(Read Mark 6:1–6)
“Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them” (Mark 6:5). Oh–oh, this will make a religious person persecute you. This scripture says Jesus couldn’t do any mighty works, it didn’t say He wouldn’t. He wanted to, but He couldn’t. So many have the idea that “if God wants to do it, He will” or “God doesn’t do that anymore except on rare occasion.” The belief being they have nothing to do with receiving from God, and in particular with healing. But Jesus wanted to do mighty works in Nazareth, but couldn’t. Why couldn’t He? What lessons can we learn from this? Could our lack of understanding be hindering us? What hindered Jesus and how did He correct the issue?
Let’s start with the different methods the Bible gives for healing the sick.
Laying On Of Hands
“And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will…lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15–18). Most of us are familiar with this scripture. Many churches practice this. This fundamental doctrine is one that all Believers are to practice. We don’t have to be in the ministry or have some kind of special anointing. So why do so many walk away without receiving healing?
There is also another aspect of the laying of hands and that is someone who has an anointing for healing. We can see this in Jesus’ ministry: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38; emphasis mine). Jesus was anointed to heal; yet, even in Nazareth He couldn’t do any mighty miracles. What are mighty miracles? How about the lame walking, the blind seeing, and the deaf hearing? All He accomplished was getting a few minor ailments healed. Do we live with the same limitations that Jesus had to contend with?
The Anointing Oil
“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, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (James 5:14–15). Anointing oil is another fundamental Bible doctrine. In this case the sick are prayed for by the elders. The implication is that someone is beyond helping themselves, so they call for help. Does that mean that the sick person has nothing to contribute to receiving their healing? Is it just the elder’s that count? I’d say Jesus is the greatest elder, and He was limited in Nazareth.
Points of Contact
The laying on of hands and the anointing oil are points of contact where agreement is made. In themselves, they don’t heal. This is when, “If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:19–20). Both the sick and the one praying are to agree that the sick one has received their healing at the time of laying on of hands and the anointing of oil.
If the laying on of hands or the anointing oil were the healing properties, if they caused the healing, then there would be know reason for Jesus to take that curse upon Himself, but Jesus “took out infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”
Jesus the Healer
“When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses’ (Matthew 8:16–17). Notice it doesn’t say Jesus took their infirmities, but ours. Their would imply that it was for that time, possibly to prove He was the Messiah. But Matthew is looking back from the advantage of post–resurrection, and declaring “all that Jesus began both to do and teach” (Acts 1:1, emphasis mine). Jesus is continuing what He began. If healing was only for then, Matthew would have said Jesus took their infirmities.
Matthew is quoting Isaiah 53:4: “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Dr. Isaac Leeser’s authorized translation of the Bible for Orthodox Jews reads, “He was despised and shunned by men: a man of pains, and acquainted with disease…But only our diseases did he bare himself, and our pains he carried…and through his bruises was healing granted to us…But the Lord was pleased to crush him through disease” (Isaiah 53:4, 5, 10). The Hebrew scholar and author of Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, translated this passage thusly, “He is despised, and left of men, a man of pains, and acquainted with sickness…Surely our sicknesses he hath borne, and our pains – he hath carried them” (Isaiah 53:3–4, Young’s Literal Translation).
Jesus bore the curse of sin for us that we may have the blessing of God (Galatians 3:13; Deuteronomy 28). Christians are ready to believe that Jesus took away their sins, but they have a hard time believing rest of Isaiah 53 – that Jesus took their sickness, pains and infirmities.
The laying of hands and the anointing oil are points of contact where the infirm and another believers come into agreement at that time (Matthew 18:19–20). It is a time when they join their faith together. They believe that they receive healing at that time of laying on of hands or the anointing with oil (Mark 11:24), not when they see or feel healed. Their faith is based on what God has said, “Himself took [past tense] our infirmities and bare our diseases.” Their faith is in Jesus has healed them at the cross (and therefore will have to manifest), and not that Jesus will heal them when they feel better. In-other-words, they believe God has healed them and healing power is working in their bodies before it manifests in their bodies.
They will give thanks for being healed, because the Bible says that Jesus took their infirmities, before it evident in their bodies. “Faith is the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1; emphasis mine). Healing isn’t seen, but they have evidence that healing is working in their bodies. The evidence is there faith. It’s not evidence for the world to see, but it’s evidence that’s in you heart. Giving thanks is one way of acting on what they believe.
Gifts of Healings
There is another way that we see God healing. A way that we all would like to watch and receive, but happens the least, and that is by divine sovereignty through the gifts of healings. The gifts of healings are numbered with the manifestations of the Spirit found in 1 Corinthians: “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:7–11, emphasis mine).
We see a good example of this in John 5: “After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 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, paralyzed, 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?”
“The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”
“Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked” (John 5:1–8).
Reading this we can observe several things. (1) Jesus didn’t touch him or anoint him with oil. (2) Jesus and the man didn’t come into any agreement about healing. They did not agree in prayer. (3) The man didn’t know who Jesus was. (4) Jesus knew supernaturally about the condition of the man. (4) The man used no personal faith at all. (5) There were a multitude of infirm people there, but Jesus only ministered to one. Why?
When the gifts of the Spirit is in manifestation, it is “as He [the Spirit] wills” not when we want it to happen (1 Corinthians 12:11). We can be open to it, available to the moving of the Spirit, but we can’t make it happen. Jesus couldn’t make it happen. If He could have, He would have cleared out the whole area, and would have healed everyone at Nazareth too. Also consider the man at the gate called Beautiful (Acts 3:1–10). Who knows how many times Jesus walked past this man. Yet, Jesus never healed him as He did the man at the pool. Why? The Spirit never moved on Him to heal in that manner.
We need to understand that Jesus was acting as a prophet anointed by the Spirit of God (Acts 10:28). He was the Son of God before being born into the earth, He was the Son of God while walking in the earth, and He’s the Son of God after His resurrection. Jesus laid aside His glory and power and served the Father as a man who needed to be anointed by the Spirit, just as you and I need to be (Philippians 2:5:11).
If the gifts of healings are not in manifestation, we can always teach and preach the word of God and then lay hands on the sick or anoint them with oil and pray for them. “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” (Matthew 4:23). Notice Jesus taught and preached before healing is mentioned. This agrees with what Mark wrote: “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 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” (Mark 16:15–18; emphasis mine). Knowing how God operates and how to receive from God helps us to teach and preach so others can receive.
Many get the idea Jesus healed everyone that He came across, but we can plainly see that isn’t the case. Some needed more teaching and preaching before they could receive. Hearing what God has to say brings faith for receiving. Healing belongs to us, but God’s power is passive. We activate it with our faith, but if we don’t know how the Kingdom of God operates or what Jesus bought for us, we won’t be able walk in the blessing provided.
I certainly don’t have all the answers. Nor do I feel I must. Life is about learning and growing. What I fail to learn of receiving from God while on earth, I’ll gain when I step out into eternity. And if I were to die tomorrow, what Jesus did for us remains the same. That being said, I’m not giving up without a fight.
Stay strong and prepared!