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Miraculous Signs by the Apostles


According to Mark 16:17-18, Jesus predicted “These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents [with their hands], and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Such divine powers were necessary, especially in the early church in its budding stage and while the Christians were facing severe persecution. The preachers and their listeners needed them for confirming their faith in Jesus. Some signs benefited others while other signs were to save the lives of the disciples during their missionary trip. These miracles shall not continue forever. However, even later, some holy Christians performed wonders, and some had miraculous experiences in their lives.


The Acts of the Apostles reports some instances of apostles doing an exorcism. “The people gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those who were troubled by unclean spirits, and all of them were healed” (Acts 5:16). Acts 16:16-18 describes how Paul expelled a demon from a slave girl who was also a fortune teller. Luke gives another instance in Acts 19:11-12: “God did extraordinary deeds of power through the hands of Paul. Even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were laid upon the sick and their illnesses were cured, and evil spirits also departed from them.”


The apostles, who had limited education and language skills, could go all over the world and could preach in the languages of the local people. This gift started on the Day of Pentecost when they received the Holy Spirit. “Now there were staying in Jerusalem devout Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered, all excited because each one heard them speaking in his own native language” (Acts 2:5-6).


The Bible documents that when Saint Paul was in Malta (Acts 28:3-5) a viper fastened on his hand but he escaped from being bitten.


Papias records the oral tradition that Joseph Barsabbas, one of the 70 disciples of Jesus (Lk 10:1) drank a cup of poison without harm. This Joseph was a candidate for apostleship along with Mathias to replace Judas Iscariot. Both had followed Jesus during his public ministry (Acts 1:21). Another tradition is that the Roman authorities took Saint John the Apostle to Rome for trial during the reign of Emperor Nero (56-68), where he had to drink a cup of deadly poison but remained alive.


The Acts of the Apostles gives several instances of the disciples healing the sick.
1. Peter healed a lame man in Jerusalem (3:1-11)
2. Apostles healed many in Jerusalem (5:15-16)
3. Peter healed Eneas who was paralyzed for eight years (9:33-34)
4. Peter raised Tabitha to life in Joppa (9:36-41)
5. Paul healed a crippled man in Lystra (14:8-10)
6. Paul healed a multitude in Corinth (19:11-12)
7. Paul restored the life of Eutychus who fell from the third- story window (20:9-12)
8. Paul healed the father of Publius and others in Malta (28:7-9)


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