11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: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.
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)
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.