WHEN I WAS A YOUNG PREACHER, the Holy Spirit came upon me and another Pastor one night as we were waiting before the Lord. With this came a faith to believe the Bible as never before, and a strong impression to read the New Testament as though we had never read it. I had graduated from an established Christian College and from one of the largest seminaries in the country, but never had I received instruction as I was about to receive with the Holy Spirit as my Teacher.
The first thing He brought to my attention was that the ministry of the Lord Jesus was a healing ministry. I had never seen that. I knew He bore my sins but I didn't know much else. I soon found that as our Substitute He also bore our pains and our diseases. I began exclaiming, "There's healing in the atonement!"
When the Holy Spirit quietened this excitement enough for me to listen to Him, He brought me straight to chapter 8 in Matthew's Gospel. Here begins a detailed account of the healing ministry of the Lord Jesus. My instruction was to observe how He ministered. Four principles of truth unfolded. ONE: It was His desire to heal ALL sick people. TWO: He sometimes healed through the power of His Word. THREE: He sometimes healed by touching those who were sick. FOUR: He sometimes healed by the casting out of demons. There would be more, so much more, for us to learn, but this was my first lesson. I saw there was no definite pattern as to how the Lord Jesus ministered, but two things were certain: He was compassionate toward all sick people... and He healed them (Matt 4:24).
In this article we will consider the four points I learned that day.
After more than forty years they're coming back to us. They're more vital
than ever for these awesome days.
I will is from the Greek word thelo. It means, "I want to." That leper said, "Lord, if you want to, you can make me clean." Jesus answered simply, "I want to; be clean."
As I thought on this, I began praising the Lord. No more would I have to tack "if it be Thy will" to the prayers I would pray for the sick. I was beginning to know He really does want to heal sick people.
I could stand up and say, "It is the will of God to heal." Those statements from Isaiah were taking meaning. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows... and with His stripes we are healed--Isa 53:4a,5d. I could finally embrace the last half of Ps 103:3--Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases.
Soon after this a woman, who had left the church of which I was Pastor, backslid and became very ill. News came that they found her "eaten with cancer." She was in a pitiful condition in a hospital, waiting to die. That other Pastor who had begun believing with me went with me to see her. We found her in a room, dark and alone, sleeping. We didn't waken her. We simply stood by her bed believing that God wanted to heal her. There was no searching question in our minds as to whether she was even worthy of receiving healing. Nothing was there but this one simple idea that had been placed in us by the Holy Spirit: it is the will of God to heal sick bodies.
I remember touching her left hand and quietly praying. We weren't skilled in praying elaborate healing prayers. It was very brief. It was more of a release of healing into her, coming from two men who, suddenly, were believers.
We left without even speaking to her. A few days later, word came to me that she had awakened feeling better, and was now home, completely well. It was a powerful day when she came back into the church with her family and testified as to what the Lord had done in her.
This came about because we stood by her, believing the Lord Jesus wanted to heal her. Nothing else mattered. We didn't even ask her to confess her sins and return from her backsliding. He took care of that.
TWO: Sometimes the Lord Jesus healed through the power of His Word. In this Matt 8 passage, take note of the insight a Roman officer had regarding this. It was an amazing thing, even to Jesus, that someone outside the circle of religious people would lay hold on so powerful a concept. And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him ("when I come, I will heal him"). The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof but Speak the word only, and mv servant shall be healed.... When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel... And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour--Matt 8:5-8,10,13.
I saw it that day for the first time. Healing comes through the power of the Word of the Lord. It comes in response to faith. Even a nonreligious man, willing to believe the word of someone with authority like Jesus, could reach in, lay hold on His Word, and obtain the release of its power. There's something I learned later from this passage. Word in verse 8 is from the Greek word lógos. The centurion said, "Speak a lógos only." This is more powerful than the Greek word rhéma which also means "word." Rhéma means a word as it is spoken, a declaration, a saying, a speech. Lógos means a word, written or spoken--plus all the power and light that's behind it. It's like that grain of corn to which we've made reference before. In the grain is a germ of life ready to produce a greater amount of grain. In a lógos of healing there resides the very germ of healing life. When planted in a believing heart, the healing that's in it will Sprout forth.
