Christian Healing: The Believer’s Authority

Some of the most radical healings I have seen have been while praying for people who didn’t believe, and/or being surrounded by unbelievers.

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Although these two things work in tandem (and are often indistinguishable in Jesus’ ministry), I believe it will be helpful to discuss them separately. Therefore, in this post and the next, we will take on the topic of the believer’s authority to heal, then later we will look at the Holy Spirit’s power for healing.

In laying the foundation for the believer’s authority to heal, there are two areas we must discuss. The first is our own beliefs and expectations concerning our authority to heal, which we will discuss today, and then how we put that authority into practice, which we will tackle in the next post.


The Basis of Our Authority to Heal

Jesus made a very casual statement in the book of John, which has been the topic of much disagreement between Christians for millennia. However, as you know, my general approach is to simply take the Bible at its word unless there is something to imply there is more behind what is stated. In this case, there does not seem to be a hidden meaning.

Jesus’ statement was this:

 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

John 14:12

This verse follows after an explanation in verse 10 that everything Jesus was doing was not on His own authority, but an extension of the authority of God. He then gives us His radical expectation that if a person would believe in Him, then that person will also do what He does!

We have previously discussed that what He did was to fulfill all the Messianic prophecies he quotes in Luke 4:18-19. One of these Messianic promises which Jesus was doing daily when He made this statement was healing the sick, and now He says he expects that the disciple’s belief in Him would translate into their doing the same thing!


The Name of Jesus – Our Place of Authority

Looking again at John 14, Jesus goes on to say:

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

John 14:13-14

From this passage of scripture alone, it is easy for the human mind to race with unlimited possibilities. After all, Jesus said “whatever you ask,” I will do. Unfortunately, though, within the passage itself there is a limitation on the scope of this promise. It does not mean we can ask Jesus for a new Land Rover or for a million dollars, and expect it to come.

His statement that He would do “whatever we ask” was directly tied to our accomplishing the same works that He was doing by the Father’s authority! He is implying a chain of command!


Jesus’ Authority Becomes Our Authority

God commanded Jesus to heal the sick, in fulfillment of His promises (see John 5:19). That command carries with it the authority of the One giving it. Then, in the same way, Jesus commands those who would believe in Him to continue doing His work – including healing the sick. This command, therefore, also carries the same authority of God to do so that Jesus had. This is why when we pray for the sick, we pray “in Jesus’ name.”

That phrase — “in Jesus’ name” — means that we are praying as someone who has a right to be heard in the heavenliness, because we have Jesus’ authority backing us up! It is the same as when a police officer shouts, “stop in the name of the law,” or when a judge places his name on a court order. The name of the person in authority is what validates the command, even when someone else enacts it! (We will discuss this topic further in the next post.)

What I want you to understand for now is that Jesus gave His own authority to the church, to continue the works He began, and He expects them to continue “in His name!”


Jesus Gave His Authority (Before He Gave His Holy Spirit)

Most people look at healing and think, “Well, I don’t have that gift” or “God can do whatever He wants to do. It’s not up to me.” This isn’t a correct attitude, however. This is why I said we must first fix our belief system before we can talk about the practice of healing itself!

Do you realize that Jesus’ first commissioning on His disciples was not an impartation of the Holy Spirit — He would not impart the Holy Spirit to them until after the resurrection in John 20:22, and again at Pentecost. His first commissioning was an impartation of His authority:

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.

Matthew 10:1

After listing the names of the 12, it goes on:

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.

Matthew 10:5-8

Jesus does not tell the disciples to go and “pray for the sick.” He told them to go heal them. The disciples did it through the authority they had been given!

In Luke 10, Jesus “appoints” 72 others with the same authority and the same commissioning!

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.’

Luke 10:8-9

I believe these instructions — proclaim the gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons — are primarily what Jesus is referencing in Matthew 28, when He says “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you,” in the Great Commission. This is also validated by Marks’ rendering of the Great Commission in Mark 16.

…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.”

Mark 16:17-18


It is Your Authority to Heal

You may be asking, “why does any of this matter?” After all, haven’t we already laid a foundation and know that healing still happens today from the last posts?

Yes! But the point I want to make today is that not only does healing still happen but that YOU, as a believer, have been given the authority to heal the sick. It is not someone else’s job.

The bible says that “all may prophesy,” not just the prophets (see 1 Corinthians 14:31). It also instructs all believers are to “do the work of an evangelist,” not just those with the gift of evangelism (see 2 Timothy 4:5). In the same way, the Bible teaches that all believers have authority over sickness and disease in Jesus Christ! However, we MUST believe in this truth, before we can effectively operate in healing.


The Necessity of Faith

The Bible makes it very clear that there is a direct link between our belief and our authority to heal. Before we can get to “doing” what Jesus did, we must do the harder work of “believing” what Jesus said.

Over and over again, the Bible tells us that it is belief that matters. One example is in the book of James:

Is anyone among you sick?… the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up…

James 5:14-15

In another story, Jesus comes out of His private prayer time and finds the disciples unable to heal a child with demonically-caused epilepsy. After He heals the child, the disciples ask why they weren’t able to do so. Jesus answers:

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 17:20

When Mark shares his version of this same story, the family demands to know if Jesus can heal their child after his disciples had failed. Jesus reassures them:

(The boy’s father said) “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”

Mark 9:23

The Faith of the Sick Person

From this verse, it seems that not only does Jesus place the onus of faith on the one doing the healing, but He also includes the faith of the sick to be healed, as well as those in the crowd around Him!

It is true that not only the faith of the one praying matters. After all, how many times do we see Jesus, the one who IS God, not base His authority for healing on Himself, but also on those He is ministering to? How often do we hear Him say the words, “Your Faith has made you well”? (See Luke 8:48, 17:19, 18:42, Mark 5:34, 10:52, and Matthew 9:22 for examples).

Still, I would caution putting too much emphasis on the faith of others, though, as you practice your own authority to heal. After all, when Jesus went to Nazareth — the faithless city — the Bible says:

And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching. Mark 6:5-6

Even when he could do no great miracles due to their lack of faith, Jesus’ authority to heal the sick was still working!

I will add that in my own experience, some of the most radical healings I have seen have been while praying for people who didn’t believe, and/or being surrounded by unbelievers.


You Have The Authority of Christ to Heal

The dynamic of the believer’s authority to heal is undeniably tied to their ability to believe, even more than it is tied to the power of the Holy Spirit working inside us. Again, I believe both are necessary, but you cannot deny that in the examples we have shared today, Jesus and those He personally trained healed people by their authority more than by their anointing!

Yes, there are those who are given a special anointing to heal, but healing in the Bible is not just a gift of the Spirit. It is a part of your inheritance in Christ. It is within your authority as a representative of heaven on earth. All you must do is believe it in order to see it.



This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Anthony Scott Ingram

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About the Author

Anthony Scott Ingram is a Spirit-filled Christian, husband, father, writer, teacher, podcaster, missionary, and the Apostolic Overseer of Sozo Ministries International. You can find him online at