Miracles of Jesus' Apostles

Bible Study Lesson 6.16

Miracles Of Jesus' Apostles Bible Verses:
Peter prayed, "Now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of your holy Servant Jesus." When they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were gathered together. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:29-31 NHEB.

Previous Bible study lesson: Jesus Heals Shame #6.15

Preliminary Bible Study Questions:
1) What is an apostle?
2) Who were Jesus' Apostles?
3) Did St Paul the Apostle perform miracles?

Have you thought much about the Apostle's miracles?

What great signs, wonders, and miracles did they perform?

Today's lesson will compile the biblical list of the apostle's miracles from the Bible. Then a more in-depth look into the events will take place.

Finally, the principles gathered from the biblical accounts of the Apostle's miracles will instruct us about God's nature and the work of his true Apostles.

You'll find this lesson enlightening and edifying, so, let's get started. But first, do you need a miracle? Join our (click) Personal Miracle Prayer page. Finally, we would all LOVE to hear about a miracle God has performed in your life, share your miracle (click) here.

Jesus' Apostles

All of the Bible's official disciples were also Jesus' apostles, with the obvious exception of Judas the Betrayer. But, did you know that not all apostles were one of Jesus' 12 disciples? The terms "disciple" and "apostle" are not synonyms.

Simply put, the term "disciples" refers to learners or students; while, the term "apostles" refers to messengers. However, there is some crossover with the two designations in the New Testament.

We studied Jesus' 12 Disciples (click) here. Did you realize that they were all elevated to apostles after Pentecost, sans Judas Iscariot? This lesson will focus on Jesus' apostles; but more specifically, the apostles' miracles.

For a little fun, know that Jesus himself was never referred to as a disciple; but, he was referred to as "God's Apostle" (Hebrews 3:1), because of his function as God's special messenger to the world. 

Here's a definition of apostle: A special messenger of God: a person to whom Jesus delegated authority for certain tasks (Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, editor: Ronald Youngblood, Nelson Publishing, Nashville, 1995, p. 91).

True apostles personally met Jesus Christ, which is also one of the criteria the Bible compilers used in justifying the approved authors and books of the Bible (1 Corinthians 15:7-8).

Paul tells us the early church had a "test of apostolic authority" (2 Corinthians 13:6). He didn't reveal the specifics of what the test included; however, one test of a true apostle was the fact that they always stood for the harmonious truth of God's plan of redemption (1 Corinthians 15:11; 2 Corinthians 13:8). Another test of apostolic authority included God's working of signs, wonders, and miracles through the men (2 Corinthians 12:12)
 
Here is a partial list of Jesus Apostles:
Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, son Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Matthias, Paul, Barnabas, Stephen, and James, brother of Jesus (Galatians 1:19). There were undoubtedly many more men called as apostles in the New Testament era.

The apostles, based on a strict New Testament study, were limited to the first generation of Christians. They are tied to the prophets who established the household of God (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 2:20; 4:11).

The apostles were not permitted to transfer their position, nor could they ordain new apostolic authority upon later Christians. They did, however, pass on the gospel through their writings, which form the New Testament Canon. Apostles were personally chosen, called, and commissioned by Jesus Christ himself (John 15:16).

Jesus also personally selected his own apostles to write his word, aka the Bible, to the future generations of Christianity (2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). No one, therefore, currently has the authority to declare him or herself, or anyone else, an apostle of Jesus Christ.

Let's now delve into the miracles of Jesus' apostles.

Miracles of Jesus' Apostles

All of Jesus' apostles were ordinary men, with no exceptions (Acts 4:13). Like us, they had personal strengths and weaknesses and both good and bad days. Some were simple fishermen (e.g. Peter, Andrew, James and John), one a despised tax collector (i.e. Matthew), one a murderous zealot trusting in Judaism (i.e. Paul), etc; and all were very young, strong men. In short, all of Jesus' apostles were sinners saved by the grace of God.

God prepared some amazing miracles for these men to perform at the most crucial time in the establishment of Christ's Church (Ephesians 2:10). Don't ever forget the biblical truism, "ALL miracles are God's miracles."

Early in Jesus' ministry, not long after choosing his 12 disciples, he commissioned his apostles for a short mission to the Jews, "Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!" (Matthew 10:7-8). The disciples followed instructions and returned, sharing about all the great miracles they performed (Luke 9:10).

