Question: Are we extending our outreach with handkerchiefs?
11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul,
12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.
There are some strange miracles in the Bible. Miracles themselves are obviously rare, but in this passage, these miracles are called unusual miracles. Below in the references, I have listed some verses of unusual miracles, such as, a healing from Elisha’s bones, healing from Jesus’ garment hem, and healing from Peter’s shadow. And now we have healing from Paul’s handkerchiefs and aprons – unusual indeed.
However, the first part of the verse is the key, for it says, Now God worked… It was God who worked by these men.
Why did God work these unusual miracles by these men?
God worked by these men because they were God the Father’s messengers. Elisha was called the man of God. Obviously, Jesus is the Son of God. Peter and Paul were the Apostles of God. The signs confirmed their ministry and message.
20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
2 Cor 12
12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.
Why don’t I have these signs?
Obviously I will not put God in a box, surely God could work this way again if He chooses, but there is a reason that most of the two billion Christians on Earth do not manifest these signs. I believe the reason is the message of Jesus and the Apostles has already been confirmed by the signs and wonders of Jesus and the Apostles. Therefore, now we can simply point people back to the record of both the message and the confirming signs in the pages of the Bible.
Why did Paul use handkerchiefs and aprons?
Paul could only be in one place at one time, but he could extend his influence by extending outward his healing ministry by distributing the items. Therefore, he used the cloths.
How can we extend our ministry?
We have the ability to extend our outreach in ways that Paul could never have imagined. Planes, trains, and automobiles can transport us thousands of miles in a few hours.
The postal service can deliver our letters around the world in a few days. TV and radio can transmit Bible teaching hundreds of miles instantly. And now the biggest breakthrough in communications in the history of the world, the cell phone, email and the Internet. These modern methods can propel the gospel message around the world in milliseconds. The Internet is amazing for outreach. I have people that follow these messages on WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Google plus – and all for very little cost. Unlike print, radio, and TV, the Internet is very low cost to publish.
I attend a house church with only four families, but on WordPress, in just in a few months, these blog messages have already had several hundred views and visitors.
With the population of Earth growing exponentially, with 7 billion people currently on Earth, with over 300,000 people born today, God’s timing to allow mankind to develop this technology is right on time. (See amazing population statistics in reference section below.)
Therefore, I encourage all Christians in this age to make use of the Internet to expand the reach of their ministries. Don’t forsake your face to face ministries, but with relatively little cost, you can expand your ministry reach with modern communications.
However, remember the beginning of the verse says, “Now God worked unusual miracles..” We can send emails and blogs all around the world in seconds, but God must work for healing to take place. We are still dependent on God working. Without Him, I can do nothing.
God bless, Bob @ Small Group Bible
2 Kings 13:20,21 (NKJV)
20 And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. 21 And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band [of men]; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.
Mark 6:56 (NKJV) 56 Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.
Acts 5:15 (NKJV)
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.
A tremendous change occurred with the industrial revolution: whereas it had taken all of human history until around 1800 for world population to reach one billion, the second billion was achieved in only 130 years (1930), the third billion in less than 30 years (1959), the fourth billion in 15 years (1974), and the fifth billion in only 13 years (1987). During the 20th century alone, the population in the world has grown from 1.65 billion to 6 billion.