Healing and Evangelism

One of the supernatural abilities or gifts given to the elect is the power to heal mental and physical illnesses or disabilities. This ability is viewed by many people as the most important, but according to the apostle Paul it is not. See 1.Cor.13:1-13.

Although the ability to heal is not the most important gift the Father gives to the elect, it is extremely important during this age in order to benefit the elect and to proclaim the Father's message of salvation:

"And these signs shall follow those who believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with languages new to them; they shall cast away serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover" (Mk.16:17-18 KJV Para.).

"And God [i.e., the Father] has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, different languages" (1.Cor.12:28 KJV Para.).

The English word healing is translated from the Greek word iama, which means a cure.

Before the Gospel Age

The following are two accounts of healing before the advent of Christ in which specific procedures were to be followed to effect the healing. These two healings show that God is companionate and he authorized some of his representatives with the power to heal.


The Book of 2 Kings contains an account of an Israelite slave telling her master's wife that there was a prophet in Samaria who could heal her master Naaman of his leprosy. The biblical record of this event shows Naaman who is in charge of the Syrian army going to the prophet Elisha's home to be healed.

"So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha's house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, "Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed" (2.Kgs.5:9-10 NIV).

Because Naaman was not expecting to be sent away without being healed and thought Elisha's instructions were ridiculous, he went away in a rage. But later, he was convinced to follow Elisha's instructions and was healed:

"Naaman's servants went to him and said, "My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed'!" So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy" (2.Kgs.5:13-14 NIV).

Naaman's healing tells us the following:

  • The Prophet Elisha was well known by the Israelites for his ability to heal people

  • A person must sometimes also have faith in a person's ability to perform healing when his instructions are followed.

  • Healing can be performed by a prophet who is authorized to perform supernatural works without laying hands on an individual or anointing with oil.

  • The person who requests healing must follow the prophet's instructions in order to receive healing.

  • Verses 15 and 16 of this account tells us that healing is a gift for which no payment of any kind is required nor to be received by the one bestowing the healing.

King Hezekiah

The Creator sent the prophet Isaiah to King Hezekiah to tell him to set his house in order because he would soon die. After Hezekiah beseeched God to heal him, the Creator sent Isaiah back to tell him that he heard his prayer and he would live.

"And it came to pass, before Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, This says the Lord, the God of David your father, I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears: behold, I will heal you: on the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. And I will add to your days fifteen years; and I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for my own sake, and for my servant David's sake. And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered" (2.Kgs.20:4-7 KJV).

Although it was the Creator who was going to do the healing, the instruction Isaiah gave is important for several reasons.

  1. The king's sickness would only be healed if the prophet's instructions were compiled with.

  2. A fig poultice helps remove poisons from an infected area.

Fig poultices are an ancient remedy used to help heal abscessed gums, boils, carbuncles, warts, blisters, ulcers, abnormal growths, scar tissue, and more. Poultices seem to work by drawing poisons to the surface of the skin and neutralizing them, and imparting beneficial nutrients which are absorbed by the skin and passed into the bloodstream.

This account also tells us the following:

  • God is merciful and hears a righteous person's request for healing.

  • Although healing is promised, a person must follow the instructions given to them by God's representative.

Would Hezekiah have been healed if he had not followed Isaiah's instructions? The answer is no. If he did not follow Isaiah's instructions, he would have died because these were given by one who was representing the Creator God and his authority to heal.

During Christ's Ministry

During Christ's ministry, he healed hundreds and perhaps thousands of people of various disabilities and illnesses. Some individuals asked him to heal them, some were healed when other people asked him for healing on their behalf, some were healed without their asking for healing when Jesus saw their condition and had compassion on them, and some were required to follow specific instructions before their healing would take effect. See Jn.5:1-13; 8:1-11.

The accounts of Christ healing individuals and his authorizing his twelve disciples and the seventy other men to heal is important to an understanding of the various aspects of healing individuals during this gospel age.

