The Signs of an Apostle

Friday, July 8, 2011

“Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds” (2 Corinthians 12:12 KJV).

The Apostle Paul’s ministry was separate and distinct from the ministry of Israel’s twelve apostles. After all, Peter and the eleven preached the “the gospel of the circumcision” whereas Paul preached “the gospel of the uncircumcision” (Galatians 2:7). In spite of that, we find Paul performing miracles in the same manner Peter and the eleven did. Why is Paul performing miracles?

According to 1 Corinthians 1:22, “the Jews require a sign” (cf. John 4:48). To validate Paul’s ministry for the Jews’ sake, God temporarily granted Paul the gift of miracle working. To wit, by God transferring Israel’s miracles to Paul’s ministry, He demonstrated to Israel that their program was falling away. Paul’s ministry was coming to forefront and evangelizing Gentiles. Undoubtedly, this “provoked the Jews to jealousy” (Romans 11:11).

In Acts 13, we see Paul’s first miracle, when he places a temporary physical blindness on a Jewish sorcerer, Elymas (representing Israel’s temporary spiritual blindness, which will be removed when the Dispensation of Grace expires; Romans 11:25-29).

The Apostle Paul’s miracles demonstrated that, as the Apostle Peter and the eleven’s ministry began to disintegrate, God was replacing Israel’s program with a new dispensation. Notice, in the latter extent of Paul’s ministry especially, the healing miracles ceased (the transitional period of Acts had ended).

  • Acts 14:8-11 — Paul healed crippled man in Lystra
  • Acts 19:11-12 — Paul’s healing handkerchiefs
  • Acts 16:16-18 — Paul heals devil-possessed damsel
  • Acts 20:9-12 — Paul raises Eutychus from the dead
  • Acts 28:1-10 — Paul survives snakebite, heals Publius’ father and the sick people of the island
  • Galatians 4:13-14 — Paul sick with infirmity, unable to heal himself
  • Philippians 2:26-27 — Paul cannot heal Epaphroditus
  • 1 Timothy 5:23 — Paul unable to heal Timothy
  • 2 Timothy 4:20 — Paul cannot heal Trophimus

Truly, Paul had the signs of an apostle, confirming his doctrine with the miracles! God’s salvation had indeed gone to the Gentiles through Paul.