Let’s be gloriously blunt: the ministry of physical healing was never intended to be an option in the Christian church. One of the most prevalent commands by Jesus to the disciples was to heal the sick. If there were no other scriptural support, this fact alone would make the healing ministry qualify as a viable part of the Great Commission.
When Jesus laid out His charge before the disciples, it included “Teach them to observe (obey) all that I have commanded you…” (Mathew 28:20). One of these commandments is recorded in Luke, Chapter 1, as He sent out the seventy followers on a mission assignment. Paraphrased, He said, “While you are there, heal the sick!”
What was the real purpose or significance of Pentecost? We get a clear answer by observing the course of events after the Holy Spirit fell on that exciting day. Before His ascension, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit for the clear purpose of empowering the Body of Christ – the church – to carry on the same ministry He practiced while physically present on earth. According to our text Scripture, the church would be involved with an even greater ministry! WOW! Do you believe it?
This introduces an interesting question: By what authority was the healing ministry eliminated from some main-line church ministries, and declared to be “not for today”? It is certain that directive did not originate with the Holy Spirit or the Word of God. The reality is, ministering to the temporal needs of God’s people is a definite responsibility of the Church and should be an objective second only to salvation.
It is a historical fact that the successors to the twelve apostles carried forward the ministry and power of the Church of the Book of Acts. In 165 AD, Justin Martyr wrote a vivid description of demons being cast out by the power of the Holy Spirit, and believers routinely being healed in the mighty Name of Jesus.
Irenaeus, writing in 200 AD, “Those who are in truth His disciples, (are) receiving grace from Him, in His name to perform miracles … by laying their hands on them they are made whole. Yea, moreover, as I have said, the dead have been raised up and remained with us for many years!”
Origen and Clement wrote exciting reports of the power of the second and third century church. Then moving on down in the timeline, documents are prevalent to show that men like Martin Luther and John Wesley had strong commitments to the healing power of Christ, and they practiced it.
But in recent centuries we have gone the opposite direction. We have even come to the point where some Christians equate suffering in sickness with suffering for “Christ’s sake”. There is no comparison. Sickness is often described by those same people as the “cross we must bear.” Not so! The cross that Jesus invites us to take up and carry is taken up voluntarily, and we can lay it down if we so choose.
Then of course, Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” usually surfaces to add fuel to doubt: Why didn’t God heal Paul?” is the usual query. The answer is simple … Paul wasn’t sick! Nothing within the context of 2 Corinthians 12 even hints at a physical problem. The scripture states clearly that the “thorn” was “a messenger (angel) of satan sent to buffet me.”
The great church leaders like Chrystosym, Augustine, Luther, Calvin and others, all referred to Paul’s “thorn” as repeated and continual nagging and harassment incited by satan and his messengers to demean Paul in the eyes of the Gentiles he was trying to win to Christ. The sickness concept is strictly man’s invention, and cannot be found in church teaching prior to the 20th century.
Here’s a painful thought: because of this erroneous doctrine, just think how many of God’s people have actually allowed Paul to stand in the way of their healing. It would break the great Apostle’s heart.
Beloved, Jesus, our Lord and Messiah, is interested in you as a whole person. He shed His Blood for your salvation, and took agonizing whip lashes on His back for your healing. He has not only promised to heal you; He has already accomplished that healing. So cast aside your doubts and believe in Him to make you whole!
Then take His healing word and His healing power to the people around you who need it. Remember our text scripture and its promise: “He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall He do also.”
You have a healing ministry. Now go fulfill it!
(The following article is a guest post by my wife Pamela. She has been a Bible teacher and worship leader in the Body of Christ for many years, and the Lord often gives her anointed messages to share. We both trust that this lesson will encourage your faith for healing. Ted)
“Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean.” (Matthew 8:2). This is what the leper said to Jesus. Then Jesus replied in verse 3, “I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” This is what we are after: Jesus making us clean and whole. How did He do it? In this case, He put forth His hand and touched the man as he said, “I will, be thou clean.” And as the leper had asked – Jesus made him clean. How simple and how wonderful!
This healing work of Jesus is not unlike the work of creation in the beginning. As Hebrews 1:2 tells us, God “hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” Also in John 1:3 we’re reminded, “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” I so like it that the writers used the word made. And we know how God madethe worlds: He said, “Light be,” and there was light. He spoke into existence everything that now exists. Just as the Son of God did when he made people well, spoke their healing into existence.
