Divine Healing

Although the subject of divine healing is somewhat controversial, it is certainly not one that is obscure in Scripture. In fact, one-tenth of all that was written in the four Gospels concerns Jesus’ healing ministry. There are promises for divine healing in the Old Testament, in the Gospels and the New Testament epistles. Those who are ill can find great encouragement in a wealth of faith-building scriptures.

It has been my general observation around the world that where churches are full of highly-committed believers (true disciples), divine healing is much more commonplace. Where the church is lukewarm and sophisticated, divine healing is a very rare occurrence.[1] All of this should not surprise us, as Jesus told us that one of the signs that will follow believers is that they will lay hands on the sick and they shall recover (see Mark 16:18). If we were to judge churches by the signs that Jesus declared would follow the believers, we would have to conclude that many churches consist of no believers:

And [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it shall not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:15-18).

The disciple-making minister, imitating the perfect ministry of Christ, will certainly use his gifts to promote the ministry of divine healing within his sphere of influence. He knows that divine healing furthers God’s kingdom in at least two ways. First, healing miracles are a wonderful advertisement for the gospel, as any child who reads the Gospels or the book of Acts would understand (but which many ministers with advance degrees seemingly are unable to comprehend). Second, healthy disciples aren’t hindered from ministry by personal sickness.

The disciple-making minister also needs to be sensitive to those members in the body of Christ who desire healing but who have had difficulty receiving. They often need tender instruction and gentle encouragement, especially if they have grown adverse to any healing message. The disciple-making minister faces a choice: he can avoid teaching on the subject of divine healing altogether, in which case no one will be offended and no one will be healed. Or he can lovingly teach on the subject and risk offending some while helping other to experience healing. Personally, I’ve opted for the second option, believing that it follows Jesus’ example.

[1] In some churches in North America, a minister would take great risks to teach on this subject due to the heavy resistance he would encounter from the so-called believers. Jesus, too, met resistance and unbelief at times that hindered His healing ministry (see Mark 6:1-6).