We take note of one more thing in the above Matt 8 passage. The
centurion who came to the Lord Jesus was requesting healing for
someone else. There's something powerful here. We're beginning to learn
that those of us who care for others who are sick can believe for them
and see the release of healing power toward them. It is important that
we who are around those battling with disease should keep our own hearts
and minds filled with Words of healing. Thus, faith will find its release
in us and we will minister healing grace to those around us.
Jesus was not so holy that He had to be kept away from people. He was always ready to come near those who were suffering, even though sometimes the disciples felt they should protect Him from the pressure of too many people. Jesus had His times away alone, but if anything got His attention, it was the cry of those who were suffering. Take note in these following passages how He touched the sick, some of them outcasts from society.
In Matt 8:3 He touched a leper and immediately that leper was cleansed. What an act of mercy! Touching a leper was forbidden by the Law lest the disease spread. Jesus disregarded His Own well-being to impart healing to a hopeless individual. How like Him! The Holy Spirit is teaching us that no one is beyond the attention of the Lord.
In Matt 9:29 He touched the eyes of two blind men and their eyes were opened. There is something unusual in this passage. Those two blind men had called Jesus the Son of David--verse 27. In my ignorance I thought they did this in their ignorance. Then I began taking note that whenever anyone called Him the Son of David, it got His attention and they were immediately healed. There's something very important for us to know regarding this. All the power of the Covenant God had made with David was wrapped up in Jesus being the Son of David. Take note of a similar incident in Matt 20:34. Two other blind men called out, Have mercy on us, O Lord, Thou Son of David. Jesus stopped, had compassion on them, and touched their eyes. Immediately their eyes received sight.
In Mark 7:31-35 we see Jesus touching a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech. Look what He did. He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers into his ears, and He spit, and touched his tongue. The man was healed straightway.
In Luke 7:12-15 we find Him touching the funeral bier of a young man, the only son of a widow. And he that was dead sat up...
We are learning that the Lord Jesus did not remain aloof from people. He came near them, especially those who were destitute. He's still that way.
On that first day of the Holy Spirit's teaching me, He brought me on to Matt. 18:20. Here is a powerful promise from Jesus: For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them. He had yet more to say regarding this. I will not leave you comfortless (orphans): I will come to you--John 14:18. Then there's this powerful word: . . he that loveth Me shall be loved of my Father; and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him--John 14:21h. Then He said, …lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world--Matt 28:20h.
In those early days of knowing the Lord, the Holy Spirit released a simple
faith in us to believe that when we come together in Jesus Name, He comes
with us to touch us. If He is with us, then He will still heal
us by His touch.
We've passed through years of knowing how to do things. We've even taught people what to do and how to minister. But, we're coming again to the point of not knowing. All we've learned and practiced through the years is insufficient for this day. Only His presence--with His touch--will suffice. What John recorded in Rev 3:20 is upon us. He's standing at the door of His church knocking. He simply wants to come in and sup with us. He wants to move in our midst and touch us--and heal us.
Recently, after Glenda and I had received word that cancer had metastasized in her spine, we sat in our living room and worshiped together. Once again my eyes were opened and I saw the Lord. He was bending over her, touching her. Don't ask me how I saw Him. When you see Jesus, you just know that you see Him. We were desperate that day. We didn't know where to turn or what to do, so we worshiped--and Jesus came into our midst. Glenda is walking in the healing He brought to her, even ministering the grace of it to others.
When He touches us, we can touch others and they'll be healed. We're
learning anew to wait in His presence--worshiping Him--for His hand to
come upon us.
In these latter days there's coming an increase in the anointing upon us. Even in the market place, in the homes of the lost, in the thoroughfares of life, we're finding increasing numbers open and hungry for the touch of the Lord in their lives. Without religious fanfare, He's ready to use us as His instruments to touch and heal.
In Seminary they had taught me the last verses in Mark's Gospel were "spurious"--that is, they were not inspired or in the original text. This got rid of a troublesome passage for us. After the Holy Spirit became my Teacher, the verses no longer needed to be explained away. I had no more trouble with them because He released in me the faith to believe them. I heard then of a Baptist woman who became quite ill. A young Pentecostal Pastor called on her and offered to pray for her. Not being very well educated, he didn't know he should not call upon another Pastor's parishioner. He read the woman this passage from Mark that says they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. She exclaimed, "Why, I didn't know this was in the Bible!" He said, "Do you believe the Bible?" She said, "Yes, we Baptists believe all the Bible."
