Acts 14:9

“He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed”

The lame man couldn’t walk, he had to be carried, but he could listen. What was Paul preaching? Was it healing? Luke does say Paul saw the man had faith to be healed and that is why many preachers say that we need to have faith that God will heal in order for us to be healed. Yet there is no evidence in the New Testament that Paul ever preached on the subject of healing (though I am sure he would have done so), he certainly is not known as a specialist on healing. Rather, Paul on his missionary journeys is preaching that Jesus is the Messiah who has come to fulfil the law, the cross and the resurrection and the plan of salvation and grace.

My point is that there are many who are suffering today particularly in the Western churches. This is not because of sickness but because a preacher has told them all they need to do is have faith for healing and they will be healed. So they muster all the faith they can muster, far more than a mustard seed, but many do not get healed. So they suffer twice. I do not think Paul was ever asking the man to believe he could be healed.

So perhaps I can offer this suggestion. Luke is showing us that what was happening as Paul was preaching Christ crucified, risen and ascended Lord was that this man who was listening attentively, caught the eye of Paul. Paul looked directly at him and God gave him the ability to see that this man was actually turning towards Jesus. He had a developing faith growing inside. The man was beginning to believe, like scales falling from a spiritual blind man. It was not so much the man who believed he could be healed but that Paul saw he was accepting of Paul’s message of Jesus and Paul could see faith in the man. This faith in Jesus the Messiah Paul knew was transformational. This faith in Jesus, who can do anything and even if the man hadn’t realised it, Paul knew that this faith when pointed in the right direction could change the man’s life. That is why it is Paul who then gave the command to stand up. It was not the man’s idea, it was Paul’s. This man may never have seen one healing in his life. This is certainly the first time and the only time a miracle is seen in Lystra. The man was not saying ‘do to me as you have done to the others’. But this man was beginning to say ‘I believe in You Jesus’.

The church today needs to go looking for faith not for miracles, signs and wonders. Share the faith, preach the faith, belief in Jesus Christ, who He is and what He has done. When we find faith in those who listen then maybe we might get those moments when something inside of us comes out, we cannot hold it in, but we just believe there and then that this faith in Jesus we have seen is going to be demonstrated here and now in many ways. But that’s for tomorrows devotion…


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