These accounts not only give insight into Christ's approach to healing individuals but also provide examples to those who are to heal people as they proclaim the Sovereign Father's good news message.

All Disabilities and Illnesses Healed

As Jesus traveled about teaching the true meaning of the scriptures, and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God, he healed people of all kinds of disabilities and illnesses, none of which were beyond his authority and ability to heal. See Matt:8:16; 9:35; 12:15; 14:14.

"And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people" (Matt.4:23 KJV).

The English words sickness and disease in verse 23 are translated from the Greek words nosos and malakia. Nosos can mean a malady (rarely figuratively, of moral disability). Malakia means softness, i.e., enervation and is derived from malakos, which means soft, i.e., fine (clothing); figuratively a catamite (i.e., a pubescent boy who was the intimate companion of a young man in ancient Greece and Rome, usually in a pederastic relationship).

The Greek words nosos and malakia in the phrase sickness and all manner of disease seem to indicate that Christ's authority and power to heal all sickness included mental conditions that are manifested in a person's immoral behavior, such as the perverse sexual orientation of a catamite.

When verse 24 is reviewed in the Greek text, it tells us that Jesus released people from the control of evil spirits and the mental and physical problems caused by such control:

"And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought to him all sick people that were taken with various diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them" (Matt.4:24 KJV Para.).

In verse 24, the English words diseases and torments are translated from the Greek words nosos, which can mean a malady (rarely figuratively, of moral disability) and basanos, which means a touch-stone, i.e., (by analogy) torture. The Greek words nosos and basanos together in the phrase diseases and torments indicate an extremely painful illness.

In verse 24, the English words lunatick and palsy are translated from the Greek words seleniazomai, which means to be moon-struck (i.e., insane) and paralutikos, which basically means paralytic.

Evil spirits are often the cause of a mental or physical disability or illness and often torment people they possess. See Mk.5:1-5; 9:17-27; Lk.13:10-16. Clearly, not all mental or physical disabilities or illnesses are the effect of demonic possession or harassment, but are the result of many other natural causes such as a birth defect, chemical imbalance, physical injury, traumatic emotional experience, and more. Regardless of the cause, Jesus had the authority and ability to cure all forms of mental and physical disabilities and illnesses.

Verses 23 through 24 tell us that the healing of mental and physical disabilities and the removal of evil spirits is a way to get people's attention and to convince them that the person doing the healing and casting out of evil spirits is someone who has authority over the physical and spirit realms.

The Withered Hand

Mark and Luke record that a man with a withered hand was in a crowd of people listening to Jesus and when Jesus asked him to extend his hand, his hand was instantly healed as those in the crowd watched:

"And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand" (Mk.3:1 KJV).

Here, the English word withered is translated from the Greek word xeraino, which by implication means to shrivel and is derived from the word xeros, which means to desiccate.

This individual did not have use of his hand because the muscles were atrophied and shriveled making his hand useless:

"And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the Sabbath day; that they might accuse him. And he said to the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And he said to them, Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he said to the man, Stretch forth your hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other" (Mk.3:2-5 KJV) See also Lk.6:6-11.

This account gives no indication that the man believed Jesus could heal him, only that he did as Jesus asked and extended his hand. This account reveals that Jesus did not touch the man or say anything else to him in order to effect the healing. Jesus' intent was to heal the man's hand and to show that it was lawful to do good works on the Sabbath. Therefore, he healed this man without his asking for healing.

Blind Man At Bethsaida

Mark records the following account of Jesus healing a blind man at Bethsaida. Many assume when Jesus attempted to restore this man's sight, he failed in his first attempt and had to lay hands on him a second time in order to totally restore his eyesight. But, is this what happened or is there a more logical explanation of this account?

"And he came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to him, and implored him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands on him, he asked him what he could see. And he looked up, and said, I see people as trees, walking. After that he again put his hands on his eyes, and he looked: and he was restored, and saw everyone clearly" (Mk.8:22-25 KJV Para.).

