I was asked a wonderful question in the week from someone in church. “Why do I need to be trained to heal the sick when Jesus simply says. “Lay hands on the sick and you will heal them”?
Why Do I Need to be Trained when Jesus simply says, “Lay hands on the sick and they will be healed?”
I love the faith implicit in the question. It reminds me of Jesus being astonished by the centurion who has come to Jesus asking him to heal his servant (Matt. 8:5-10). The centurion says, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘ Go, ’ and he goes, and to another, ‘ Come, ’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘ Do this, ’ and he does it”.
What Jesus is marvelling at is that the centurion absolutely understands spiritual authority.
As a centurion in the Roman army, he understands the power that authority carries with it. He knows that because he has it, he can issue an order and it will be done. In Jesus he recognises someone with that kind of authority in the spiritual realm. He doesn’t just understand it theoretically, he understands it experientially. He knows, absolutely knows, that if Jesus simply gave the command, the spiritual causes of the sickness would have to yield and the servant would be well.
And it is clear that that kind of revelation and deep understanding is unusual, because Jesus marvels at it. The faith to believe that if Jesus lays hands on you then you will be healed, is one thing, but the faith that understands there is an unseen spiritual world and this person has the authority to cause unseen forces to do his bidding and bring about a change in circumstances in a place where he is not, is something else again!
In some ways this gives us a perspective to answer the question posed above, “Why do I need training…?” The centurion had such great faith and understanding of spiritual authority because of his own training and experience as being “a man under authority”.
In fact we see this principle of discipleship and growth throughout the bible. In Ephesians 4:11-12, we are told that Jesus gave the church “apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry.” Jesus’ primary ministry was a “signs and wonders” ministry that verified his message that the kingdom of God was indeed present and available. As disciples, we are to be equipped to do that as well, whatever our other ministry functions might be.
We can see this principle operating in the ministry of Jesus. In Mark 9:19 when Jesus comes down from the mount of transfiguration he is confronted by a father and a demonised son. On being told that his disciples were unable to cast the demon out, he says. “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.”
Strong words! Jesus clearly expected them to be competent enough to have done this by now!
More importantly, it also shows that what we are supposed to be able to do, and what we in fact can do, are not always the same.
And training helps close the gap….
Watch out for next week’s post which demonstrates this in a modern day context!
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