We are noticing that nowadays there are more and more deliverance ministries being raised up. In such ministries, demons or unclean spirits are cast out of people in the name of Jesus Christ. However, it seems that there are far fewer servants of God who can heal the sick as effectively as they can cast out demons. But there is nothing in Scripture which says that this should be the case.
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. (Luke 9:1-2)
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. (Matthew 10:8a)
From these two scriptures we see that Jesus gave his disciples power and authority over both demons and diseases. Then he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God, to heal the sick, and to cast out demons.
We emphasize that this authority given by Jesus to his disciples was over both demons and diseases. It was essentially the same type of authority over the two different classes of entities.
Let’s examine how Jesus used authority to deal with a demon on the one hand, and then how he used authority to deal with a physical infirmity on the other. First let’s see how Jesus ministered to a demonized man.
Luke 4:33 Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, 34 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us?.… 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him.
We see that Jesus issued an authoritative command to the demon by rebuking it. Since Jesus had authority over the demon, it was forced to obey his command and so came out of the man. Next, let’s see how Jesus ministered to a physically sick woman (who did not have a demon).
Luke 4:38 Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her.
We see that just as Jesus rebuked the unclean demon in the synagogue earlier, he also rebuked the fever which was afflicting Simon’s mother-in-law. It’s the same word in the Greek text (“epitimao”). He performed essentially the same action in each case, but toward a different object. In the case of Simon’s mother-in-law, Jesus issued an authoritative command to the fever, for example “Go!”, and it obeyed and left her.
…in order to heal the sick, it is not necessary to have the “gift of healing”
If we examine other miraculous healings performed by Jesus in the gospels, we see that more often than not he would issue some kind of authoritative command to the person or the infirmity. The point is, he would exercise AUTHORITY.
And, as every deliverance ministers knows, that is exactly how demons are cast out—by rebuking them and issuing authoritative commands to them in Jesus’ name. Therefore if you know how to cast out demons, then actually you already know how to heal the sick in Jesus’ name. You exercise the same authority in Jesus’ name—but now over physical infirmities.
Therefore in order to heal the sick, it is not necessary to have the “gift of healing.” Authority and power over infirmities, given to disciples for proclaiming the kingdom of God to the lost, are also very effective in healing the sick. This authority and power are separate and distinct from the “gift of healing.” This is where there is much misunderstanding, resulting in many servants of God shying away from healing the sick. They think that since they don’t have the gift of healing, they won’t try to heal the sick. But every disciple has been given a measure of authority over diseases (and also demons of course) with which they can in fact heal the sick in Jesus’ name.
That is precisely what is taught in The Elijah Challenge.