Luke 9:1-2 One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
James 5:14-15 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
I don’t know what is going on at the moment but so many people I know have cancer. An uncle, a niece. Two neighbours. The daughter of someone we know at Port Ban. Three ladies in our church. In two cases, funeral arrangements are already being made, though death has not yet closed the final curtain. The very word “cancer” seems to strike fear into individuals, families, and the society in which we live. Those who are so afflicted generally don’t talk about it, as though they are ashamed of the diagnosis. Some, usually those without the illness, are quick to say that it is not the death sentence it used to be. And, statistically, it isn’t, but that can be small comfort to the recipients of bad news. The medical remedies are usually intrusive and debilitating. Lives are put on hold while treatment takes place. And when the hoped-for good news emerges, it can be tarnished by a nagging concern that the cancer has returned, when an ache or pain intrudes.
But as Christians what are we to make of this? How can we step back and watch, and let it happen, filling the silence with nervous and pious platitudes? Wringing our hands as the medics do what they can. In the Gospels, Jesus instructed His disciples to “heal the sick”. No qualifications. No prerequisites. And He didn’t say pray for the sick – they had authority to heal the sick. And no disease was exempt. (I can hear my son-in-law shout ‘Amen!’ as I write). Later on in the book of James, we read that the Elders in the church had the authority to pray over a sick person, accompanied by the annointing with oil, and the presence of faith, bringing about their healing. So rather than praying down a shopping list of sick people’s needs, should we be praying rather for healing authority to return to the church, starting with ourselves? O Lord! Please forgive us for our lack of faith, for our unbelief! Please bring revival to Your church.