“They will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” – Mark 16:18
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We’re still in the book of Acts studying restoration of New Testament Christianity. In Acts chapter 28, we see Paul, presumably, getting bit by a snake on the island of Malta where he and the others found safety after being shipwrecked.
The viper fastened to Paul’s hand, “But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm” (Acts 28:5). The people thought that he would swell up and die and when he didn’t, they thought that Paul was a god (recall Acts 14:11). Yet this was a fulfillment of the promise that Jesus made to his disciples in Mark 16:18 that His disciples would take up serpents and not be harmed.
This scripture is also fulfilled when Paul healed the father of Publius, who had allowed Paul and the others to come into his home. “And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him” (Acts 28:8).
Once the Maltans saw this, they all brought their sick to Paul to be healed (v. 10). It’s important to note here that the miraculous healings and signs that Paul and the other disciples performed in the first century have ceased.
If you are a Christian and get bit by a venomous snake today, it will harm you. If you are a disciple of Christ today, you do not have the power to miraculously heal people’s illnesses. No person does. Miracles of that nature have ended. They were only present for a limited time.
Miracles were done so that people would believe in Christ (John 4:48; 2:23). We have the perfect, revealed Word of God, so we no longer need signs and wonders (1 Cor. 13:8). That’s why the miracles that Christ did were written about in the Scriptures (John 20:30-31).
Any person claiming to do miracles today is deceiving others. Those TV shows with people getting up walking out of wheelchairs are not showing evidence of miracles. If some person on earth really had the power to heal sick people today, everyone would be flocking to that person, just like people flocked to Jesus.
While no person on earth has the power to heal today or to do miraculous signs and wonders, Jesus Christ has all power. He has the power to save you and me. All it requires is obedience: belief in Him, repentance, confession of His name, water baptism, and living faithful until death.
Will you come to Jesus who has the power to save and forgive you?
“Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” – Hebrews 1:3
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