In Acts 5:16 ”crowds gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.” Not one of the many thousands who turned up for healing was turned away. And no matter how serious or terminal an illness or disease, it was guaranteed a healing.
So if mass healings like this aren’t happening in the church today, why aren’t they? Is it because we aren’t praying like they did in Acts 4:30, for God to “stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders”?
But take into account that those doing all the healings in Acts 5 were the apostles (verse 12). And the apostles were the ones the church was praying for in Acts 4:30 too. It was also to the apostles that Jesus talked about “confirming the message by the signs that attended it,” like “laying hands on the sick and the sick recovering” (Mark 16:17-18). Paul also talked about “the signs of an apostle” in 2 Corinthians 12:12, that set the apostles aside as special, because they were the ones God had chosen to lay the foundations of the New Testament church (Ephesians 2:20). So this great power to heal was specifically given to the apostles.
But once that confirmation of the apostles had been done by healings and other miraculous signs and wonders, did that mean the healings and miracles would end? No, because Jesus said the future church would be doing “greater” miracles than even he’d done (John 14:12).
But what could be “greater” than all those who went to Jesus for healing being healed? Even saying “all of them were healed” in Acts 5:16 isn’t greater than what Jesus did. So what “greater things” could Jesus possibly be referring to?
Well, healing a person completely from all his sicknesses isn’t a cure for selfishness or greed, nor does it heal bitterness following a broken relationship or a thwarted dream. It doesn’t cure racism, bullying, a bloated ego, road rage, or frustration at injustice, unfairness and favouritism. And think of all the tragic mental aberrations that lead to war, murder and revenge, that once started cannot be stopped.
In other words, it’s what’s tucked away inside us causing our problems that desperately needs the “greater” healing promised by Jesus – just like a good Doctor gets at the causes of our illnesses, rather than just treating the symptoms. And getting at the causes is why “God raised up his servant, Jesus” in Acts 3:26 too. Jesus came to “bless us by turning each of us from our wicked ways.” Not turn us from what’s bothering us physically; it’s turning us from the curse of the monsters inside us that are making us do awful things to ourselves and to other people.
Like the monsters inside the heads of the religious hierarchy in Jerusalem, in reaction to the apostles’ amazing healings in Acts 5:16. Because instead of applauding what the apostles were doing, “the high priest and all his associates….were filled with jealousy,” verse 17. How sick is that? But that’s why sick minds are far worse than sick bodies, because sick minds wreck other people’s lives too.
The big question has to be, then, “Does Jesus heal all those with sick minds who recognize their need for healing and come to him for it?”
The answer from Jesus is a resounding “Yes, of course,” because in Matthew 11:28 he said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” and by “rest” he meant “rest for your souls,” verse 29, not bodies. He wants to heal what’s churning away deep inside our very soul, because that’s where the greatest cure is needed.
That’s his “greater” healing and greater goal, so that one day he can say of everyone’s heart, soul and mind – that “all of them are healed.”