It’s Halloween…a day of funky costumes and spooky ghost stories about shadowy figures lurking behind hidden doorways.
Usually I scoff at Halloween superstitions. But today my reading of Acts 5 brought to light a true supernatural story about shadows.
Supernatural happenings were popping up all over the place. A man who had been crucified mysteriously disappeared from his tomb and then was found to be alive by at least 500 witnesses. This same man was lifted up into the heavens, leaving behind disciples who had been touched by what are described as “tongues of flames” of the Holy Spirit. These men then went out and spread the good news about Jesus being the Messiah to anyone who would hear it, defying the religious rulers and authorities who ordered them to stop preaching in Jesus’ name. Everywhere they went, people were healed of diseases and came to know the Lord.
These disciples became so popular that crowds came to them. Sick people were carried to sit or lie by the side of the roads where Peter and his disciples walked to and from the temple where they preached the truth about Jesus.
As a result of the apostles’ work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by. Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evils spirits, and they were all healed.
Most of the time the word “shadow” has a negative connotation. When I take the dog outside on a cold day, I’d rather stand in the sunshine than in the shadow of the house. Shadows make me shiver. On a hot day, I don’t stand in the shadow of the tree — I stand in the shade.
Yet this account tells us that there was real power in Peter’s shadow. Multiple people were healed of their diseases simply by sitting in the shadow of one who had walked with the Lord.
It’s important to realize that Peter was not perfect — he denied Christ three times after he was arrested. He had been an ordinary everyman whose name had been Simon until Jesus gave him the name The Rock. I wonder if he knew that one day the Lord would use his shadow for miraculous works…
One thing is certain: the man whose shadow fell on the sick and healed them was bold for Christ. He stood up to the ACLU of his times and pronounced the hard truth no matter what the consequences.
“We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging him on a cross.1 Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him.”
Does your shadow cast a power by the Holy Spirit? I think today is a good day to think about those unseen powers in the spiritual realm…real power like Peter’s power, which comes from God above, to be used for Good, not Evil. Now that’s a supernatural story to beat a haunted house, any day!