The nature of the healing that is spoken about here, Derek tells us, is the healing power of God channeled through the one who ministers the gift into the body of the one who is sick. Healing is directly related to sickness-where there is no sickness, there is no need of healing. So, healing is God's divine, supernatural power, channeled through a human believer, into the body of the one who is sick.
It’s good to be with you at the beginning of a new week sharing with you out of truths that life has taught me. Truths that have made the difference between success and failure in my life and can do the same for you.
Let me begin by saying “Thank you” to those of you who have been writing to me. Before I finish this talk, we’ll be giving you a mailing address to which you may write. Feel free to share with us your personal needs, your problems, your prayer requests.
All last week, I was sharing with you on the vital and exciting theme: “The Gifts of the Holy Spirit.” And this week I’m going to continue with the same theme. At the end of last week, I spoke on the first of the gifts of power, the gift of faith.
Today, I’m going to deal with the next of these gifts of power, the gift of healing or the gifts of healings. In the original Greek of the New Testament, both parts are plural: gifts of healings. We may understand this various ways. It may mean, in a sense, that each healing that you receive is a gift and that there are various kinds of healings. However, I won’t go further with that thought; just leave it with you that in the original it is “gifts of healings.”
What is the nature of the healing that is spoken about here? I would say that, in essence, it’s the healing power of God channeled through the one who ministers the gift into the body of the one who is sick. Healing is directly related to sickness. Where there is no sickness, there is no need of healing. So, healing is God’s divine, supernatural power, channeled through a human believer, into the body of the one who is sick. Coming against that sickness, dealing with it, and replacing it by health.
Now, we’ll take some examples from the ministry of Jesus. If we make an objective study of the ministry of Jesus recorded in the gospels, I think we could probably say that Jesus spent at least one-third of His public ministry healing the sick and casting out demons. Now, I don’t believe that’s ever ceased to be the will of God. I believe that’s still God’s will for those who minister the gospel today.
Looking in Luke 4:40, we find this description of the ministry of Jesus there:
“And while the sun was setting, all who had any sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on every one of them, He was healing them.”
It’s a significant fact that Jesus never turned away a sick person who came to Him for healing. There is no record of that in any of the gospels. He never said, “Your sickness is too severe,” or “It’s not the will of God to heal you.” In this instance described here, Jesus laid His hand on all who were sick. The power of God flowed from the hands of Jesus into the bodies of these sick persons, drove out the sickness and replaced it by health. So there was a healing power that emanated from the person of Jesus.
This is dealt with more fully in an incident in Mark 5:24–34; the healing of the woman who had the hemorrhage or the issue of blood:
“...and a great multitude was following Him and pressing in on Him. And a woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, And had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse, After hearing about Jesus, came up in the crowd behind Him, and touched His cloak. For she thought, ‘If I just touch His garments, I shall get well.’ And immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. And immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched My garments?’ [In one of the other versions it says, ‘Who touched me?’ I want you to see that though this woman touched the garments of Jesus with her hand; with her faith, she touched Him.] His disciples said to Him, ‘You see the multitude pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him, and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.’’”
Certain things we need to see there. First of all, as I’ve already said, at certain times supernatural healing power emanated from the body of Jesus. In a certain sense, this power was available to everybody and He was surrounded by a crowd, but not everybody received that power. One woman did. Why? Because her personal faith released the power. Everybody else was thronging Jesus but she touched Him. Her faith released that healing virtue.
Secondly, there was a manifest change in her own body. She felt the change. She knew the hemorrhage had ceased. So that’s an example of how the healing power of God operates. Then we look again in Luke 5:17 and it says:
“And it came about one day that He [Jesus] was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing.”
We see here that the supernatural power of God can actually permeate a place. The whole of a certain place can be filled or charged with this supernatural power. As a result, a paralyzed man was brought in and was healed.
I want to testify that I have been in situations in meetings when the healing power of God has actually permeated the place. Sometimes all the sick persons in the meeting have been healed.
Another example is given in Acts 5:15 & 16, in the ministry of Peter. It says:
“...that they even carried the sick out into the streets, and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. And also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits; and they were all being healed.”
Again, we see the reality of this supernatural healing power that comes first of all through Jesus and secondly, to those who are directly related to Him and serving Him in faith. In this case, in a certain sense, the healing power of God was actually conveyed through Peter’s shadow.
Now, I want to show you also an example of this healing power in the ministry of Paul. In Acts 28:8 & 9, speaking about what happened after Paul and his company had landed on the island of Malta, we read this:
“And it came about that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him. And after this had happened, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were coming to him and getting cured.”
We notice there a very clear statement of the Scripture. It says that Paul laid his hands on this man and healed him. Paul healed him. Now we know of course that the healing power actually come from God. But, nevertheless, God has committed it to his servant and there is a time when we have an obligation to heal. For instance, Jesus, when He sent out His first disciples said, “Whatever city you enter into, heal the sick.” He didn’t say, “Pray to Me to heal the sick,” He didn’t say, “Pray to God.” He said, “You heal the sick.” I believe that those of us who are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ have to face up to this obligation. At times and places of His own choosing, Jesus expects us to minister His healing power that the sick may be healed.
Now I’d like to speak a little bit of my own personal experiences in this connection. I’d like to relate an incident that happened about 1963 in the city of Minneapolis. I was the associate pastor of a church at that time. My first wife, Lydia, and I were praying together in the morning in our bedroom as we normally did, and at a certain time, we were conscious of the presence of God in a very unusual way coming into our room. We both had our hands lifted up in the air praising the Lord. After a while, Lydia turned to me and she said, “Derek, the Lord has just placed a gift of healing in my hands—right there!” And she showed me the palm of her left hand; put her finger on it. I said, “You don’t need to tell me. I know it already.” How I knew it, I couldn’t tell you but I did. Well, that morning was the weekly church prayer meeting, so we went out to the prayer meeting and spent maybe a couple of hours in prayer and then, at the end, a rather timid little sister in the assembly came up to my wife and said, “Oh, I feel so bad. Will you pray for me?” Without thinking or reflecting on what God had done, Lydia put out her left hand, put it on the woman’s head, and the woman just disappeared. I mean she didn’t fall, she just wasn’t there; and there she was flat on the ground on her back. She stayed there for perhaps 5 minutes, then she got up and she was quite embarrassed and apologetic. She said, “I’m sorry that happened,” she said, “but there was such power in your hand, I just couldn’t stand up.” And that was how Lydia got launched in the exercise of this gift of healing. For the next 12 years, the remaining 12 years of her life, it was operated through her frequently and many, many people were instantly healed.
She explained to me how it operated. Before that, she’s often prayed with faith for people to be healed and they had been healed, but she said to me, “Derek, when the gift operates, it’s different.” She said, “I don’t try to exercise my faith,” she said, “I just keep quiet in my spirit and I contact God on behalf of the person and then, at a given moment, the gift comes through me, and I know that if the person will receive the gift, at that moment they’ll be healed.” Of course, there’s still an element of personal faith required in the person that’s prayed for. God gives the gift, but the person being prayed for still has to receive that gift of healing.
Well, our time is up for today, but I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll be speaking on the third gift of power: “The Effecting or Working of Miracles.” I’ll be explaining, amongst other things, the difference between healings and miracles.