Did you know that one of God’s names is Jehovah Rapha? It means the Lord who heals, cures, and makes whole. It’s in God’s nature to heal His people.
Today is the final blog in our series on replicating Jesus. We’ve noted so far that Jesus proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom and taught in various synagogues throughout the cities. Proclamation and teaching are essential ministries for us to replicate, but the Bible also indicates that Jesus spent His time “healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people [emphasis mind]” (Matt. 4:23). In fact, Jesus healed everyone who came to Him and asked to be healed, and on a few occasions He healed everyone within a city. Jesus not only gave His followers authority, but commissioned them to fulfill specific assignments. One of the assignments was, “heal the sick” (Matt. 10:8). And His disciples did just that, they “were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them” (Mark 6:13). Jesus appointed seventy others, besides His disciples, to enter the cities and “heal those in it who [were] sick” (Luke 10:9). Then He commissioned all His followers, including you and me, to “lay hands on the sick” so that they will recover (Mark 16:18). By healing the sick, we’re not just replicating Jesus, but we are actually fulfilling what He commissioned us to do.
What challenges me most about the healing ministry is that Jesus didn’t tell us to merely pray for the sick; rather, He told us to heal them! I admit that I have many more questions than answers when it comes to healing. I can’t explain why some people are instantly healed while others are healed progressively, and other people never experience physical healing this side of eternity. In the midst of miracles and healings in our church nine years ago, my wife was diagnosed with cancer. While we celebrate total freedom from all cancer today, our journey back then took us through nine months of agonizing bouts with chemo and many weeks of recovery. I’ve experienced the dichotomy between instantaneous healings and walking the long road of suffering. So please don’t mistake me for being insensitive or abrasive to anyone who hasn’t experienced healing.
However, my resolve to replicate Jesus can never be contingent upon my results or experiences. Jesus said, “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). Our requirement is to be just like Jesus, so if our present experiences fall short of that standard let’s not lower the bar. Jesus commissioned us to heal the sick, so let’s not complicate that command with reasons as to why it doesn’t happen. I can’t allow what I don’t understand to temper my obedience to what I’ve been told to do. Some of the greatest miracles of healing that I’ve witnessed have come during times of adversity because I chose to obey His Word rather than question my circumstances. Jesus healed people and He commissioned us to heal people. So I’m obligated to obey Him even when I don’t understand His ways.
It’s interesting to note that the word for healing (therapeuo) used most frequently in the gospels means to cure, relieve, serve, or wait upon. However, some scholars indicate that this word was derived from the idea of adoration and worship of God. In other words, in the act of worship an atmosphere of heaven is released upon people. Could it be in that kind of environment that healing is most likely to take place? Think of it this way: as Jesus waited on God, and worshiped Him, the Father’s presence was released through Jesus and activated the cure on those He ministered to. Jesus served people by serving the Father. He lived in response and devotion to the Father every moment of His life; therefore, out of His posture of adoration for the Father came a healing anointing. His love and ministry to people was out of reverence for the Father.
This tells us, then, that healing must come out of an overflow of our devotion to God. The commission to heal the sick is more than a mandate to lay hands on people. Our assignment is to live every moment in a posture of worship unto God, and by doing so our lives become the instrument that He pours His presence through. Our hands become “holy hands” lifted up to God in praise (1 Tim. 2:8); therefore, they become the “healing hands” that minister to the diseased and broken. Healing flows out of our hands to people because worship flows out of our hearts to God. The atmosphere of heaven should be released through our lives wherever we walk. Perhaps that is why people placed the sick on cots and pallets near Peter as he walked by (see Acts 5:15). Apparently, Peter’s devotion to God was so intense that what overshadowed him fell on those around him and brought healing.
I want to end this series the way that I began. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, 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 the Father” (John 14:12). Jesus did many works, but He mainly traveled around the cities preaching, teaching, and healing. If He did those works, then those works should be evident in our lives. Listen to these words by John G. Lake written in 1916:
The secret of Christianity is in being. It is being a possessor of the nature of Jesus Christ. In other words, it is being Christ in character, Christ in demonstration, and Christ in agency of transmission. When a person gives himself to the Lord and becomes a child of God, a Christian, he is a Christ-man. All that he does and all that he says from that time forth should be the will and the words and the doings of Jesus, just as absolutely and entirely as He spoke and did the will of the Father.
Jesus, make me just like you. Empower me, through your Holy Spirit, to do the works that you did and even greater. Amen.