Soon, Jesus sent 72 disciples from his broader following on a similar mission (Luke 10:1). They returned excited, saying, "Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!" (Luke 10:17). Jesus told them to calm down, because it's more important that their names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life (Luke 10:20).

One can only imagine the great miracles the disciples performed during these short mission trips (Mark 6:12-13), because details aren't given us. However, the Lord did gift us with the Bible's Acts of the Apostles, which we can search for the accounted miracles of the apostles.

Peter tells us why the apostles had these extraordinary powers, "And the Father, as he promised, gave Jesus the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today" (Acts 2:33). We'll start the list with a miracle Peter performed on the Sea of Galilee.

List of the miracles of Jesus' Apostles:

  • Peter walked on water (Matthew 14:28-31).
  • All believers spoke in foreign languages (Acts 2:4).
  • Many signs and wonders performed (Acts 2:43; 5:12).
  • Peter & John healed the lame man (Acts 3:1-11; 3:16).
  • Peter's shadow fell on the sick, healing them (Acts 5:15-16).
  • Stephen performed amazing miracles and signs (Acts 6:8).
  • Philip cast out demons and healed the lame (Acts 8:7; 8:13).
  • Peter & John laid hands on believers who then received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17).
  • Peter heals lame Aeneas in Lydda (Acts 9:32-35).
  • Peter raised Tabitha, aka Dorcas, from the dead (Acts 9:36-43).
  • Paul cursed and blinded the blasphemous Elymas the sorcerer (Acts 13:11-12).
  • Paul & Barnabas performed signs and wonders in Iconium (Acts 14:3).
  • Paul & Barnabas healed the crippled man who had faith (Acts 14:8-10).
  • Paul & Silas cast a demon out of a fortune telling slave girl (Acts 16:16-18).
  • Paul given extreme power for many unusual miracles. People touched him with aprons and handkerchiefs and laid the cloths on the sick and demon-possessed, who were then healed (Acts 19:11-12).
  • Paul raised Eutychus from the dead after a terrible accident (Acts 20:9-12).
  • Paul unharmed by poisonous snake bite in Malta (Acts 28:3-6).
  • Paul healed Publius' father of fever and dysentery (Acts 28:7-8).
  • Paul healed all sick people on the island of Malta (Acts 28:9-10).

One can't help but notice all of Paul's miracles. Most people would have turned proud and bragged about such great works. Let's discuss this matter of the temptation of pride further.

Apostle Paul's Miracles

Paul didn't write much about his miracles (Luke wrote Acts); in fact, he rarely ever mentioned the topic, even when writing about Jesus. One exception was to the Corinthians when he had to defend himself against the self-proclaimed "super-apostles" (2 Corinthians 12:11-12). 

But, often, he would speak of the source of power for his great service to God, "We now have this light shining in our hearts but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves" (2 Corinthians 4:7). He later said, "If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord" (2 Corinthians 10:17).

If anyone could have boasted about performing great signs and wonders it was Paul. God knew that any human with as much power as was given Paul would corrupt the miracles and corresponding message, and accept praise for such great works. So, God gave Paul a little reminder to stay humble.

Paul said, "If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won't do it, because I don't want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message" (2 Corinthians 12:6).

He shared further, "So to keep me from becoming proud I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud" (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Paul hated the thorn, whatever it was, actually begging God three different times to remove it. Personally, but not dogmatically, I believe this to be a demon who constantly attacked Paul's self-image and self-respect, continually revealing Paul's failures to himself. Regardless of what or who it was, Christ told Paul, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).

St Paul the Apostle then explained why he took pleasure in all his weaknesses, including the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles he suffered, "Because when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10).

In other words, when Paul's weaknesses struck him down, then Christ's power lifted him up and became evident in Paul's preaching and miracles. The same spiritual principle works in our lives... when we stay low and humble Christ shows his great power in and through us (Galatians 2:20).

Reasons for Jesus' Apostles Miracles

Jesus' main reasons for performing his own miracles were to glorify God the Father and announce that the Kingdom of God had arrived in the flesh (i.e. the Son of God).

Both Jesus' teachings and miracles were witnesses to who he truly is, the Son of God and Savior of the world (John 5:36).

In essence, Christ's miracles happened to be an expression of salvation.

Is there any reason to think that Jesus' apostles had differing reasons for their miracles? Not at all.

Jesus' apostles main reasons for performing miracles were to glorify God and his Son, and also the Kingdom of God. Miracles are attention-getters and great works of authorization for the gospel message, of which the apostles were the prime conveyors.

