Christ’s commission to heal the sick

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The ministry of Jesus as a commission to heal the sick

commission to heal the sickHealing the sick was an integral part of Jesus’ ministry. In most places where the Gospels speak of his ministry, they also mention healing that accompanied it. Christ’s earthly ministry can never be justly accused of mere religiosity. We can safely say that the ministry of Jesus consisted much more of action and power than preaching. The amount of time that Jesus invested in training his disciples in practical services far outweighs that of public discourse and sermonizing. If Christ is the model for Christian ministry then Christians must imitate the example that Christ left for them. The ministry of healing should never be peripheral in the Church since it was  central in Christ’s own ministry.

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23)

Jesus commissioned his 12 disciples to heal the sick

And when He had called his twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:1, 5, 7-8)

Jesus commissioned the 70 to heal the sick:

After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before his face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ (Luke 10:1-2, 9)

The commission to heal the sick is for all Christians

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)

For this reason, we minister to the sick and “those that believe” in Jesus’ name with the laying on of hands. This certainly includes each member of the body of Christ!

The preparation for ministering healing to others is very important as well as delicate. Each person that ministers must be a clean vessel for God’s use! God accepts anyone, but He does not use just anyone. Pray at all times whenever possible!

Pray in the spirit before and during ministry

You must fervently pray in the spirit as Paul encouraged and specifically ask God to be with you and to help you. God is the one who heals. If He does not answer your prayer, then the person for whom you are praying will not receive healing.

Reserve a time for extending forgiveness

Reserve time to ask the Holy Spirit if there are any offenses or sins committed against you that you have not yet forgiven. If there are, forgive once and for all, with all your heart.

Now King Herod heard of Him, for his name had become well-known. And he said, “John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.” Others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is the Prophet, or like one of the prophets.” (Mark 6:14-15)

Eliminate un-confessed sin

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any un-confessed sin that may exist in your life. If He reveals anything, sincerely repent and ask for God’s forgiveness.

Pray for the sick in love and compassion

Ask God to pour out his love to those for whom you pray. A ministry time operated in love will positively affect the sick person, even if their body is not healed. If the person for whom you are praying has doubts about God’s love for them this ministry time could be their first experience with the love of God.

Understand the sovereignty of God in healing

Be aware that physical healing can take different paths; it can come instantaneously, gradually and in stages, while you are praying. Healing can come after repeated ministry times; or it may not come at all. God is sovereign! In his own wisdom, he heals when he wants, how he wants, and whomever he wants. Do not be discouraged if God does not heal someone to whom you have been ministering. Our job is to pray. God is responsible for what happens when we pray.

Faith to heal the sick

Do not worry if the person receiving prayer appears to have no faith for healing. Faith helps, but God sometimes heals sick people who do not believe that he can or will heal them. (Sometimes not even the person praying for the sick person has faith and God still heals them.) Although God promises very little without faith, the power of God is not limited by the fragile faith of men!

There are no rules for healing the sick

Be flexible. There is no universal rule of how to pray for the sick that applies in all cases. There is nothing special about using certain words. The Holy Spirit is the only safe guide; He can guide you in different ways, from time to time. Practice hearing his voice and following his direction. The Holy Spirit can ask you to pray for something that the person has not even mentioned. In this case, include this in your prayer; however be careful and sensitive!

Get clear and objective feedback as you pray

Do not be afraid to ask if the person feels better or not. You must learn to overcome concern for your own reputation so that you can be a clean channel for God’s use. You are a minister and God is the agent of healing. He is the Lord and you are the servant.

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Christ’s commission to heal the sick

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Christ commissions all believers to heal the sick

heal the sickJesus commanded His disciples to do the same thing that He did: preach that the kingdom of heaven is near and prove the truth of His preaching by healing the sick. He described this commission in Matthew, as follows:

And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. […] These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. […] And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:1, 5, 7-8)

He said something similar in the gospel of Luke:

Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. (Luke 9:1-2, 6)

Similarly, He sent the 70 to preach in the cities where He himself intended to go, with the same message, saying to them:

Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ (Luke 10:8, 9)

At the last Communion, Jesus said several things to His disciples that are every bit as applicable to us today, as they were to His disciples at the time that He said them. Among other things, Jesus told them:

Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:11-14)

The Great Commission, as described in Matthew 28:19-20, and originally spoken to the eleven disciples, and accepted in all places as being a commission to all those who believe, was articulated by Jesus when He said:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; (Matthew 28:19-20)

Jesus sent His disciples to heal the sick, cast out demons and preach repentance, saying, “The kingdom of God is at hand”. We recognize that His words in Matthew 28 are a commission for all those who believe. The fact that this commission is for all believers is also clear in Mark 16, where Jesus said:

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15, 17, 18)

Observe that the signs will accompany “those who believe”. This not only includes those who believed in the days of the first apostles because, if the commission to preach the gospel is still valid, the sign of laying hands on the sick for their healing will also continue to be valid to all those who believe today.