by a.d. 300 there were millions of people in the Roman Empire who had turned to Christ.

“And they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.” The early Christians did not have their own building for worship. They usually met in the homes of the believers who had the necessary space, and sometimes they met in Solomon’s Porch, which bordered the east side of the vast temple area. Such meetings were important, since they were opportunities to confer with each other, and for instruction, prayer, and fellowship among the believers. In other words, they came to Solomon’s Porch to teach and be taught—and with one common purpose: to learn more about the Lord Jesus Christ and the things of God. Who were the “all”? They may have been the apostles, the apostles and their immediate following (born again believers), or possibly, the whole Christian community. If the latter is true, “the rest” (v.13) would be other interested spectators, the Jews who had not believed, who now hesitated to publicly identify themselves with the Christians because of what had happened to Ananias and Sapphira, even though “the people” in general “magnified them” (held them in high esteem). But verse 14 seems to be a contradiction, unless we suppose that “durst no man join himself to them” does not merely mean to join with them, but to join them in courageous public witness. In other words, they were willing to join the Christian community, but balked at making any public declaration of their faith in Jesus Christ.


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