11 And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.” (Acts 19:11–12)
God can and does miraculous things. One of the most miraculous works of God is when He changes the unbeliever’s heart from a heart of stone into a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36). The true biblical conversion of a sinner into a saint is nothing less than miraculous.
God can also do miraculous works through ordinary items of life. Take today’s text for example. God chose to do miracles through the Apostle Paul. Luke records that “that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.”
Presumably these cloths or aprons may have been rags Paul used in his tent making trade. There is no indication in the text that Paul required money from the people in order for them to acquire one of these items, so that they would be healed of their diseases and demonization.
It is a shame that there are those today who seek to persuade gullible but sincere people that such rags and aprons still exist and can still heal. Many send in their money to televangelists who promise that the cloths they will send to financial contributors will in fact heal them, if the only believe.
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “The headbands and outer clothing are what Paul wore while making tents. The belief that mystical power could be so transmitted was widespread in the ancient world, e.g., believing that Peter’s shadow could heal (cf. 5:15; Matt. 9:21.”
Dr. John Walvoord explains that, “These feats of Paul parallel the miracles of Peter in Acts 5:15–16. Quite clearly God’s hand of blessing and endorsement was on Paul. Apparently the handkerchiefs and aprons were tangible symbols of God’s power through His apostle; these objects had no magical powers in themselves. Certainly this is no basis for people trying to repeat such miracles today. As seen many times in Acts, miracles confirmed the work of the apostles (2:43; 4:30; 5:12; 6:8; 8:6, 13; 14:3; 15:12; cf. 2 Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:3–4).”
Take special care to not be fooled by conniving hucksters who promise God’s blessing when they are only interested in your money for their creature comforts.
Soli deo Gloria!