It is undeniable what the message of this passage is – there were many signs and wonders done by the apostles, and all who came to them were healed (cured). If you’re bored of me wriggling around the healing and cure issue, you’ll be glad to know I’m not going to do that here – everyone got healed. Personally I don’t see why that makes us think that everyone will be healed or cured today, but that’s another issue.
What interests me today is the idea that people felt like the shadow of Peter would heal them. It’s similar to the sense of the woman with the persistent bleed who was desperate to touch the hem of the garment of Jesus, and yet, if anything, the sense of faith and trust in Peter’s power is somehow given even greater weight here. I wonder why that is, and why the people misunderstood what Jesus had done. Perhaps the apostles didn’t really know what they were doing themselves. After all, it’s not long since their friend and master had died, risen again, and then disappeared in a cloud, and here they were, finding favour in the sight of all the people and inspiring fear and faith in equal measure. My guess, and it is a guess, is that they had no idea at all what they were doing but they simply tried to be obedient to what they felt God was asking them to do. Perhaps, too, they enjoyed the sense of power and authority that had suddenly come to them in this time of fear.
Sometimes we can be so keen to understand everything, to have a workable theology, a systematic theology if you will, that we have to make sense of everything before we do anything. The problem with that is though that the Christian faith makes no “sense” at all, and yet the evidence of Christian history is that the claims of Christ to be the saviour that the world has longed for and needed desperately, are true.