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. …So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere. (Luke 9:1, 2, 6)

Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ (Luke 10:9)

Here Jesus commanded his disciples to “heal the sick” as they proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom of God to the lost. Likewise in the Church today every believer is taught to obey the Lord’s essential command to preach the gospel to the lost. HOWEVER, if we dare to obey the Lord’s command to “heal the sick who are there” as we share the gospel with them, some pastors are absolutely petrified. Some will even say that it is heretical for us to do or teach this.

What kind of mindset or theology results in such behavior?

It’s the theology that teaches us the half of this one verse which says “tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.'” is definitely prescription for us to carry out today, while the other half “heal the sick who are there” is but description meant for us to read only and not to carry out. We are told by the guardians of Christian orthodoxy that this other half was to be carried out only for the Jews at the time of the gospels and certainly not today following Pentecost when we are to make disciples of all nations—not only the Jews. If that is the case, why did Philip disobey God by healing the sick when he preached the gospel to the hated half-Gentile Samaritans in Acts 8?

It is astonishing when the guardians of cessationism—a doctrine which was formulated only about a century ago—apply the term “heresy” to teachings which hold that both halves of Luke 10:9 still apply today and should be carried out especially when proclaiming the kingdom of God to non-Christian gospel-resistant people groups who never heard.

Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ (Luke 10:9)

 It is one thing to hold to cessationism in the comfortable confines of the  “reached” Christian West, but an entirely different proposition to cling to it as a missionary sent to make disciples of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and idol-worshipers for whom Christianity is the very foreign religion of their former colonial masters.

Cessationism is in part a theological justification for our inability or refusal to obey the Lord’s command to heal the sick when proclaiming the kingdom of God to such very difficult people groups.