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Chapter V. Apostle Peter: The Healings in the Streets


Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed” (Acts 9:34).

“Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles” (Acts 2:43).


The apostles received their ability to perform miracles and signs from the Lord Himself during the time of Christ’s preaching in Judea. When the Twelve Apostles were chosen, the Lord sent them to preach and spread the Holy Gospel. Before they went with their own mission, He said to them: “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). That grace accompanied the apostles during the whole time of Christ's saving ministry on earth. After the descent of the Holy Spirit, as John the Theologian, the favorite disciple of Christ said, the apostles got the “grace for grace” (John 1:16).

So, according to Apostle Luke, many people came to Jerusalem from the nearest cities, bringing the sick people and the people possesed by dark spirits. Many of them were brought into the streets right on their beds so that “at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them” (Acts 5:15). All those people were got healing from their diseases. Once, when Apostles Peter and John were heading to the Temple, they met a beggar who sat by the gates of the Temple. Peter called the Holy Name of Jesus Christ and healed the man, so he “leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God” (Acts 3:8).

Apostle Peter, while he was visiting his brothers and sisters in Christ in different areas, came to Lydda, where he healed Aeneas, who could not stand up from his bed for 8 years.

Tabitha, one of the Christ’s followers who helped people in need and gave alms, got sick and died in the city of Joppa, which is located not far from Lydda. When other disciples knew that Peter was in Lydda at that time, they asked him to come. Peter came to Joppa and was brought to the chamber where the dead girl was lying. There he saw many people crying above her body. He ordered them all to leave the place and “knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up” (Acts 9:40). After that the whole city learnt about that miracle and many people turned to the Lord through it.
 
Apostle Peter heals the sick man with his shadow
The Book of Acts does not describe all the journeys and miracles performed by Apostle Peter. However, we know from the ancient stories that he visited many different cities and countries, where he preached, established Christian communities and brought people to life. Particularly, there are such well-known facts as the resurrection of the dead man in Ankira of Galatia as well as the establishment of the God’s Church there and the ordination of a bishop. We learn about this from the works of St. Simeon the Metaphrast, an Orthodox saint who lived in the 10th century. By the order of the emperor, St. Simeon translated several hundreds of life stories and made a compilation of them.

We should point out that the holy apostles and all the other saints after them performed miracles not just by their own will, but calling the Name of God – they asked the Lord to perform the miracle in their prayers. Seeing their strong and pure faith, the Lord performed miracles through his loyal disciples. Even our Lord Jesus Christ often performed miracles by the faith of other people. On the other hand, sometimes He did not – just because there was no faith in them: “Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief” (Mark 6:5-6).

It is important that we remember about this. We can ask God for something only with our living faith and love towards him, for the Lord performs miracles not just to reveal His power to the world and amaze people with it. God’s miracles are always addressed to our hearts and our souls in order to awake people from their sinful sleep, to turn them to the path of life and take them off the path of death. This is why the greatest miracles of God are the miracle of repentance, the miracle of conversion and the miracle of love towards God and your close ones. “Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2).


What St. John Chrysostom says in his works:

"They did not perform all their miracles with the same ease. But this was profitable for them: for truly God took thought not only for the salvation of others, but for their own. He that liealed so many by his very shadow, how is it that he now has to do so much first? There are cases also in which the faith of the applicants cooperated. This is the first dead person that he raises. Observe how he, as it were, awakes her out of sleep: first she opened her eyes: then upon seeing (Peter) she sat up: then from his hand she received strength. And it teas known throughout all Joppa and many believed in the Lord. Mark the gain, mark the fruit, that it was not for display. For where tears are — or rather, where miracles are, there tears ought not to be; not where such a mystery is celebrating. Hear, I beseech you: although somewhat of the like kind does not take place now, yet in the case of our dead likewise, a great mystery is celebrating. Say, if as you sit together, the Emperor were to send and invite some one of us to the palace, would it be right, I ask, to weep and mourn? Angels are present, commissioned from heaven and come from thence, sent from the King Himself to call their fellow servant, and say, dost thou weep r Knowest thou not what a mystery it is that is taking place, liow awful, how dread and worthy indeed of hymns and lauds?"


Reflections in the Holy Church tradition:

Let us praise as champions of all the world,  those leaders, Peter and Paul: the disciples of Christ, and founders of the Church, true foundations, pillars and trumpets of inspiration, sounding forth the teachings and sufferings of Christ! They indeed went out into all the earth as husbandmen spreading the seed of the faith, planting for all mankind divine understanding, revealing the Word of the Trinity. O Peter, rock and foundation, and Paul, the chosen vessel: you were Christ's yoke of oxen, drawing all to the knowledge of God: the Gentiles, men of the cities and islands. You brought the Hebrews back again to Christ, and now you both intercede that our souls may be saved. (The sticheron on the Litya, Tone 2)


To be continued…



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