The English word blind throughout the New Testament is translated from the Greek word tuphlos, which means opaque (as if smoky). Although tuphos can mean a total loss of sight, it can also mean a partial loss of sight as well as an allegorical, intellectual, moral, or spiritual blindness. Knowing that the Greek word tuphos has many meanings helps in determining why Jesus did what he did.

It makes no sense that Jesus had to try a second time to heal the man's eyesight. What makes more sense is that Jesus stood in front of the man, spit on his eyes, rubbed them to unstick his eyelids, and then asked him what he saw to determine his degree of blindness. Jesus had absolute faith in his authority and power to heal any type of physical disability or illness and he had healed many blind individuals before this man was brought to him. In addition to the narrative account of how Christ healed this man, it also shows a person who has the authority to heal is not constrained in how he conducts the healing process.

The Centurion's Servant

When Jesus was in Capernaum a centurion asked him to heal his servant and Jesus replied that he would go and heal him.

"And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came to him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lies at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus said to him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes and to my servant, Do this, and he does it" (Matt.8:5-9 KJV).

Although Jesus was willing to go with the centurion to heal his servant, the centurion being a man of authority himself clearly understood the power Jesus could wield and knew that it was only necessary for Jesus to exercise his authority and his servant would be healed.

"When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Truly I say to you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say to you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said to the centurion, Go your way; and as you have believed, so be it done to you. And his servant was healed in the same hour" (Matt.8:10-13 KJV). See also Matt.15:21-28.

This tells us that the centurion was absolutely convinced that Jesus had the authority to heal, which made it unnecessary for Jesus to go to the centurion's home to heal his servant. This also gave Jesus an opportunity to teach that a person who exercises faith when requesting another person's healing can effect the healing of that person. See also Jn.4: 46-48.

A Blind Man Washes at the Pool of Siloam

After leaving the temple grounds where he had been in a heated discussion with some Pharisees and other Jews, Jesus saw a blind man and healed him to show the goodness of God and that he was doing a work for his heavenly Father:

"And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay" (Jn.9:1-6 KJV).

The English word anointed in verse 6 is translated from the Greek word epichrio, which means to smear over. Clearly, the spit and dirt from which Jesus made the clay that he applied to the man's eyes had no therapeutic or ritualistic value. So, why did Jesus do this when he could just as easily have used his power to instantly remove the cause of the man's blindness? Verse 7 reveals the reason for the smearing of clay on the man's eyes and Jesus' instructions to him:

"And said to him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing" (Jn.9:7 KJV).

The instruction to wash in the pool of Siloam seems to be for the following reasons:

  • By following Jesus' instructions the blind man showed that he believed he would receive his sight when he washed his eyes in the pool of Siloam.

  • Because the man was blind he would need help to find the pool of Siloam; therefore, his healing would be a witness to those who guided him to the pool and saw his blindness removed as he washed the mud from his eyes.

After the man received his eyesight, the rest of the narrative in John chapter 9 shows that this healing was proof to the man himself and those who knew him that Jesus was sent from God and was the Messiah. This healing was also a powerful witness to the Pharisees who rejected Jesus as the Messiah.

Power to Heal Not Limited

The many accounts in the New Testament of Jesus healing people of various disabilities and illnesses reveal that no disability or illness is beyond supernatural healing through the power of the holy spirit.

In the examples of Jesus healing individuals, no specific pattern, ritual, or method is established. Instead, what we see is Jesus using the method which fit the circumstance in which healing was to be performed. All the examples of Jesus healing individuals show that the healing was instantaneous or happened very quickly after a command was given to heal, or occurred after the person followed instructions to perform a certain act.

We are not told everything that Jesus did or did not do as he went about healing people and proclaiming the Kingdom of God. But, we are told enough to know and understand that healing people is not only an act of compassion but also a major part of any powerful ministry proclaiming the Kingdom of God.

