This article seeks to address the matter of Jesus' healing today and how it can be accessed by anyone.
In Jesus' day, that is, when he walked the earth during His ministry, the bible record is that all who came to Jesus for healing then obtained the needed healing.
So, how can we obtain this same opportunity today?
The record is, Jesus healed all who came to Him.
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and HEALING ALL KINDS OF SICKNESS and ALL KINDS OF DISEASE among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him ALL SICK PEOPLE who were afflicted with VARIOUS DISEASES and TORMENTS, and those who were DEMON-POSSESSED, EPILEPTICS, and PARALYPTICS; and HE HEALED THEM.
Matthew 4:23-24 All EMPHASIS mine
Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.
No one was excluded of those who came to be healed. Even those who came on the behalf of others saw those healed too, like the Roman centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant from a distance (Matthew 8:5-13).
Does this mean, all who needed healing, wherever Jesus went, got healed?
Only those who came and requested to be healed are involved in the "all" category of being healed. In a number of places we see that Jesus was among those who needed healing and then, only healed a few or just one, but still, if someone came to Jesus for that purpose, then no record is to be found that they were not healed.
There is even a record that for the same man Jesus needed to pray twice before he was healed, but having come and persisted, he was healed.
Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So 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 if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, "I see men like trees, walking." Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.
Not all Jesus' healing was instant. And there is one that was promised to occur if the person went for a walk to the other side of town to wash off mud that had been placed on his face (cf. my article How Jesus healed the man born blind). But Jesus also came across many who were not healed. Two situations are of note: one where he was not believed and one where he was not known. Here's the latter first:
At the pool of Bethesda where there was 5 porches (not Porsches! ☺ ) Jesus healed only one man among many who needed help. This was just north of Jerusalem, not far from the temple.
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay A GREAT MULTITUDE OF SICK PEOPLE, BLIND, LAME, PARALYSED, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?"
John 5:2-6 All EMPHASIS mine
And Jesus healed the man, and no one else is mentioned as also being healed there at the time.
Where the feeling and attitude of the many present was contrary, we also find Jesus only healing a few:
When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue . . . Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
But, it bears repeating that all who asked, they were healed, for that is the truth Jesus taught.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
And, following Jesus' teaching to his followers to do the same, the bible record shows this is what happened with them too: all who came, were then healed. The next passages quoted involve the time, like the present, which followed Jesus' ascension.
. . . they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
They were all healed.
And it wasn't just by the prayers of the apostles, but deacons of the church at Jerusalem (Acts 6:5, 8); evangelists (Acts 8:5-7; 21:8); elders of any local church (James 5:14-15); Let alone any disciple of Jesus, since Jesus had commanded His first disciples as follows:
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
And, what had Jesus commanded in regards to healing, which meant that was to be taught onwards?
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
The attitude to freely give is important as it is a most basic character and part of the nature of God. This is well seen in Jesus' statement:
. . . be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust . . . Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
In other words we already know it is God's will to be healed, just as we know it is God's will not to sin.
When Jesus taught the prayer we call "the Lord's prayer" and we say, "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10), do we think (really) there is sickness in heaven?
Jesus also taught that this required faith:
So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them."
The Greek is not as directly translated as it should be. Here it is in the YLT:
And Jesus answering saith to them, "Have faith of God . . ."
Mark 11:22 YLT
It is not great faith or an abundance of it that Jesus says we are to "Have", but quality of faith. Just like God's. It is a faith that has no doubts, hence Jesus' expanding words "and does not doubt in his heart". It involves a choice on the part of the person praying.
Sometimes this faith requires effort in terms of a lifestyle that allows a ready home for faith in the life of the believer. When asked by the disciples why they did not have the faith to do a healing job: Jesus answered them that it required a lifestyle that included regular prayer and fasting,
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast him out?"
So Jesus said to them,
"Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.' "
James describes this "faith without doubt" like this, in regards to the local elders praying for the sick:
. . . the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up . . .
No doubt is involved.
To doubt is to be double minded and asking God anything with that kind of faith is fruitless:
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Christians are named such as followers of Jesus who is the Christ. A Christian is an ambassador of Christ on earth. Christians are Jesus' hands and feet now until He returns. The assurance is written in regards to all new believers, new Christians, of what would follow:
And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they . . . will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.
