By Timothy Jerry
Is healing the sick still a legitimate ministry of the church today or did the ministry of healing pass away when the last of Jesus original apostles died?
There are fairly large groups of Christians, who proclaim that God no longer performs supernatural miracles today. They believe and teach that healing of this sick was for the specific purpose of establishing the earthly ministry of Jesus as Messiah and his apostle’s authority. They believe that after the apostles of Jesus died, the healing ministry no longer continued.
Is there Scriptural evidence that healing passed away at the end of the early church?
I have heard a number of these teachers quote the following verse as evidence that the healing of the sick was waning toward the end of the early church age.
2 Timothy 4:20 (NKJV) Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick.
To suggest that this is proof of the passing away of the healing ministry is, of course, complete speculation. This is a clear example of superimposing something upon Scripture that it does not state or even imply. Just because Trophimus was not healed is not a sufficient biblical basis to establish an entire doctrine upon.
Was the healing of the sick only part of the earthly ministry of Jesus and his apostles?
One of the most common teachings of those who teach that healing and miracles have passed away is that Jesus and His apostles healed the sick as evidence of Christ’s ministry as Messiah, and to establish apostolic authority.
These teachers believe that the following passage and other similar proclamations were addressed exclusively to the apostolic ministry of Jesus earthly disciples.
John 14:8-12 (NKJV) “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. “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.
A great deal of the earthly ministry of Jesus and the early church was the healing of the sick. Yet according to these teachers, the above passage of doing the same works of Jesus, including healing the sick, applied only to His apostles.
So according to the reasoning of these teachers, we have no right to try to do what Jesus did in regards to healing the sick. In their opinion, to do so would be attempting to do something that was exclusively attributed to Jesus.
I have even heard some of these folks state, that to claim that we can do the works of Jesus, is to attribute something to ourselves that was designated to the divinity of Christ. So to preach a gospel message that includes healing is preaching another Jesus and therefore another gospel.
So in other words, all of the references of Jesus and His apostles healing the sick are inspiring and make us admire Jesus as our Lord, but that is as far as they go. We have absolutely no basis for expecting God to heal anyone we pray for or to even expect the miraculous today because these things all passed away with the early church.
Now some of these teachers will admit that there are rare instances where God in His sovereignty will choose to heal someone, but this is the exception, not the norm. Therefore we should have absolutely no expectancy for God to heal the sick or answer our petitions for healing.
Is it any wonder that so many Christians have absolutely no confidence or expectancy for God to heal today? This is why many Christians who actually pray for someone to be healed use the faith destroying prayer, “If it be thy will,” heal this person. There is not a shred of confidence or faith in such a prayer, because faith can only be exercised when we actually know what God’s will is. 1 John 5:14-15
If miracles and healing have occurred since the death of the apostles, wouldn’t this be evidence that the age of miracles and healing have not passed away?
The Reverend John G Lake took the healing ministry to Africa, where people would come to there house by the droves to receive healing. http://www.jglm.org/ He latter opened the Healing Rooms in Seattle, WA where people would come and receive ministry for healing. Today, Curry Blake is using the training manual written by brother Lake to train people to heal the sick, with amazing results.
The Reverend FF Bosworth also ran such healing rooms and received testimonies from thousands of people who were miraculously healed. He latter wrote one of greatest apologetic works ever written on the subject of divine healing, Christ the Healer. https://www.amazon.com/Christ-Healer-F-Bosworth/dp/0800794575 http://healingandrevival.com/BioBosworth.htm
Numerous people throughout the ages have mightily used by God in proclaiming the healing message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, with thousands upon thousands of incredible results. Christians like TL & Daisy Osborne, https://osborn.org/about/tl-osborn Smith Wigglesworth http://www.smithwigglesworth.com and Reinhard Bonnke https://youtu.be/MBtBHZtdU78 is just a small sample of those who God has used to heal the sick in more recent years. http://www1.cbn.com/features/reinhard-bonnke-tells-of-nigerian-man-raised-from-the-dead
My own church has hosted Bruce Van Natta on several occasions. A former diesel mechanic from Rudolph, WI who was raised from the dead and miraculously healed by God after having several major arteries severed.
An honest examination of numerous testimonies of miracles and supernatural healing present an ample body of evidence to the fact that the healing ministry of Jesus continues today, through His body of Believers throughout the world.
Why did Jesus and the apostles heal the sick?
While the miraculous ministry of Jesus did serve to establish His authority and legitimacy as Messiah, this was not the only reason that He ministered healing.
If Jesus only healed the sick to establish His legitimacy as Messiah then Jesus could have just performed a few spectacular miracles, such as raising Lazarus from the dead or the feeding of the five thousand and this would have certainly been sufficient.
Jesus healed the sick because He was moved with compassion.
To teach that healing the sick is no longer part of the ministry of the church, is the equivalent of saying that God’s mercy and compassion are no longer extended to people suffering from sickness and disease.
Mark 1:40-42 (NKJV) Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.
Like many people today, this leper had no doubt that Jesus had the power to heal him. What he questioned was Christ’s willingness to heal him. Jesus demonstrated the heart of the Father toward this man’s suffering, “I am willing; be cleansed.”
I have never met a Christian who doubts the ability of God to heal them, yet I have ministered to many who doubted God’s willingness to do so.
Unfortunately, a great deal of this lack of confidence in God’s willingness to heal has stemmed from a constant unscriptural indoctrination against divine healing streaming from many well-meaning Bible teachers who are sadly in error concerning this issue.
Sickness is oppression from the devil.
Acts 10:38 (NKJV) “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
The above Scripture gives us a clear statement of God’s view of sickness and disease. There was no sickness in the earth until sin came into the world. We can clearly see that sickness and disease are the foul offspring of their parent sin. Therefore sickness and disease were never part of God’s original intent for people. They are of the devil and are a destroyer of human lives.
Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
If Jesus Christ is the same today as He was yesterday, wouldn’t this mean that His ministry of healing the sick is the same? If we are the body of Christ and His earthly ambassadors then we should expect the authority that Jesus delegated to His church to flow in our lives today.
Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV) And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 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; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
If the authority of Jesus was only delegated to the apostles, then the great commission was only delegated to them as well, but we know that we are all commissioned to preach Christ to the lost.
The healing ministry of Jesus is the same as it was in the early church, just as the requirements for salvation and being a disciple of Jesus Christ are the same. Therefore we can declare the healing of the sick as part of the gospel of Jesus Christ today.