He then gently laid his hand on her head, prayed for her, and she recovered. With enthusiasm she went to her own church and testified. Her Pastor perceived the young man who ministered to her was untaught and called her aside to explain how this was so. "That young man didn't know those verses should not be in the Bible. They're not inspired as the rest of the Bible is."
The woman became all the more excited. "Well praise the Lord!" she said, "If God will do that with uninspired Scripture, what will He do with inspired Scripture?" Jesus touched sick people and they were healed. We who believe can touch sick people also. They will be healed. The human mind may not understand everything about this. This is where faith comes in. It knows God is greater than anything the human mind can face.
Oh, we see it! Faith knows, and responds, and sees the release of God's
grace and His power.
His in the above verse is not in the Greek. It should say simply that He cast out the Spirits with "a word"--just one word. And yes, it was a lógos word. In Matt 8:32 we find what that word was. It was, "Go!" No embellishment, no explanation, no cajoling, no pleading--it was just a simple, straightforward command from One Whose authority was absolute. What a loaded word He spoke!
Jesus imparted this same authority to us who believe. The only difference is that we add a few words--"Go in the Name of Jesus!"
It was interesting to me to find that possessed with devils is from the Greek word daimonizoménos. It means "being possessed, afflicted, vexed, or driven about by a demon or evil spirit." It's not clear in the word itself whether the demon is in the person or simply nearby inflicting its evil influence. However, it's more likely that they are in the persons they afflict, for we take note that Jesus cast out the spirits, not "drove them away." Cast out is from exbállo. It means "throw out," like one would throw a pesky animal out of the house.
There's something the Holy Spirit brought to my attention a little later on in Matthew. And when He (Jesus) had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power (from Greek exousía, "authority") against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease--Matt 10:1. I had just graduated from Seminary with a commission to remain a good Baptist. I received a diploma because I had attended classes, passed written tests, and had been approved as a competent minister of the Gospel. I had authority to serve as Pastor of a Baptist church, baptize new believers, serve the Lords' Supper, and perform weddings. But Jesus didn't give any of this authority to His disciples; He gave them authority, instead, against unclean spirits, to cast them out. That was the first thing He imparted to them. Should we not conclude, therefore, that it was important?
I knew little about demons in my early days of ministry. If we were taught anything, it was that they existed only in the minds and superstition of ignorant people. When Jesus dealt with demons, He was accommodating Himself to their ignorance. We're more enlightened today and know that they do not exist. Hogwash! There's not a culture on the face of this globe that is not rife with their activity.
Just yesterday I read a pitiful letter from a wife and mother of four children here in the United States. She had written some weeks ago asking that we pray with her that her husband would return from his adulterous affair. He came home, repentant, wanting to be restored as husband and father. After three and a half weeks, he sat down with his wife and told her all he could think of was the other woman and that he no longer wanted to be a Christian. He only wanted to return to the woman he loved. He left--driven by some force he could not withstand to a woman herself driven by the same.
Are demons active in the above situation? You know the answer. Is that man sick? Yes, emotionally and spiritually. The sickness has come over on his conscience. Eventually it will come over on his mind and body till his whole life is in shambles--not to mention that of his children who will bear the pain of his sickness in their own lives as long as they live, or until the Lord Jesus heals them. When he wants the seducing spirits cast out and, perhaps, when there is a believer at hand to help him, that man can be free. The key is in his wanting to be free.
I listened recently to the testimony of a man to whom a friend of mine ministered ten years ago. He was a black man who for years has been wracked with pain and had suffered bizarre and painful treatment at the hands of well-meaning physicians treating his sickle-cell anemia. My friend cast out "a spirit of sickle-cell anemia." It left and the man was instantly healed.
As an example of a healthy man, he stood before us and told how from
the time of his deliverance, he has suffered not one bit from any more
of the disease.
© Berean Ministries
Next in the Series is
Visit Us at http://www.maschil.com