Commission to Believers

Shortly after Jesus was resurrected, he first appeared to Mary Magdalene, then to two individuals as they were walking to the village of Emmaus, after which he met with the remaining eleven disciples and gave them what is commonly called the great commission recorded by Matthew and Mark:

"Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. You go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of this age" (Matt.28:16-20 KJV Para.).

Jesus told his disciples to teach what he taught them, which includes what he said regarding the elect healing people of disabilities and illnesses.

These Signs Will Follow Believers

Both Matthew and Mark record that the disciples were to go throughout the earth proclaiming the good news message which Jesus brought from his heavenly Father and to baptize repentant individuals into his Father's earthly family. But only Mark records Jesus stating that certain supernatural signs would be evident among true believers:

"You go into all the world, and preach the good news to everyone. Those who believe and are baptized will be saved. But those who refuse to believe will be condemned. And these signs shall follow those who believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with languages new to them; They shall cast away serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover" (Mk.16:15-18 KJV Para.).

Jesus makes a statement of fact about supernatural abilities which will be evident among believers who will have the authority and power to cast out evil spirits, speak languages new to them, have protection against poisonous snakes and liquids, and heal every type of physical disability or illness, and spiritual and mental disorder though laying their hands on individuals.

Although Jesus promised these supernatural abilities in the context of proclaiming the gospel message and accepting those who believe into the Father's earthly family of believers, Jesus did not place restrictions on who can be healed through the laying on of hands. Therefore, it seems logical that healing through the laying on of hands can be applied to the elect as well as the unconverted.

Laying on of Hands

After the writer to the Hebrews acknowledges the validity of Christ as the high priest of the Sovereign Father's earthly children and reprimands these Hebrews for their lack of skill in the use of the foundational knowledge about righteousness, he makes the following statement:

"Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit" (Heb. 6:1-3 KJV).

The English phrase of the doctrine in verse 2 is translated from the Greek word didache, which means instruction. The writer urges these Hebrews to go forward in knowledge and understanding from foundational teachings, which include the instruction in the practice of laying on of hands. This tells us that this practice was firmly established as a foundational teaching in the early church. Therefore, its symbolism and its practical application should be clearly understood and practiced by the elect today.

There are many accounts in the New Testament where hands were laid on individuals for various reasons. There are several accounts which show the ritual as symbolic acknowledgment that a person is being placed in a position of responsibility and service.

These accounts document that the ritual of laying on of hands accomplish tangible results in the physical realm, one of which is healing of the elect through the ritual set in place by the apostle James for the elect to follow in order to be healed:

"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord" (Jms.5:14 KJV).

This aspect of healing is apart from the authorization to heal unconverted people as an act of compassion and to get people's attention when proclaiming the Father's good news massage.

For detailed explanations of the concepts and principles contained in the healing ritual set in place by the apostle James, get a copy of the Book Survive and Thrive as a Follower of Christ, ISBN 978-0-9844608 or visit www.bibleresearch.org.

Ananias and Saul

After Saul who became the apostle Paul encountered Jesus near Damascus and was rendered blind, he saw a vision of a man named Ananias coming to him and laying his hands on him. A short time after this vision, Ananias entered the house where Saul was, told him Jesus had sent him and why he was sent. Then Ananias put his hands on Saul and he received his sight and was filled with the holy spirit. See Acts 9:1-18.

The following accounts of healing are in the context of proclaiming the gospel message and show that whether or not the laying on of hands is applicable depends on the circumstances in which healing is performed:

Paul at Melita

The apostle Paul was stranded on the island of Melita after being shipwrecked. While there, he laid his hands on a man who was sick and healed him, after which he healed many other people on the island. This account shows that Paul understood he was authorized by Christ to use the ritual of laying on of hands to heal unconverted people as he carried out his responsibility to proclaim the gospel message. See Acts 28:1-9.

