In Restoring the Ministry of Jesus I named healing as one of the four things that Jesus did on a regular basis. When you read the gospels, you can’t get around the fact that Jesus often healed the sick. This was a normal part of His ministry.
Jesus also passed this healing ministry on to His followers: “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).
The book of Acts shows that the healing ministry of Jesus continued on with the early church. Supernatural healings were common, and people were even raised from the dead. But somewhere along the way, the church began to neglect this ministry and it began to fade. This was not God’s design. The healing ministry of Jesus was never meant to stop.
The below passage from Matthew’s gospel illustrates how important healing is to Jesus:
“Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.”
The disciples had been given the authority and power to heal, but they failed to cure the boy. Jesus was not happy about this. After his stunning rebuke, He healed the boy by casting a demon out of him. Like the disciples, we have been given authority to heal, but we are not exercising that authority.
Jesus is not OK with the inability of His disciples to heal the sick; we must see the healing ministry of Jesus restored. There are many believers and churches that are pursuing this and seeing God breakthrough with healing, signs, and wonders. But many more are ignoring or even resisting the ministry of healing.
We must no longer make excuses for our powerlessness or use theology to explain why more healings are not happening. Healing is important to Jesus; it must become important to the church.
Our lack of power in healing has many negative consequences. When healing is neglected, the kingdom is not advancing as it should be. The ministry of healing is connected with the message of the kingdom throughout the New Testament. And sometimes whole cities turned to God because of a miraculous healing (see Acts 9:32-35).
Another consequence is that our lack of power to heal has created a void that is being filled with counterfeits. Even believers are resorting to methods of healing that have their root in the occult or new age movement. Out of ignorance or desperation they try whatever might work, not realizing there could be a spiritual danger.
When healing ministry is neglected, people remain in sickness who should be healed. The boy that Jesus healed in the above passage would have remained in suffering if left to the disciples. Today, Jesus is not physically present to step in and save the day. He has given us the authority of His name and the power of the Holy Spirit, and we must follow His example and heal the sick.
This issue can no longer be swept under the rug and ignored. We must restore the healing ministry of Jesus!
Jake, thank you for your post. My church is doing a healing class, and the Spirit really convicted me to go.
I agree that we as a church body need to understand the importance of exemplifying all of Jesus, even if it stretches our faith. I was pondering and praying on the passage from Matthew that you quoted. Why do you think Jesus was so frustrated with the disciples?
I see challenges in my life that I have not overcome, and I wonder if Christ gets frustrated with me. I believe He does. Over and over I choose not to walk in faith and succumb to doubt and fear…and repetitive sin. I am not saying there is a time limit or that I should overcome within a certain time frame; but, when Christ tells me He has set me free, which He does in His Word, then I am too knowledgable to not engage in freedom. How frustrating to give someone the desires of their heart and watch them abuse it. Habitual sin becomes even more convicting in that light.
I believe we as a church don’t fully understand it is our responsibility to take ownership of healing and to heal. If we don’t, could it be sin? This might be kind of controversial, but a lack of faith is sin, so I wonder how you might approach this.
That is great your church is offering a class on healing and that you are stepping out in obedience to go.
I think that Jesus was so upset in the passage because He had already given the disciples authority to heal the sick and cast out demons in Matthew 10, and He had already demonstrated so many miracles. It was like they didn’t really have an excuse. I see this as a challenge to us, to take up our responsibility and really see the ministry of healing restored. Not to receive condemnation, but to be convicted that it is not OK for us to be powerless in this area. It is not OK for us to ignore this because it matters to Jesus. Does that make sense?
Yes, sir, it does! Thanks!