Do we have the authority to heal people?
Out of Focus
It is clear that Jesus gave authority to His followers to heal: “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” (Matthew 10:1 NIV)
And there is ample evidence that they did indeed heal many in the name of Jesus.
But still, one may wonder why even Jesus’ own disciples were not always successful in healing everyone. Take for example that poor boy that had been possessed by demons since childhood (See Mark 9:17-29). Not one of the disciples were able to help him, but Jesus sure did.
This drove the disciples crazy and they couldn’t stop themselves from asking: “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” (Matt 17:19NIV)
Jesus’ answer was clear and to the point: “Because you have so little faith.” (Matt 17:20 NIV) and “This kind can come out only by prayer.” (Mark 9:29 NIV)
After his response, they were still perplexed, just as we are. And while we are wondering about these words, we need to realize that far too often we are out of focus, out of tune with the One we call our Savior.
It happens to all of us, even in mundane matters. Last summer my family and I attended a medieval fair in Raversijde, Belgium. Thousands of people had flocked to this unusual event, and in one of the tents my oldest son was invited to play and older version of chess. My son likes these kinds of challenges, and he immediately set out trying to figure out how to win the game with the rules that had been explained to him.
The rest of us stood by, cheering him on. But then came the time that we noticed he could take the victory in just one move. But he appeared to be too focused on his own strategy to notice. We tried to get his attention, to no avail.
Persistence paid off however, and all of our strange gestures and funny noises eventually got his attention. He experienced victory in just one move.
Why could we see it when he couldn’t? Because we had a better global view of the game!
In spiritual matters we are also too often out of tune and too focused on ourselves to see opportunities to triumph. We need to take a step back to have a better perspective on what we are dealing with in order to truly understand what Jesus is trying to convey to us.
Jesus is the healer by excellence. Nothing can hinder Him from doing so, as is testified in Matt 4:23: “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”
He shared with us His secret to how He was able to do so: “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” (John 14:10 NIV)
In other words, Jesus depended completely on God. He was so intimate with God that He knew the very thoughts of God. Can we proclaim the same? Do we hand over all of our control to God, and let Him solely shine in our soul?
Suddenly Jesus’ answer to His disciples makes sense. There is no healing without unreserved faith. There can be no healing if we do not have an intimate relationship with our God!
It’s even worse if we presume we have the authority from God when we are not fully in love with Him. We often forget that we are not the ones performing the miracles. It is our Father in Heaven Himself! Only by depending solely on Him and letting Him be in the driver’s seat will we know His will. Who else knows what is best for any of us? Only then will we be able to do the impossible, not in our power, but by relying solely on His power.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”” (John 14:12-14)
In these precious words lies the secret to healing. Let’s take it apart, piece by piece:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me . . . “
In other words, Jesus had an intimate relationship with God, and so should we. One where we abide totally in God’s will.
“. . . will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will . . .” (John 14:13)
Notice it is Jesus! Not us!
“. . . do whatever you ask in my name . . .”
Remember, we cannot really use His name without truly knowing Him intimately!
“. . . so that the Son may bring glory to the Father . . .”
Our purpose is not the healing itself, but to bring glory to our Father!
“You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12-14 NIV)
Healing is truly possible if we rely solely on God. After all, He IS our Father!
How about a game of chess? Maybe it will help us focus on the victory available in Christ.