In John 8: 31-32 , Jesus knew that those who were hearing Him were becoming His disciples, so he told them, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The only truth there is, is the Word of God. It has within itself the power to make us free. Free from what? You name it. Anything, including sickness, because, Jesus said it is the truth that you know that makes you free – and the way to know the truth is to continue in that Word. Being made free and being made whole are definitely connected.
In Matthew 9:22 Jesus told the woman who had the issue of blood, “Daughter, be of good cheer, thy faith hath made thee whole. (The word translated “whole” is a Greek word meaning, heal, preserve, do well, save, be whole.) And the woman was made whole from that hour.” Here is a fantastic story! This woman who had had enough of doctors who could not help her, (Luke 8:43 and Mark 5:26) decided that Jesus could and would make her whole. In Mark 5:36 Jesus said, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” Others were also made whole, as in Matthew 14:34-36: In Geneseret men “brought unto him all that were diseased, and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.” ( In Greek – cured, preserved, rescued, saved thoroughly). That is a wonderful added revelation – their wholeness was perfect!
In the case of the woman whose daughter was vexed with a devil, she pressed into Jesus even when he put her off. Finally, Jesus said, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.” Thank the Lord for such fast results.
And there were the ten lepers whom Jesus cleansed. They cried out to Jesus for mercy. One returned to thank Him and Jesus acknowledged that it was his faith that made him whole.(Luke 17:19) However, in the case of the woman who had the spirit of infirmity eighteen years and was bowed together, Jesus saw her, called her to him and said, “Woman thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.” (Luke 13:11-13) She did not approach Him, as the lepers did, but He approached her. How wonderful to know He is reaching out to us – approaching us to loose us from our infirmities!
In John 5:5-9 Jesus approached the man who had an infirmity thirty-eight years and asked him, “Will thou be made whole?” When the man said, “While I am coming, another steppeth down before me,” then Jesus knew he wanted to be made whole. Do we want to be made whole? Let Jesus know.
From all of these narratives, it looks as though being made whole was an immediate thing – something that the Lord says and does so completely without delay. What is more, in Acts 3:1-16, we see His disciples, Peter and John healing the lame man at the temple. In his explanation, Peter says, “And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong.”(The Greek word here means establish, strength, make strong). Faith is a now word.
As in Abraham’s case God said , “I have made thee a father of many nations.” (Romans 4:17). It was God’s doing altogether, and Abraham did his part: he believed what God said to him without wavering. “He staggered not at the promise of God.” We continue to abide in His Word concerning healing, and we become, “fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” So like Abraham, we already see ourselves healed just as he already saw himself the father of many nations.
In Romans 5:19 it says, “So by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (In Greek “made” means to place down permanently, appoint, be, make, ordain, set) In Romans 6:18, “Being then made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness.”(In Greek, “made free” literally means to exempt from moral liability, deliver, make free). How long did it take us to be made righteous and made free from sin? How long does it take to get born again? Just as quickly as it takes for you to believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is your Lord and Savior. New birth does not take long. And you are made righteous – made free from sin. So, being made whole from disease or sickness is just as quick.
In II Corinthians 5:21 Paul says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” In Galatians 3:13 Paul states, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” When did God make Jesus to be sin and a curse? Definitely, on the cross. And he made us the righteousness of God and redeemed us from the curse on the cross in Him. Side note: how long did that take? About 6 hours. I say that to reinforce that healing is NOW, just as our salvation which was accomplished 2,000 years ago, is NOW.
Ephesians 2:5-6 says, “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are savedJ and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” (In Greek: to take a seat in company with, make sit down together) When did this happen? At the time of His resurrection and/or ascension. Colossians 1:12-14 further adds, “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son; in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (In Greek “made us meet” means to make able, qualify) Again, this all took place at Jesus’ death and resurrection. God had us in mind all the time, as Jesus did all the suffering and then the mighty resurrection. It was all accomplished in Jesus.
And so now, believers, be made whole. Jesus is telling you to; Peter and John tell you to; Paul tells you to; and every person today who prays for you or exhorts you in this truth. As we mix our faith with this truth, it becomes reality in our bodies. And from what I’ve learned in my study, it happens immediately. We do not accept discouragement if all symptoms do not leave immediately. After all, it took the fig tree 12-24 hours to dry up. But my goal, beloved, is to receive it immediately and have those symptoms leave as well! Let’s reach that goal together in Jesus’ Name.
