Acts 19:11,12 – God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out.
Could it be that special times and maybe special places require special displays of God’s miracle powers? I think that is absolutely true. Ephesus was a special place and this was a special season in God’s providential plan. Ephesus stands out for two reasons. First, it was characterized by being a stronghold of demonic activity. It was the center of the worship of Diana and the famous temple of Diana was in Ephesus. Secondly, it was a commercial hub and had social and economic influence in the region.
God’s display of power here was a huge part of touching this region for Christ. The famous seven churches of Asia were birthed in this season. Here is how Matthew Henry describes these special miracles.
“They were special miracles—Dynameis ou tychousas. God exerted powers that were not according to the common course of nature: Virtutes non vulgares. Things were done which could by no means be ascribed either to chance or second causes. Or, they were not only (as all miracles are) out of the common road, but they were even uncommon miracles, such miracles as had not been wrought by the hands of any other of the apostles. The opposers of the gospel were so prejudiced that any miracles would not serve their turn; therefore God wrought virtutes non quaslibet (so they render it), something above the common road of miracles. It was not Paul that wrought them (What is Paul, and what is Apollos?) but it was God that wrought them by the hand of Paul. He was but the instrument, God was the principal agent.”
Miracles were part of the equation with the spread of Christianity but in Ephesus the Lord stepped up what He was doing. It started with a prayer meeting when twelve new believers were filled with the Spirit, spoke in tongues, and prophesied. It increased in intensity over the next two years as Paul had daily meetings with the growing church. Finally, Luke said extraordinary miracles began to break out. These were similar to those that happened when touching Jesus’s garment or Peter’s shadow. Many were healed and delivered from demonic activity just by coming in contact with pieces of clothes taken from Paul’s body. Maybe we are entering another one of those special seasons today. We have seen some pretty special, life changing miracles recently. I think there are more on the horizon.