When one thinks of healing in today’s contemporary church culture, one might think of a meeting held in a church where mostly believers have gathered to worship God through Jesus Christ. When the worship is powerful, the “presence of God” may be felt. The “anointing” is present and miracles may take place. There may be words of prophecy, wisdom, or knowledge; miraculous healings might take place as the gift of healing is manifest through the Holy Spirit. Indeed Scripture teaches in I Corinthians Chapters 12 and 14 that these gifts of the Holy Spirit are for building up the body of Christ and that they can be manifested when believers come together to worship the Lord. (Miraculous healings can also take place in a “Healing Room” where prayer plays a prominent role—again more of a church-based activity.)
However, how can such miracles take place outside the context of church or a gathering of believers? Outside of this context there is usually no anointed worship and no felt presence of God. Believers on the average spend only a few hours per week in worship services; the overwhelming majority of their time is spent outside of “church.” They spend more time at home than at church. Even more of their time is spent at work “in the marketplace.” From the point of view of the proclamation of the Kingdom of God and the Great Commission, it is even more important for the miracles to happen in the marketplace than in church.
It is well and good for believers to be touched physically or otherwise by God. But it is even more important for the lost to witness or experience the miracles since they are the proof to the world that our God is the only true God and that Jesus Christ is the only way to Him. Believers, whether or not they experience God’s miraculous touch, are by definition already saved. But the lost often cannot believe and be saved unless they first witness miracles.
John 4:48 “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
Jesus did miracles primarily to prove to the lost that He was in fact the Christ, the Son of God and that He had power to grant eternal life to those who believe.
John 20:30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
God in His wisdom has indeed provided a means by which such miraculous signs can take place “in the marketplace.” It is called the authority of the believer to heal the sick and cast out demons as the Kingdom is proclaimed to the lost. Its operation is usually separate and distinct from the operation of the gift of healing.
The New Testament abounds with examples of the operation of this authority. Jesus Himself never prayed for the sick, but usually issued commands to diseases and demons based upon the authority the Father had given to Him. He gave a measure of this authority to His followers and taught them to heal the sick in the same fashion. In Acts, we often see the disciples (like Peter and Paul) continuing to exercise this authority over diseases and demons by the giving of authoritative commands. Obviously there were instances in which the gift of healing was also in operation, but the exercise of authority was in fact commonplace. This authority was often used to do miracles outside the walls of the church, where in fact the lost are found (pun intended).
When the Church learns and applies the authority over disease that she has been given for her witness “in the marketplace”—that is, anywhere outside of worship gatherings—then the lost will take the gospel of Jesus Christ seriously; the Great Commission will be fulfilled. This is the “second gun” that the Lord is restoring to His body.