Over the past few weeks, some other faithful Christian ministers and I have begun to unite our efforts for the purpose of creating a brand new blog site that will be devoted to helping people receive healing from the Lord Jesus Christ. There are hundreds of thousands of people in the world today who are sick and suffering. Sometimes, they can get the help they need from medical science, but more often than not – especially in the case of truly life-threatening diseases and conditions – they can get only a brief respite from symptoms and long, painful, treatments that carry no promises of complete recovery.
I have been in ministry for over 60 years, and have been privileged to teach people the truth about how much God wants them well, and how He offers that healing through the finished work of Jesus Christ. I have seen God’s Word and the power of His Spirit deliver people from some of the most ghastly physical maladies and restore them to perfect health. So have the other ministers that I am united with in this effort. So have scores of great teachers and ministers of the Gospel from the last two centuries.
But people have to know the truth before it can set them free. So that means they have to know the truth about healing from the Lord before it can set them free from sickness and infirmity. This new site, “Healing From Jesus,” is dedicated to helping people KNOW – and helping them RECEIVE health from the Lord. The site will include teaching articles from several different anointed ministers and Bible teachers, links to other sites that are making an effort to help people receive healing, and some audio and video materials that will add to the faith-building experience of visiting the site.
So if you know anyone who is in need of healing of any kind – for body, mind, emotions – or who needs deliverance from addictions or other debilitating conditions – please let them know about “Healing From Jesus.” Give them the opportunity to take advantage of the ministry offered on this new site. Here’s the link: Healing From Jesus
“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him.” Acts 10:38 (NAS).
If you have ever heard or been told that Jesus Christ no longer heals today, you were told something that God gave no man, no church, no ecclesiastical body the authority to speak. Likewise, if you have been taught that the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit are no longer in operation and that all of those manifestations came to an end with the closing of the apostolic age, then you were taught something that is not found anywhere in God’s Word. Nor does it hold up to recorded church history. What the Bible does clearly teach is that God sent His Son Jesus into the world to make complete provision for man’s redemption so that man through Him can have abundant life — in body, mind and spirit.
The scriptural evidence for this truth is overwhelming, and it cries out for God’s people to grasp it. However, to a considerable degree we have disregarded and ignored it for a tragically long time. If we believe the records of the Gospel writers, all of them — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — then we cannot deny the evident truth that Jesus considered physical healing an integral part of His mission on earth. With the exception of time devoted to Holy Week, the first three Gospels devote at least one-half of their content to Jesus’ ministry of healing. One Biblical scholar estimates that not less than 75% of the Gospels deals with Jesus providing for the immediate needs of the people He encountered — physical healing being the most prevalent.
And nowhere in Scripture do we find Jesus failing or refusing to heal anyone who came to Him for that purpose. The Scripture states repeatedly, “He healed them all!” There is not a single shred of evidence in God’s Word that Jesus ever sent anyone away sick because “it was not God’s will” for them to be healed; or that it was “God’s will” that they remain sick.
It is interesting to note that every time Jesus spoke of the source of sickness, He mentioned Satan, because it is Satan who does the oppressing. Our text Scripture states without reservation that “Jesus of Nazareth went about healing all who were oppressed of the devil.” John tells us in his first Epistle, chapter 3 verse 8, “…The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (NAS). Sin and sickness are both part of the kingdom of the devil that Jesus came into this world to destroy. Who would deny today that Jesus still destroys sin? Who would qualify the scriptural fact that Jesus today removes sin by His shed Blood? Nobody! And neither can anybody accurately deny that He still removes sickness by the same power.
No beloved, none of the evil perpetrated by the devil is out of the range of the cleansing power of Jesus Christ and His shed Blood. “Jesus the same yesterday, today and yes, forever.” (Hebrews 13:8 NAS). Just as He healed all who came to Him while He was on earth, He will, through the same believing faith, give His healing touch to you who need it today. Do not let man rob you of this blessing. If you must choose to believe God’s Word or man’s traditions, choose God’s Word and BE HEALED!
