I’ve been studying the Bible for many years, and I’ve come to a conclusion: Jesus is a pretty good role model. For example, I’ve been watching Him in His ministry, and listening (so to speak) as He instructs His followers, and I’m thinking, “Hey, I’m a follower. Maybe I’d better pay attention!”
For instance, at the end of Matthew 9 we have a description of how Jesus did ministry, and if I want to be like Him, then I ought to do ministry the same way. And then in the beginning of Matthew 10, He instructs the Boys (aka “the apostles”) on how to do ministry. I’m thankful that He’s not a hypocrite: He teaches them to do the same things that He did. And when you boil it all down, it’s actually not real complicated.
Matthew 9:35: Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
So the essence of Jesus’ ministry was pretty simple: Go, Preach, Heal.
Matthew 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of
7 And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' 8 Heal the
sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Israel
And His instructions to the Boys were pretty much the same: Go, Preach, Heal. He added some details about what to preach (“The kingdom is at hand”) and how to heal (cleanse lepers, raise the dead, etc…).
Even the Great Commission focuses on the same things.
Mark 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
All of my responsibilities as a Christian fall into two camps: who I am and what I do. And in the “what I do” category, I have only three things: go, preach, heal.
I look at that list, and it scares me. I think: “Go. I can do that. Preach. I can do that.” And then I come to the last one: “Heal. I can’t do that.”
That’s wrong on a couple of levels. First it betrays a fundamental heresy in my understanding of the gospel: the gospel requires the supernatural. The presentation of the gospel that Jesus understood involves signs and wonders. It involves people throwing down their crutches, and dead guys climbing out of their coffins and surgeons looking at x-rays and scratching their heads and demons being chased out of people. That’s part of the gospel!
I’m thinking that a five minute presentation of “the Four Laws” is insufficient. That’s what brought most of my generation to Christ (maybe that’s our problem!).Someone who knows about these things pointed out to me that pretty much every time in the gospels that we see Jesus teaching or preaching, we probably see him healing the sick as well: a powerless gospel is not the gospel!
But that leads me to my second problem: I don’t do so good at healing people. I can’t really do that. And for long seasons of my life, I gave up trying. This is where my second major error happens. Sure, I can’t heal people without divine assistance. But what on earth makes me think I can do the rest of it on my own?
The whole gospel is – at its core – supernatural. It involves at the very least a transformation from death to life, and if you believe the Bible, then there’s a party in heaven when that happens, because something supernatural happened! So what makes me think I can preach without His divine impartation on me? What makes me think I can even go as a representative of Heaven except that He commissions me, He sends me, He goes with me? This is not a place where a “Please bless my words” prayer will work. I need power as desperately in my going and in my preaching as I do in my healing the sick and raising the dead.
And just because I can’t do it is no excuse. I still need to heal the sick and raise the dead.
So ultimately, my problem is that I don’t believe the Bible: I haven’t recognized the necessity of the supernatural, so I’ve left the healing part out, and then I’ve tried to do the rest of it pretty much on my own.
I think I have a lot to learn!
Go! Preach! Heal!