Not all people who were healed by the apostles had hands laid on them. Paul healed a man who had been a cripple from birth by just telling him to get up and walk. He also sent cloth that he had handled to people to effect the healing of sicknesses and the casting out of evil spirits. See Acts14:8-10; 19:11-12).

There are many scriptures which show the apostles healing people as acts of mercy and compassion while going about fulfilling their commission to proclaim the Father's good news message and to establish congregations of believers wherever they went. The scriptures clearly show that, when healing people, those doing the healing did so through the discretionary use of their authorization to heal.

Peter Heals a Lame Man

In the following account, Peter uses his authority to heal a man who had been lame from birth:

"Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; . . . Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed to them, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold I have none; but such as I have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise and walk" (Acts 3:1-2, 4-6 KJV). See also Acts 3:16.

Before performing this act of mercy, Peter said, "Such as I have I give you", which makes it clear that Peter had the power to heal at his discretion. When Peter said, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise and walk," he was not only announcing by whose authority he was removing this man's paralysis and making him whole, he was also commanding the act of healing to be performed through the authority and power he had been delegated from the Father through the office of Jesus Christ.

After issuing this command in the name of Jesus, Peter confidently reached down, took the man's hand, and began to lift him to his feet. Instantly, the man was healed of his paralysis and had enough strength to stand, walk, and leap up and down. See Acts 3:7-8.

By Whose Authority?

While being questioned by the high priest and other religious leaders of the Jews about his authority to heal the lame man, Peter told them that he received his authority and power to perform this healing through Jesus Christ who was also the Savior of humanity:

"If we be examined of the good deed done to this man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known to you all, and to all people of Israel, that by the name [i.e.,authority] of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him does this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:9-12 KJV).

This and other accounts of the apostles healing people reveal that it is not necessary for a person who has the authority to heal, to touch a person, lay hands on them, or anoint them with oil in order to effect a healing.

Because of a lack of understanding in today's world regarding God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ, a man who is authorized to heal should clearly explain who has given him his authority to heal in order for those who are healed and those who are aware of the healing to clearly understand that all credit, praise, and honor for any healing performed by them belongs to God the Father. Although it is the Father who bestows the ability to heal, it is through Christ's sacrifice that an individual is made worthy to receive this ability and it is through his office of authority that healing is performed.


The authorization to perform supernatural healing is mentioned as an independent gift given to the apostles of the early church, as well as to the prophets, some of the ministry, evangelists, those with the gift of miracles and wonders, and to some who were not elders.

From what we see in the New Testament, the authorization to heal is to be used by men. These men are in one way or another involved in proclaiming the gospel or in relieving illnesses and disabilities where no elder is present to administer the healing ritual set forth by the apostle James.

The following are several things the biblical record tells us about the Father's gift of healing and the discretion that the man with this gift has when performing a healing:

  • Healing is a gift, for which no payment of any kind is required nor to be received by the one bestowing the healing.

  • Sometimes a person must have faith in a man's ability to heal and sometimes no faith is required by the person being healed.

  • A person can request healing for another person without that person's knowledge and that person can be healed by a man who has the gift of healing.

  • A person does not have to be present with a man who has the gift of healing in order to be healed by him.

  • People were healed in private, with other people, or not present with the man performing the healing

  • No mass healings, public prayer, singing, or ritualistic incantations to invoke healing are documented in the biblical record.

A man with the gift of healing has the discretion to heal people in many ways, some of which are as follows:

  • Giving an audible command to heal

  • Acknowledging healing has already been performed for a person

  • Giving an instruction for a person to follow before healing will be performed

  • Predicating healing on the faith of the person requesting healing for themselves or another person

  • Healing a person as an act of compassion without their asking for healing

  • Touching the person to be healed, laying hands on them, or making no physical contact

Getting People's Attention

Healing people of mental and physical disabilities and illnesses not only shows the compassion that our heavenly Father and Savior have for people but also it is an excellent way to get people's attention so they will listen to the message of salvation as Christ, the apostles, and others did when they went about evangelizing.

By B.L. Cocherell b14w10