(Artwork: © Brett Snyder, christprints.com)
The ministry of healing of the physical body did not have its beginning with Jesus Christ while He was here on earth in what is known as the New Testament period. The history of divine healing dates back to the Book of Genesis and is as old as the Biblical record of man. In Genesis 20 Abraham prayed for the wives of a heathen king, and in answer to that prayer of faith, God healed them of barrenness.
During the Mosaic dispensation, God met the children of Israel at Marah just as they crossed the Red Sea on dry ground. After He had satisfied their thirst by telling Moses to take specific action to sweeten the bitter waters, Jehovah God established a Covenant of Healing with His people Israel. “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God and will do what is right in His sight, and will listen to and obey Him, and keep His statutes, I will not permit to be put upon you any of the diseases which I have permitted to be brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord your Healer.” Exodus 15:26 (Direct Hebrew Translation.)
This was a Covenant, and unlike a contract or gentlemen’s agreement, it was an unbreakable commitment of Almighty God. Israel lived under that Covenant of Healing for 450 years. In that day the heathen population around them had their medical rituals and cult practitioners, but the covenant nation of Israel trusted in their God — Jehovah Rapha, “The God That Healeth Thee.”
It should be noted that the heathen medical practices of that day was somewhat different from the medical profession of today. Today, for example, countless physicians and medical specialists freely acknowledge that only Almighty God can heal, and through His gifts of wisdom and ability, they believe they are instruments He uses to bring about healing to His people.
In the decades following God’s original healing covenant with His people, wherever the faithful remnant could be found, Jehovah Rapha did not fail them. You see the Covenant remained intact and effective to those who believed. When Jesus came into the world, He took man’s position, and with stripes from the Roman whips across His back to pay for our sickness and infirmities, he went to the Cross and forever sealed the Covenant of Healing. Consequently, every born again child of God today can be firmly established in that kind of faith and put the Covenant of Healing to work for themselves and their loved ones.
However, your house of faith must be built on the solid rock of God’s Word, and a good knowledge of the teaching in that Word about our God who heals and wants you well. That knowledge alone will excite your faith into action. David reports in the 105th Psalm that when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea to freedom, there was not one feeble or sick one among them. God had healed them for their journey.
Just to compare, that is tantamount to the Medical Director of Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis calling a press conference and announcing, “There is not one single sick person in all of St. Louis or St. Louis County .” Do you get the force of that? God healed and kept His people by His mighty power if they would just hold on to their part of the Covenant by faith. Those blessed people rested in such trust and confidence in God and His promise, that they not only were healed, but lived in that wonderful state of continuing health as long as they obeyed and remained faithful to their part of the covenant.
When Jesus walked out from the waters of baptism, full of the anointing of the Holy Spirit He immediately set about under the mantle of God’s Covenant to make it “a better Covenant” in this new Age of Grace. Acts 10:38 says, “You know of Jesus of Nazareth how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him.”(NAS) Jesus told the people that God’s time was then — just like today; it is right now! The Covenant of Healing was not only still in effect, with Jesus at the helm, it was moving with tremendous impact. All the boundaries were now down, and just before His ascension, Jesus gave specific instructions recorded by the Apostle Mark in the 16th chapter of his Gospel: “And He (Jesus) said unto them, go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation … and these signs will accompany those who have believed … they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.”(NAS)
And just who did God intend to pursue this Covenant ministry? You, and you and you and me — and everyone else who hears these words — and is born again and believes Him. For almost 400 years after Jesus ascended back to the Father, the faithful church remained strong in Jesus and the Covenant reality that those stripes He bore were for our healing. And they trusted Him for the healing of their bodies. Down through the centuries, and even in current history, great men of God preached this truth without compromise, and only heaven has record of the multiplied testimonies that prove God’s faithfulness to His Covenant of Healing.
The blessings of God are for every believer, and among those blessings is healing for the body. Remember, faith is not manifested in just shouts or yelling or dancing or other physical actions. Those things are wonderful, but there is something stronger. It is that set faith that takes hold and refuses to let go of God in the Name of Jesus Christ, who paid the full price to bring us physical healing. When you operate in that kind of faith, you will see the power of God begin to move, not only in you, but through you to others in need; and all to the Glory of God.
Does God heal? Absolutely. The Covenant is still in force, and God speaks to us in 3 John 2: “Beloved I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”(NAS)
Go For It!