The Incomplete Manifestation

26 January 2016

While Paul and Barnabas are teaching in Lystra and Derbe, Paul heals a man that was lame from birth Acts 14:8. In my opinion, the interesting part of this story is not that Paul was able to heal a lame man, but the interesting part is what happened after the lame man was healed.

The Physical and the Spiritual

In many of the miracles that are present in the Bible, there are two aspects of the miracle. These two aspects of the miracle are a physical side, and a spiritual side. When the miracle is associated with healing, there is a physical healing and a spiritual healing.

For example, when Peter healed a man “lame from his mother’s womb” (Acts 3:2) at the temple in Jerusalem there was a physical miracle (the man receiving strength in his legs) as well as a spiritual miracle (the man praising God). This miracle showed those present that it was not the working of Peter, but that he was working through the power of Christ.

The Missing Element

In the case of Paul healing the man in Lystra, there was only a physical miracle present, no spiritual miracle present. The consequence of this was that the people that witnessed the miracle began to worship Paul and Barnabas as gods (Acts 14:11).

Furthermore, after the people realized that Paul and Barnabas were not Jupiter and Mercurius, they tried to kill them (Acts 14:19). It is obvious that the witness of the physical miracle did not have a lasting effect upon the people that saw it.

It is important that we realize that we are here to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). We must not only search out the physical miracles in our life, but recognize the spiritual effects of the miracles that occur.