Apart from doubt, there are other hindrances to healing and James also mentioned the need for forgiveness (James 5:15-16) as did Jesus (John 5:14 see verses 1-13 for context). I have a separate article related to some causes for sickness among Christians which also speaks into this. It is of note in the James 5 passage the elders are called upon to pray: they are understood as mature and discerning to any root cause of the need for healing. Though today's Christians do not have the Urim and the Thummim of old (stones representing "yes" and "no" - Exodus 28:30; in use: 1 Samuel 23:9; not in use: 28:6), they can with a word of knowledge (1 Corinthians 12:8b) obtain the information as to a root cause and, a word of wisdom (1 Cor. 12:8a) as to what to do with that knowledge. The stones were limited to one person on earth, but all believers can access words from God. Examples of root causes for Christians [whose eternity is secure] can be like a wrong heart attitude during communion (1 Cor. 11:30) or against a servant of God (Numbers 12) or, personal sin related (2 Samuel 12:15) or, just to "go home" (2 Kings 20:1 cf. Psalm 116:15; Isaiah 57:1), since these too are examples for us (1 Cor. 10:11).
In order to fulfil His commands with power, there is another instruction Jesus left with his first disciples:
Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.
So they did. They waited in Jerusalem and it happened. The Holy Spirit came upon them and as Jesus also said, the Spirit Who was already with them, but not in them (in that way), He then came "I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper . . . the Spirit of truth . . . you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you" (John 14:16-17)
Because this giving of the Holy Spirit happened during the Jewish Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), this experience has also been called the Pentecost experience. It is also why some churches are called Pentecostal. They teach on the relevance of that experience. This is also called Baptism in the Holy Spirit. A phrase first used by John the Baptist "He who is coming after me . . . He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Matthew 3:11).
When Paul too received this power by the Holy Spirit and he went out to distant cities to tell of Jesus, in one place, he found some who were already believers. But Paul noticed they were missing something, so Paul asked them:
Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?
They said they had not even heard of the Holy Spirit, but as true disciples already, they heard Paul about Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and after they were baptised in water, Paul prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit. They had their own Pentecost. So by lying on of hands and prayer, these existing believers, then also experienced this power from on high.
Today, there are churches, where there are true believers, who nevertheless also have not (yet) experienced their own personal Pentecost. They do not (yet) teach about baptism in the Holy Spirit - it is for those Christians I wrote a separate article What is Baptism in the Holy Spirit?
So, in seeking where to get prayed for healing, it is good to seek out a church that teaches of a personal Pentecost too.
So, where can we find this healing from God today?
Is anyone among you sick? 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. And the prayer of faith will save the sick. . .
Easy to say, "call for the elders" since this was written at a time when there was elders as the visible leadership of the one church in any city. Paul wrote to Titus:
. . . appoint elders in every city . . .
So the norm was that the leadership of every church involved a form of team leadership and that at a time when there was only one church - one visible body of believers - in any one city.
So the call for the elders of the church is best mixed with some wisdom in the light of today's situation.
Though heaven (and the Devil and his minions) only see the local saints as the Church of Christ, men and traditions have arisen over time which has caused divisions to be seen in many localities having more than one type of church assembly, and some of these do not operate team leadership nor indeed necessarily believe that God still heals today, despite the above quoted injunction that new believers should be taught the same as the first disciples.
So, what is one to do?
Do a little enquiry.
A quick way is to go into your local Christian bookshop and ask about the churches that offer prayer for healing. Here is a link to UK Christian bookshops and where they can be found.
Although, there are a few bookstores that are run by Christians who go to the churches that do not believe healing is for today, even these can inform on the Anglican, or local Baptist or Pentecostal churches that do offer this kind of prayer (and, also there are some Anglican and some Baptists that do not).
Since James suggested the elders of the church, and today, some of these have only the one leader, it is best to find those who work with other churches - i.e. (thinking) a leader of one church plus a leader of another = elders in that city - and, to this end one organisation which operates in many towns may be found helpful: Healing on the Streets (HOTS).
No person involved in HOTS has not first been released by their own church to do so, and that after a certain amount of instruction, many of the local groups operate in public places on Saturdays for ready access to the public and the HOTS ethos seeks to involve many different churches even, if the local HOTS itself may mainly be run by only one of those local churches.
Here is a link to a finder page to discover where the nearest HOTS to you can be found.
You too can be healed by Jesus today. Jesus has given the Holy Spirit to His Church, the believers, so God's power can be released to meet the needs of the world in salvation: healing, forgiveness, wholeness.
As is also written,
Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.
The word "saved" here is translated from the Greek verb SÓZÓ
It is the same verb James uses when he said,
. . . the prayer of faith will save the sick . . .