...so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.
Thoughts for Today:In the Middle East the work day starts in the early morning, then breaks through the middle and hottest part of the day, again resuming in the late afternoon and into the evening. Paul worked for a living as a tent maker, yet he took the down time during the middle of the day to teach in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. Paul did not want to be a financial burden to the people of Ephesus -- so he worked and as a result he perspired and got dirty -- he needed handkerchiefs and aprons.
It is interesting to me that the "handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him" had become instruments of healing. It wasn't as if the material of the handkerchief or apron were imbued with any particular power--rather it was what they represented--a point of contact with the supernatural power of God. In Matthew chapter nine we read about a woman who was subject to a blood disorder (she had been bleeding for twelve years), who came up behind Jesus thinking, "If I can only touch His cloak I will be healed." Verse 22 tells us, "Jesus turned and saw her. 'Take heart, daughter,' he said, 'your faith has healed you.' And the woman was healed from that moment." Jesus' cloak by itself had no power to heal, nor did Peter's shadow (Acts 5:15), or Paul's handkerchiefs and aprons from our passage today. For that matter neither does the physical properties of the oil used in the anointing of oil, or the water of the baptismal. All represent, by faith, a point of contact with the eternal God.
So how did Paul's things -- his handkerchiefs and aprons become a point of contact with God? Because they represented not only the healing power of the Word of God spoken through Paul; but also the visible sacrifice made by Paul (to bring them the message); and the tangible nature of the work he did for them (as a tent maker to support himself -- the people of Ephesus did not have to provide financial support for Paul). Paul's faith as demonstrated through his words and his work (including all the sweat and dirt), was so strong that just touching his handkerchiefs and aprons -- people felt, sensed and experienced God -- and they were healed accordingly. Wow!
Questions to Ponder:How long has it been since your faith was so strong that people believed because you believed? Are you allowing God's Word to be communicated through you (speaking and teaching Scripture)? What sacrifices have been made by you recently to bring God's message of redemption and salvation to His people? What tangible work have you done lately for God's people? Do you want to have the kind of faith that reaches and changes people's lives -- that has the power to heal? If so, the answer is simple -- yield to God. Pray and ask His Holy Spirit to fill you completely; repent (change your thinking) and choose to follow God (rather than the world); ask Him what you can do right now to serve Him; (this next part is the most important) and then do it. Will you allow your faith to become so strong, that like Paul it becomes "A point of contact with God"?