We left off discussing the fact that Jesus healed every sick person that was brought to Him. No one who believes the Bible disputes that fact. However, in answering the question of whether that healing would continue today, we must face certain objections that are often raised against divine healing moving forward.
Objection: Jesus Was God! We are Not!
One common objection to God healing today is, “Jesus was God; of course He could heal everyone. We are not!” This objection, however, voluntarily overlooks the humanity of Jesus in the incarnation.
The bible clearly states that although Jesus is God in the flesh, He willingly left His divine attributes aside, and lived life as a human being (see Philippians 2:5-8). Jesus was the perfect example to us of what humanity looks like when we are filled with the Holy Spirit and fully submitted to God. Theologically we call this “Christus Exemplar” or “Christ Our Example.”
As He laid down His divine attributes, we must understand that Jesus was not healing people through His own power as God! He was healing people as man, through the power of God the Holy Spirit, who He then gave to the church as a gift. Through the Holy Spirit, our spiritual DNA is reformed to be just like His!
We see this in the fact that Jesus did not keep His authority to heal for Himself, but He commissioned His disciples to do the same thing:
Matthew 10 tells us:
And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.
These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.
Jesus not only thought it was possible for human beings to heal the sick, but He gave them the authority and commanded it!
Objection: That Gift Was Only For The Apostles!
Again, the critic will argue that the supernatural gifts of the spirit were given only to those original 12 Apostles (or only for the Apostolic Age), in order to get Christianity started, but that the gifts did not continue past the death of the Apostles.
Yet, again, however, scripture itself overturns this argument as Jesus did not limit the transfer of His authority only to the Apostles:
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go, and He said to them…Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
We clearly see Jesus Himself directing non-Apostles to heal the sick! And His healing ministry still doesn’t end there.
Should We Expect Healing Today?
In His final charge to His disciples before leaving earth, in Matthew 28:18-20, He commissions them to instruct the next generation of disciples to continue in everything He had taught and commanded them!
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
I believe the “all” includes His command to heal the sick. In fact, in his presentation of this same “Great Commission,” Mark’s gospel says:
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole 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 cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
The Great Commission, therefore, tells us that divine healing is intended to pass from one generation of believers to another. It would not stop!
So, should we expect healing today? YES! Not only is healing in the nature of God and the Atonement of Christ. It is also in the commission of the church!
I know many will still object to this fact by twisting minor verses in other places, but the truth is, you have to throw out a lot of scripture to conclude that Jesus does not heal today, through His church, and to believe that He is withholding that gift until His final return.
Objection: Why Are Some People Not Healed?
The short answer: I don’t know. Biblically you can point to many factors which might explain why some people do not get healed in prayer.
- It can be my lack of faith as a pray-er (James 5:15).
- It can be the person’s lack of faith as the one being prayed for (Luke 8:48, 17:19, 18:42).
- It can be the existence of unconfessed sin.
- It can be the presence of demonic strongholds.
- It may even be a case of the sovereignty of God giving grace to the person, in which their sickness unto death spares them from a worse state (see Isaiah 57:1, with an example given in 1 Kings 14:12-13)
- There are likely many other reasons people are not healed in the now.
I cannot give a definite answer as to why some people are healed now, supernaturally, and some are left in their state of sickness. All I can say for certain is that healing IS in the atonement of Jesus Christ and that whether now or at His second coming, every person who trusts Him will be healed completely.
What we cannot do is to say that because some people do not get healed, that it invalidates any healing at all in Jesus’ name and by the power of the Holy Spirit or that we should not pursue God’s grace for healing today. In the atonement, Jesus paid the price for all sin, and yet for whatever reason some people still do not get saved. The fact that some people still die and go to hell does not nullify that Jesus is the Savior of the world.
A Scholarly Explanation
I don’t want to dwell long on this point, but I do appreciate how Sam Storms in his article “Divine Healing” speaks on this issue:
Everything we receive from God finds its ultimate source in what Christ did for us on the cross. Therefore, the question is not whether our bodies receive healing because of the atonement of Christ, but when. We are forgiven of our sins now because of Christ’s atoning death, but we await the consummation of our deliverance from the presence of sin when Christ returns. We experience fellowship with God now because of Christ’s atoning death, but we await the consummation of that blessed relationship when Christ returns. We profit immensely now from the Spirit’s work in our hearts, but who would dare suggest that what the Holy Spirit is doing in this age is all that he will ever do? There is a glorious harvest reserved in heaven for us of which the present ministry of the Holy Spirit is merely the first fruits!
In other words, it is a serious mistake for us to think that every blessing Christ secured through his redemptive suffering will be ours now in its consummate form. All such blessings shall indeed be ours, let there be no mistake about that. But let us not expect, far less demand, that we now experience fully those blessings which God has clearly reserved for heaven in the age to come…
He goes on to say:
To insist that this physical blessing is future is not to detract from the efficacy or value of Christ’s atoning work, nor to deny that God often heals (at times partially, at times wholly) now. It is simply to recognize, as Scripture does, that God’s timing is often different from ours.
So What Do We Do?
I 100% believe that Jesus is Healer. I believe this from the Bible. I believe this from church history. And I believe it from many personal experiences with healing, today. Does everyone get healed? No. However, I am not discouraged by that to the point that I would stop praying for the sick, and going after the Lord for more!
We must pursue Jesus Christ to heal ALL of our diseases now, with full faith in His atoning work and an unending hope for His miraculous intervention immediately.
We do not need to pray, “Lord, if it is Your will, heal…” He has made it evident that it is His will to heal. We must learn to pray, instead, “Lord, let your Kingdom come; let your healing be done, on earth (now) as it is (now) in heaven.”
As many respected charismatic leaders have said concerning the “already but not yet: it is not a matter of “IF” we can see God’s Kingdom power now, it is only a matter of “HOW MUCH?” can we have on this side of eternity. To find out the answer, we must pursue Him for healing, in faith, for every sickness and disease we come across.
So what do we do? We lay hands on the sick, pray the prayer of faith, and believe God will be faithful to His promise. The rest is up to Him.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Anthony Scott Ingram