HEALING & EVANGELISM IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

healing and evangelismIn the ministry of Jesus, many came to Him to hear Him preach and teach because of the healings that He performed along with His preaching ministry. Among many other examples, John wrote about the occasion a little before the feeding of the 5000:

After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. (John 6:1-2)

The reality is that the multitudes gathered because of the miracles of healing and while this did not overly impress the Lord since he knew what was in man, many believed because of the Word. Therefore he not only achieved the temporal benefit of healing in these people, through the attracting effect of the healings, he was able to gain their attention in order to minister the Word and bring them to salvation.

And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” (John 4:39, 41-42)

Jesus said that the people should believe in Him because of the signs and wonders that accompanied His ministry. While signs and wonders do not promote spiritual maturity, they certainly provide a platform for the preaching of the gospel.

If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” (John 10:37, 38)

We also find how healing affects an evangelistic ministry in Acts, after the ascension of Jesus. In Acts 3, we read about the lame man who Peter healed at the Temple gate.

Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed. (Acts 3:11)

Peter preached about repentance and forsaking sins. In Acts 9:35, we read about the results of the healing of Aeneas, in Lydda, who was a bedridden paralytic for eight years. All of those who lived in the region saw him and converted to the Lord. In Joppa, Peter resurrected Dorcas from the dead.

And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord. (Acts 9:42)

After preaching without success to the intellectuals in Athens, Paul went to Corinth where he planted a church of vital importance. Later he wrote the following words to the Corinthians:

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

HEALING AND EVANGELISM TODAY

C. Peter Wagner, professor at Fuller theological seminary, has studied church growth history in recent years, has discussed the subject of his book entitled: How to have a healing ministry without making your church sick. Wagner comments on the relationship between church growth and divine healing. He states that, generally the greatest church growth in the United States is found in those churches were divine healing plays a regular part in the ministry. He still affirms that the extraordinary and long revivals in China and Argentina are supported in large part by churches where healing is part of the normal ministry!

In 2001, visitors to a province in China, where in a few years there was an increase in the number of believers from several thousand to 500,000, were informed by the local pastor that between 80% and 90% of the new converts came to Christ as a result of receiving healing or by seeing someone who was healed.

We can conclude that not only did Jesus see healing as a central part of His earthly ministry, but also an essential part of what He is doing through the Holy Spirit today.

Advertisements