This narrative tells of another episode in God's plan to ensure that nobody in Jerusalem forgot about Jesus. Although the religious leaders killed Him, God gave Him new life. When they persecuted the apostles, the church grew. And so many sick people were brought into the streets, lying on straw mats, hoping that Peter would pass by and the Spirit of Jesus in him would be powerful to heal them.
Word spread outside the city too as Jesus had predicted (Acts 1:8). There was a significant movement of physically, mentally and spiritually sick people which was impossible to ignore. God was blessing those who came to the apostles for healing in Jesus' Name; He was also allowing jealousy and anger to boil up in the religious leaders (Acts 5:17-18). It was all part of His plan to precipitate another confrontation, in which Jesus and His disciples would be vindicated (Acts 5:41-42).
Torment is horrible. It is the anguish of mind which comes from persistent physical, mental or spiritual pain. It is a work of Satan to tempt individuals into thinking that they are totally isolated and their situation is outside God's help: they have no hope of relief or prospect of joy. But the love of God and the power of the Name of Jesus not only brings release from torment but also healing (1 John 4:18). In this narrative all the sick people were healed.
How the evil One loves to mimic God's eternal judgement in which the torment is real (Luke 16:19-31). Sometimes God allows a little taste of torment to encourage us to trust Him and receive His grace (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). We may not understand how God is working, especially when wonderful spiritual advances are followed by trouble and persecution (Philippians 1:29). But God knows what He is doing. Neither miracles nor torment are permanent for God's children; but Jesus, His Word and His kingdom will endure for ever. So whether you are well or sick, tormented or joyful - trust the Lord today because He knows what He is doing to bless you and glorify His Name.
© Dr Paul Adams