The Miracles Continued: Acts 19:11-12
“11) God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12) so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out.” Acts‬ ‭19‬:‭11‬-‭12‬ ‭
These verses confirm that extraordinary miracles were still taking place in the early church. The power of the Holy Spirit had not subsided or diminished as some scholars try to insert.
The word “miracles” is translated from the same Greek word as “power” in Acts 1:8. Those filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit may experience God confirming their witness of the gospel with validating signs. This is consistent with Hebrews 2:4; “God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.” ‭‭ All three of these texts have evangelism or advancing the gospel as their backdrop. (Acts 1:8, Acts 19:11-12 and Hebrews 2:4) Though varied spiritual gifts were manifest in the local church, it appears that signs and wonders were connected to the front lines of spreading the gospel. (See 1 Corinthians 12:4-11)
I acknowledge this might be a fuzzy line to defend because the charisma gifts are also connected to the ministry of the Holy Spirit and evangelism often unfolds in some church gatherings. I shy away from putting a box around God, yet the story of the book of Acts is that signs and wonders accompanied the spread of the gospel.
Acts 19:12 shares the phenomenon that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried from the body of Paul to the sick and diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. It appeared that some objects were consecrated and transmitted anointing, power and holiness. This did not seem to be a common practice in evangelism, but it did happen.
The main thrust of Paul’s ministry was reasoning from the Word, presenting Jesus and preaching the gospel. He did not set preaching and teaching the Word aside to focus on healing services. The miracles accompanied the spread of the gospel and took place over two years. (See Vs 10)
Another intriguing observation from verse 12 is that one of two different cures happened to the sick. Either diseases left them or evil spirits went out. It appears that there are two very different causes of sicknesses.
This observation is consistent with the healing ministry of Jesus as recorded in the four gospels. There are germs, viruses and diseases that cause sickness. There are also unclean spirits that specialize in causing physical infirmities. Jesus healed people from both.
On a closing note, Paul did not adulterate that which is holy by turning it into a marketing strategy. I am appalled by any so called “faith ministry” today that sells healing in exchange for monetary donations. This greedy practice is a scam. It is deceptive and demonically motivated. If someone asks for a donation in exchange for sending you a handkerchief, it might be best used to weep and cry for their wretched soul.
Jesus said to His disciples; “8) Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. 9) Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts,” (Matthew‬ ‭10:8-9) Marketing the blessings and power of God amounts to spiritual abuse of the poor and gullible.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global