Jesus’ earthly ministry was characterized by healings, miracles, signs, and wonders. As we read through the gospels, we find Jesus either teaching or healing, or more often doing both. Sometimes we see him attempting to draw away from the crowds to spend time alone with his Father in heaven, but the crowds always seem to find him, and when they do they press in for healing. The lame, the sick, the deaf, the blind, and even those whose loved ones have died come to Jesus. They come on stretchers, are lowered down through holes in the roof, reach out to touch the hem of his garment, lie beside the road calling out to him as he passes by, and are so desperate for healing that they agree to take whatever “crumbs” can be found under his table just to receive his touch.
One of the first things Jesus did when he began his ministry was to gather a small group of disciples around him so that he could train them to do what he was doing. These twelve men lived daily with Jesus, watching in wonder and sometimes confusion as they saw the long promised Messiah fulfilling the words of the prophets of old, bringing the Kingdom of God to bear on the kingdom of this world.
On the night before his crucifixion, as Jesus comforted his disciples, he spoke to them about the promised Holy Spirit (see John 14:15-31), who would come to them and “teach them all things” so that they (the disciples) might continue to do the work that He (Jesus) was doing. Later, when He appeared to the eleven after His resurrection, “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. …And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues…they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well’” (Mark 16:15,17-18).
The early Church, as we see it in the remainder of the New Testament beginning with the book of Acts, was indeed empowered by the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:1–12). These Spirit-filled believers, though few in number and with no resources to speak of, begin to preach the good news of the gospel to a broken and pagan culture, and in a few hundred years the church Jesus established had grown exponentially and reached every part of the known world.
But somewhere along the way the Christian life was stripped of the knowledge of the power and authority of God to heal and of His desire to heal. We lost our spiritual inheritance, our birthright from the finished work of the cross. The good news of the gospel was separated from the power and authority to heal, and we have been struggling ever since to restore healing to its rightful place in the life of every Christian.
Many believers today understand and practice the ministry of healing in the Church, but many more do not, and significant resistance still exists. Long-held beliefs and ideologies stemming from doctrines handed down through the history of the Church have attempted to squelch the truth that the supernatural power of God to heal is available to all believers.
Just as the early disciples received the empowering of the Holy Spirit and ministered powerfully in the name of Jesus, you can too. God is inviting you into the supernatural lifestyle that He intends for all believers. When you accept His invitation, it will transform the way you understand what the Christian faith looks like and how we are to function as Christians in the world today.
We are familiar with Jesus’ mandate to “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” but we tend to ignore His follow-up instructions: “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20 NKJV).
Teaching what? All that Jesus commanded. This includes the supernatural ministries of healing of sickness and deliverance from demons. Teaching who? Not just first-century apostles or uniquely appointed disciples. This is a multi-generational commission that will continue until the second coming. It is available to whosoever believes in Jesus (see John 14:12-13).
So much has been made available to the Church. We as believers should not be willing to settle for less. The authority of Jesus to heal can be fully restored in this generation and for generations to come. Let us press in vigorously for the “more” that God has for us.