In contemporary charismatic circles there is an emphasis on “the anointing.” It is said that when the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost, He brought this anointing to the Church and to the followers of Jesus Christ. Through this anointing, we can serve Him with supernatural power. In charismatic meetings preachers will often lay hands on seekers to impart this anointing to them for supernatural ministry to others. Unfortunately the New Testament does not teach that this type of anointing is available to believers. While we do have an anointing which enables us to know the truth and teaches us all things (1 John 2:20, 27) and is a seal of God’s ownership on us (2 Corinthians 1:21-22), New Testament Scripture is clearly silent on any anointing to minister to others with supernatural power.
However, Scripture does clearly teach that we have been given gifts of the Holy Spirit to minister to the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12). While the laying on of hands to impart spiritual gifts is certainly scriptural (2 Timothy 1:6), this is not the only area that needs to be addressed for believers to be able to minister effectively, especially in the area of ministering healing to the sick. There is something else—the power and authority to heal—which has been ignored with the result that most believers cannot minister to the infirm with any consistent level of effectiveness. For those who have a gift of healing, it is not in operation at all times. Moreover not all believers have such a gift. What can be done when the gift is not present or not in operation?
When the gift of healing is not operating, all witnesses of Christ can still minister to the sick using the authority over disease that He has given us. (Luke 9:1,2; Luke 10:1,9) How do we release this power to heal?
Matthew 17:14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” 17 “O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. 21 But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
Although the disciples had been given authority to cast out demons, the demon would not obey their command to leave. The reason was because they lacked mountain-moving faith as they issued the command to the demon. In the incident recounted below, Jesus demonstrated the nature of this faith to Peter when he cursed the fig tree. The tree obeyed his command and withered. Prayer and fasting increase this kind of mountain-moving faith.
Mark 11:14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it. …20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!” 22 “Have faith in God [the original Greek manuscript reads ‘have the faith of God’],” Jesus answered. 23 “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.
In his explanation, Jesus identifies mountain-moving faith with the “faith of God.” This is the faith which the disciples lacked when they tried to cast out the demon. They did not lack authority, but they lacked mountain-moving faith, or the “faith of God.”
In the same way, it is not necessarily a lack of “the anointing” which lies behind our failure to heal the sick or cast out demons on a more consistent basis. (How many “anointing services” does a believer need to attend in order to receive enough of it?) Rather, in many cases, it is a lack of understanding the “faith of God” which cripples the church in the area of supernatural healing.
In certain circles, much is said about “the anointing,” and perhaps enough has been said. Jesus identified the source of the disciples’ failure to heal the boy not as a lack of “the anointing,” but rather as a lack of “the faith of God.” How can we explain this kind of faith?
Should God desire to move a mountain, He might issue a command to it. If He should speak to a mountain and command it to move, would He ever doubt that the mountain would obey Him? Of course not. Why would God not doubt? When God said, “Let there be light,” did He have any doubt that the light would obey His command? Of course not. God does not doubt because He knows He is God and therefore has all authority. Whatsoever He commands must be done. In the same way, when Jesus spoke to the fig tree, did he entertain any doubt that the fig tree would obey him and die? Certainly not; Jesus knew the Father had given him all authority. Therefore he knew the fig tree had to obey his command. This is the “faith of God.” It is based on authority. We have also been given a measure of authority over disease and demons for proclaiming the gospel (Luke 9:1-2; 10:1, 9). Therefore we do not doubt that they will obey us when we command them to leave. This is the “faith of God” that releases the power to heal the sick to demonstrate to non-believers that Jesus is the only Savior. But when we issue commands with doubt and fear, disease and demons can sense it and will not obey us. The power will not be manfest.
How did Jesus heal the sick in the gospels? He did not pray for them, but rather issued authoritative commands for their healing. In the same way, we disciples to a certain degree can heal the sick by issuing commands to disease and demons authoritatively and without any doubt. This is precisely how a General in the military or a CEO issues commands. There is no doubt in their hearts that their commands will be obeyed.