Both the apostles and the gospel needed authentication, which the amazing signs, wonders, and miracles provided in full (Acts 14:3). The apostles' miracles verified the gospel message, which says that Jesus forgives the sins of those who repent and believe in him (Acts 17:30-31).

Here is the commissioning statement Jesus gave his messengers, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth" (Acts 1:8 NHEB). The miracles are truly performed by the Holy Spirit, not the apostles, so again, to whom should the glory be directed? That's right, to God Almighty.

Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I tell you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and he will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son" John 14:12-13 NHEB.

Miracles also brought fear into the hearts of people. When God struck and killed Ananias and Sapphira through Peter great fear swept through the hearts of both believers and unbelievers. God's immense power, demonstrated in the apostle's miracles, was causing great fear and chaos throughout Jerusalem and the surrounding area (Acts 5:1-11).

A healthy fear in the heart of a soul leads to the admiration of the Lord (Psalm 111:10) and submission to God Almighty (Acts 10:34-35; Acts 10:1-4).

Another critical reason for why God worked miracles through his apostles was to strengthen the believers (e.g. Acts 14:21-22; 2 Corinthians 12:19). Further, Paul told the Corinthians directly that he wanted them to repent of their impurity, sexual immorality, and lustful pleasures (2 Corinthians 12:21).

In other words, Paul, his message, and his challenge was for his listeners to hear and believe the message, and prove it through their obedience to God. Obedience to the Scriptures leads to a strong spiritual life.

Still, today, in all these ways and for all these reasons God showed his greatness through miracles. First, through the Prophets of old, like Moses and Elijah; then through Jesus himself; and finally, through Jesus' apostles. These miracles are for your benefit, so that you are drawn to God through his Son, Jesus. That fact should make you feel important, because you really are.

Denying God's miracles, since they are his, is denying God himself. Denying God's miracles, is denying his Son. Denying God's miracles, is denying and blaspheming the Holy Spirit, which is the ONLY unforgiveable sin. Denying God's miracles also denies his Holy Word, the Bible (Mark 8:38). In fact, denying God's miracles is equivalent to calling God a liar and results in the eternal destruction of your soul (Matthew 11:20-24; John 15:24). 

The call goes out to you, my dear friend. Repent and turn to God in faith, submitting to Him and his Word.

Grasp This!

The following verse is critical for understanding why God worked miracles through his apostles:

Therefore we ought to pay greater attention to the things that we heard, so that we will not drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense; how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation — which at the first having been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard (i.e. apostles). God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders, by various works of power, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will? Hebrews 2:1-4 NHEB.

There's a message that God wants spread around the world, and this is it: The Good News proclaims that Jesus Christ died for our sins. All those who repent and believe in his name will be saved (Acts 20:20-21).

Not to diminish God's miracles, but the most important thing to grasp is God's gospel of love and forgiveness. The supernatural phenomenon of miracles is spectacular and glorifies the Lord; however, the salvation of a spiritually dead sinner by God's grace is his greatest miracle, which Jesus' Apostles would wholeheartedly affirm.

Has it sunk deep into your soul yet? Do you realize that you must experience God's forgiveness ABOVE ALL ELSE?

If so, and you've been saved, you're blessed, because not many people do come to realize God's amazing miracle of salvation (Matthew 22:14). This leads us to the second most critical thing in your life. You're called not simply to receive God's forgiveness, but to proclaim the same gospel to the rest of the world.

We'll cover that in our next lesson: Present Day Miracles #6.17.

Miracles of Jesus' Apostles Discussion Questions:
1) Why do God's awesome miracles make humans fear him? What kind of fear is in play here? (see Proverbs 9:10).
2) What does the incredible story of Simon the Sorcerer display about God's power and miracles? (see Acts 8:18-25).
3) What is one to think of present day "apostles" who claim to perform miracles? (see our next lesson for in-depth discussion).

Miracles of Jesus' Apostles Bible Verses:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he takes away... Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me. I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:1-2; 15:4-5 NHEB.

Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Therefore go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20 NHEB.

Miracle Prayer:
Dear Lord, I bow before you, fully amazed at your awesome power. We deserve ruin because of our sin, but you have patience and mercy on us, O God. Thank you. Forgive us of our rebellious nature and unrighteous ways. Heal us from the disease you call sin. Lord, knock out our pride so we can be presented to you as a bride to her husband. In Christ's name, Amen.

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