Kalimpong, West Bengal, India
November 2000

The Elijah Challenge in India

Pastor John was an apostolic church-planter serving in the northeastern Indian province of West Bengal, near the foothills of the great Himalayas. On the third and final day of a Conference in the town of Kalimpong, the keynote speaker, who was from the United States, called him forward to do something he had never done before. Nearly four hundred people from all over the region were in attendance that morning, and some of them needed physical healing. The speaker asked him to minister healing to the people in the name of Christ. Of course, he had prayed for the sick before, but always through the laying of hands on people one-by-one. But this was very different. The speaker told him to minister healing to all the infirm at the same time from the front of the meeting hall without laying hands on or approaching anyone. Not only that, Pastor John was not simply to ask the Father in the name of Jesus to heal the sick. The speaker instructed him to command the healing of the people in the name of Jesus using the authority that Christ had already given believers for the sake of winning the lost.

Pastor John joined the speaker at the front with a measure of confidence that the Lord was going to use him that morning. In the first two days of the Conference, the speaker had taught the believers that Jesus had given them power and authority to heal the sick and cast out demons for the preaching of the gospel (Luke 9:1-2; 10:1,9,17). Time and time again, Pastor John had seen the Lord confirm this authority visibly. The speaker would challenge the believers, even those who had never ministered to the sick before or denied having the gift of healing, to come forward to lay hands on the sick, and almost without exception, the person would testify to miraculous healing, sometimes from years of pain and infirmity. It was indeed quite amazing, but in accord with the Scriptures in the context of proclaiming the gospel. Now the speaker had asked Pastor John to minister “mass healing” to the people.

Before handing the microphone over to Pastor John, the speaker instructed the people who needed healing to raise their hands. Hands went up from throughout the hall. Believers who sat next to these people were to lay hands on them while Pastor John ministered from the front. 

Taking the floor, Pastor John said, “In the name of Jesus, I command every spirit of infirmity to leave. I command the healing of sickness and infirmity here in the mighty name of Christ….” With that, Pastor John returned the microphone. The speaker smiled at the people knowingly and said, “raise your hand if you have been healed.” Hands went up again. “Those of you whom the Lord has healed just now, come forward to testify.” Twenty-three men and women streamed to the front. One by one, they gave testimonies of being touched by God as Pastor John spoke in Jesus’ name.

“I’ve had continuous pain in the back of my neck because of low blood pressure, but now I’m healed.”

“For a few days my hands have been itching and burning…it’s gone!”

“Something felt stuck in my throat. I’ve tried medicine and prayer without success, but now I don’t feel it in my throat anymore.”

“I’ve been feeling pain and irritation in my hand, but now it’s healed.”

“For over a year I’ve suffered from a headache, but now I’m well!”

“During the past 15 years, I’ve felt pain in my chest whenever I swallow food. But no more!”

Four years ago, some insect flew into my eye and caused injury, impairing my eyesight. But I can see clearly now!”

“I’ve had a toothache for a few days, but there’s no more pain.”

“My stomach has been hurting badly for a few days…for two nights during this Conference I couldn’t sleep because of the pain. I was reluctant to approach Pastor Bill to ask for prayer…but now I’m healed!”

“From this morning I felt my stomach upset and burning…but I’m well now.”

“I’ve had this burning sensation all over my body for six months…it’s gone!”

“For three months I’ve had a festering sore on my leg, but now the pain and burning have stopped, and the sore is drying up!”

“I couldn’t walk properly for 3½ years because my knee would be in pain and I couldn’t straighten it. But the pain is totally gone, and I have complete freedom in my knee now!” (He demonstrates by swinging his leg back and forth vigorously.)

“A month ago I fell from a certain height and hurt my back…during the Conference sessions I couldn’t sit up without pain. (The participants all sat on the floor.) But now I can sit up comfortably.”

“I had pain in the back of my knee…it’s healed.”

“For the last few years I had pain in my abdomen, but I’m well!”

“I had a stomach disorder…now I’m healed.”

(One testimony here not translated into English.)

“I’ve had a sinus condition for a few years…it’s healed!”

“For a few years, I couldn’t climb steps or up hills because of a bad back. After the healing ministry I went outside and was able to climb up the steep incline without pain!”
“My headache is gone.”

“I’m been healed of the swelling in my kidneys, and my little girl’s fever is finally gone after 3 or 4 days!”

After listening to all these testimonies, the speaker looked at Pastor John and with a grin declared, “God wants you to have evangelistic miracle crusades, Pastor!”

Turning to the Conference participants, he said, “There are other people here whom God wants to use to minister in the same way. Pray, seek the Lord, and move out by faith. Who here wants to preach the gospel with this power?”

Hands shot up into the air from all over the meeting place.

Let us briefly study the theology behind the ministry of “mass healing.” In this type of ministry, the believer ministers healing from a distance to more than one person at a time.

    • Luke 7:1 When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them. 
    • He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 
    • 9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

The centurion knew that Jesus did not need to come to his home to heal the servant. Other people usually asked Jesus to lay hands on the afflicted person. But this centurion, being a high-ranking military officer, understood well the nature of authority. Since he had been given authority to command by his commander-in-chief, he exercised total authority over the soldiers under him. His men were trained to obey his every command without hesitation. They had to obey him; they had no choice. The centurion knew this, and when he gave a command, he expected instant obedience. He had no doubt, worry, or anxiety whatsoever that his men would obey.

His authority was not limited by physical proximity or contact with his men. A 21st century general can command his soldiers from a distance, for example by radio or telephone, and their submission would be just as if he had spoken to them face-to-face. The Roman centurion understood that just as he had complete authority in the military, Jesus had the same authority in the realm of the spirit, in particular, over disease and demons. “Just speak the word, Jesus, and my servant will be healed.” Jesus spoke the word, and the servant was healed at that moment from 

Nor was the centurion limited to giving orders to one soldier at a time; he could give simultaneous commands to as many as could hear his voice. It is not hard to imagine that Jesus may have done the same as he spoke the word to many sick people at once, and they were all healed at the same time. Scripture teaches that one day the dead in the graves shall all hear the voice of the Son of God, and they shall all rise.

This is the theology behind the ministry of “mass healing.” Believers in Jesus Christ have authority over disease and demons, and that authority is limited neither by distance nor by number. The main limitation is the extent our faith in the word of God which clearly states we have been given authority by Jesus. When we minister to the sick, we must exercise mountain-moving faith. There must be no doubt or apprehension about the outcome; disease and demons have no choice but must obey us.

We have taught this to believers at every spiritual level. We have witnessed “ordinary” believers—not necessarily pastors, evangelists, or full-time servants of God—minister healing from a distance to a group of sick people. The only requirement is that they are born-again Christians, committed to preaching the good news of Christ Jesus and winning souls. This is the grace of God which is being poured out on all flesh for the sake of fulfilling the Great Commission before the return of Christ. The ministry of “mass healing” is quite suitable for mass evangelistic crusade meetings where hundreds if not thousands of people may need healing or deliverance in the name of Jesus.