Friday, September 2, 2011

Paul’s healing handkerchiefs and aprons: A type and shadow of priesthood service

11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. (Acts 19:11-12)
It strikes me that one reason these miracles are exceptional (besides the obvious NEAT-O factor) was because of the unusual needs demonstrated. Paul didn’t go himself, so he must have been prevented either by more pressing needs or because the number urgently needing healing was so great and in a situation so precarious that he could not get to all of them in time. (Some kind of plague?) In this situation, it would make sense for him to go to who he could and then send handkerchiefs and aprons to those he could not get to immediately or at all.

This type of healing required great faith from him and from those who needed the healing. He had to have faith that God would honor this “act of sending” with the same healing as if he was present to bless the sick. The sick person similarly had to have faith that God would heal through the cloth tokens of Paul’s presence.

In a way, the handkerchiefs and aprons could be said to be a type of priesthood service. The handkerchiefs and aprons in and of themselves did not have power to heal. But when sent on a divine mission, invested with power from God, sent by one with authority, they could heal. In the same way, priesthood holders, in and of themselves don’t have this power. But when sent on a divine mission, they manifest the power of God to do what God would do if He were here. I’ve witnessed that.


LeAnn said...

I really enjoyed your thoughts today. I find the symbolism of the handkerchief an Apron interesting. I know that the Prophet Joseph Smith used the handkerchief in a healing moment. Great post!
Thanks for your comments on my blog.
Blessings to you and keep on enjoying the moments!

Curls said...

I had no idea about this story, thank you so much for sharing it.

Michaela Stephens said...

If you're interested in reading about the incident when Joseph Smith used his handkerchief to heal, you can read here:

It's a long page, but you'll find it under the year date 1839.

Ramona Gordy said...

I haven't read enough about the Apostle Paul.This is reminescent of when the woman with an issue of blood touched the hem of the garment of Jesus.
There was a belief in ancient times that the priesthood robes,contained "power" that was manifested from the "priest" who wore them. Maybe it is not always in manifestation, but can be when needed.Similiar to our wearing of garments that can provide protection when needed.
But then Jesus also healed people without having to show up, in particular the woman with the sick daughter. Faith healing.
In this day and time, faith healing can be extorted. I remember as a child, certain televangilists would sell prayer cloths. They would pray over a bunch of handkerchiefs and sell them to people. I am glad to know that their is a true basis for this.

Michaela Stephens said...

"televangilists would sell prayer cloths. They would pray over a bunch of handkerchiefs and sell them to people. I am glad to know that their is a true basis for this."

There's a basis for praying over the handkerchiefs, but the selling of them is clearly priestcraft.