19. Mandatory Mindsets that precipitate the Miraculous. ii. Jesus Christ never commissioned anybody to preach, without also commissioning them to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead and cast out demons.
In a nutshell, the fact is, Jesus Christ never commissioned anybody to preach without also commissioning them to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers and raise the dead in the same breath.
That single truth is an indictment of where Christianity is, in general, today. No! I do not think it means that every preacher in the world should be praying for the sick with every single sermon he preaches. But it does mean praying for the sick whenever the sick are present and seeking healing. And in Britain today, there is every indication that praying for sick people when they are present, will almost definitely mean praying for the sick with every sermon. It also logically infers that by the biblical criteria, if a man or woman claims to be called to ministry, the whole idea of healing the sick is wrapped up solidly in the Heavenly Magna Carta of that call. The entire world is sick in body, soul and spirit, and Jesus Christ is the answer to all those fundamental issues of life.
When I first shared this revelation with my wife, she asked me two questions immediately. “Does that mean that those that don’t exercise a ministry of healing are NOT called?” I stayed silent. Her second question was: “Or does it mean they are called but disobedient?” My answer was, that as faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, it mostly suggests that the statement at the top of the page would be radical “breaking news” to many preachers and ministers in the world. Yes, there are some preachers currently, to whom the teaching of Christ concerning healing sick and diseased people today would be new and radical. My statement above leads to my declaration that if any reader of this page is called to preach, I feel absolutely confident in stating that, on biblical grounds, you are also called to pray for the sick and see them healed. Refute me if you can!
My declaration is based on several passages of the Bible. The underlined sections below are those that particularly make the point I am stating.
1. Matthew 10:1 – 8 states:
“Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message:‘ The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
What we have is Christ sending out the twelve to preach. In sending them to declare the Good News, He gave them the authority over impure spirits (i.e. to drive out demons), as well as authority over every disease and sickness (Heal the sick), raise the dead (the ultimate result of all sickness), and to cleanse those that had leprosy (i.e. incurable diseases). Could it be plainer? Preaching and healing are conjoined twins in the mind of Christ it would seem. What is the point of declaring, “The kingdom of God has come,” if that kingdom cannot me manifested in the lives of all people at their point of need?
2. Mark 6: 7 – 13.
Mark’s emphasis is slightly different with another perspective. Mark is the Gospel of the Servant, and so remarks a little more on the manner of the servants presentation and preparation.
“Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them”.
We still see clearly the commission for deliverance (i.e. casting out impure spirits). Note also that even though Mark does not recite Jesus commissioning the twelve to heal the sick, he still records that they emulated the Saviour and did so. We have here a second record of Jesus commissioning, what we would refer to as, the manifestation of the miraculous, miracles performed by God Himself through the hands of the disciples, along with, in the same breath, the commission to preach.
3. Luke 10: 1 – 17.
At a later date, Jesus sent out 70, or 72 disciples (dependant on what translation one reads). This is important to our thinking, because there are many who say that miracles were imparted by the gift of Christ only to the twelve disciples, who became the first twelve apostles.
Far beyond the twelve, Jesus addressed them; ”After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
I have quoted the entire section to make a point. It is clear that the 72 are 72 “others,” i.e. the twelve disciples were not included. Christ sent the 72 over and above the twelve. This tells us that in the days of His flesh, there was a certain point of time when there were 84 men, visiting the villages in Israel (or Judea as it was called in Christ’s day) in 42 couples, preaching and healing the sick, casting out demons and…. if they did not raise the dead, we know He had given them authority to do that very thing. He sent them to heal the sick, to preach, and to build relationship with whoever they stayed with. They came back, surprised that even the demons were subject to them, so that also must have been part of their commission. It should be added as a “by the way” that they were not to stay where they were not wanted. This is an important statement for those who claim that only the first twelve disciples/Apostles were commissioned to heal the sick.
These instances mentioned above were all episodes in the gospel days of Christ before the crucifiction. But what about after the resurrection and the Great Commission.
4. Matthew 28:18 – 20 tells us.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
At the very end of Matthew’s Gospel the risen Christ leaves the Apostles with what is generally known as the Great Commission. In the commission to make disciples, He says that the Apostles must be diligent in, ”teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”. What had He commanded them to do? From the passages of scripture we have listed above, the answer must include; Preaching the Gospel, healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, casting out demons and raising the dead.
If Church leaders had been obedient, each generation would have been instructed to do exactly the same as Christ had originally told the twelve.
5. Mark 16: 15 – 20
The Great Commission is referred to in Mark’s Gospel also, yet it tells us in a different manner.
“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”
Again we have the commission to drive out demons, and placing their hands on the sick and seeing them recover. There is also the issue of speaking in tongues, picking up poisonous snakes, and drinking deadly poison when murderous malice is aimed at them, and their being impervious to venom and poison of any kind. We are talking not only of Kingdom aggression of Light and goodness and healing, but Kingdom defence against malice and hate, and murder attempts.
This is a plain instruction and Commission of the tools for evangelism. To all who are called to minister. I say we are clearly called to be managers of the miraculous.
6. Luke 24:45 to 53 informs us:
“Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God”.
Luke has a different approach, but ultimately says the same thing as Matthew and Mark. How can I say that? Because Luke wrote volume two of the Gospel of Luke, namely, the book we call “Acts of the Apostles.” When the Holy Spirit came upon the God Seekers in the upper room in Acts chapter 2 the whole of heaven’s miraculous power was released to those who received this mighty Baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire. Peter, Paul, Stephen and Phillip! All have some vestige of their ministry and activity recorded in the book of Acts. The miraculous followed them all. The exercise of “performing miracles” was given to Apostles and non-apostles alike. It was conjoined with the necessity of preaching.
Our conclusion from these plain and straight forward thoughts, is that the ministry of healing the sick, casting out demons, cleansing lepers and even raising the dead was a demand embedded in the warp and woof of Christ’s commission. This truth needs to be absorbed. The western mind needs to marinade itself in such truths.
I am aware that the general mindset of western Christianity is harassed and besieged by the philosophies of an unbelieving culture, but for God to raise up a wild, giant, dangerous prophet in this cultural context is a desperate imperative