The Healing Ministry (Acts 5:12–16)
In a show of unity after Christ ascended to heaven, the apostles continued to perform signs and wonders. In Acts 5:12–16, the healing ministry takes center stage as people with all kinds of sicknesses are healed at the hands of the apostles. It is a demonstration of God’s power working through His witnesses.
In healing the sick, the apostles put into practice the precepts they learned from Christ during His ministry (Matt. 10:8; Luke 4:40, 41; 6:17–19). Therefore, we can see the early church, led by the apostles, alive with God’s power that makes it grow from strength to strength.
God expects us to have a merciful attitude at all times.
Armed with the commission to be witnesses in all Judea, they delivered healing to everyone regardless of race, background, or condition. All of them received total healing.
As witnesses of Christ today, we have the responsibility to continue advancing the message of healing ministry. We do this by responding to the health needs of the less fortunate members of our communities. Those who cannot afford the hefty medical bills charged in private hospitals are counting on our contribution to make a difference in their lives. We have a duty as a church and as young adults, in word and deed, to deliver the message of the saving and healing power of God.
Showing Pity and Compassion (Matt. 25:38–40)
God requires His children to demonstrate pity, compassion, and kindness to people in difficult situations. God expects us to have a merciful attitude at all times.
However, this does not mean we become so softhearted that the world can take advantage of us. In the parable of the sheep and the goats, Christ illustrates the basis of His judgment upon people when the final trumpet will blow. An important lesson in this parable is that Christ is interested in how we treat Him in our present life. This reflects itself in how we treat the lowliest in our midst. Christ requires us to demonstrate genuine love to our brothers and sisters in need.
“The true love of God is seen in the sheep. As the sheep respond to their brother’s need, they are united in their distress and at the same time, unwittingly, unconsciously, without hypocrisy, align themselves with Christ. . . . This is a kind of love that cannot be faked or put on. ‘By this all will know that you’re My disciples, if you have love for one another.’ ”1
Christ, who practiced mercy, love, and compassion, requires His followers to adopt the character of the sheep—to be genuinely good, sympathetic, kind, and concerned.
Remembering the Poor (Gal. 2:10)
In the Old Testament, the Bible recognizes the practice of giving to the poor and sharing with the less fortunate members of our society (Deut. 14:28, 29). Poor people are found in every age and community, and it’s a divine duty to be there for them.
In helping the poor in our communities, we should address their material needs up front and then provide the spiritual food that draws them closer and makes them stay in Christ. Even so, we need to remain vigilant of the tactics of the enemy (1 Pet. 5:8). In the practice of helping the poor in our society, we must not support habits that lead to poverty, such as drinking beer, laziness, licentiousness, and every sort of evil. In such situations, we should help the victims to come out of the sin first.
We should also distinguish between those who are poor but strong and healthy and those who are poverty-stricken, sick, and disabled. In the latter case, we should offer sympathy and help.
We are bound by divine authority to support the poor because they are our brethren. In most cases, the poor cultivate our farms, manage our capital, do our laundry, prepare our meals, tend our businesses, and more. In essence, we depend on them as much as they do on us. When we remember and support them, we remember ourselves. And according to God’s Word, we gain good by doing good (Ps. 41:1–3).
Faith and Action (James 2:14–16)
James 2 emphasizes how faith and good deeds are inseparable in the life of a Christian. When we speak of our faith without doing it, we cannot meet practical needs. It’s easier to talk about faith than to live it. However, talking of our faith does not mean we have done it.
If we don’t act on our faith but simply talk of it, we risk ending up selfdeceived, thinking that we’re doing well before God (James 1:22, 26). The world will see our faith through the good deeds that we perform. Adding good deeds to our faith shows we are mature in Christ. We cannot achieve this level of maturity before we participate in solving the needs of the less fortunate members of our society, such as the poor, widows, orphans, and sick.
1. How can we participate in social justice without slipping into sin?
2. What do you think Jesus meant when He said, “ ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy’ ” (Matt. 5:7, NKJV)?
3. Why is it important to meet both practical and spiritual needs?