Decades ago beginning in the second half of the Twentieth Century, God would visit His people in charismatic churches with seemingly “spontaneous” miraculous healings as they gathered together to worship Him. Without His people doing much of anything, the Lord would simply “show up” with power and many people would be healed and touched in some supernatural way.
But today there seems to be a famine in the land. The miraculous healings of yesterday are rare and nearly non-existent. The only time they seem to happen if at all is when some specially-gifted servant of God comes to minister. It may be true that certain miracles do take place with certain ministers, but since such miracles are not found in Scripture we must be cautious and exercise discernment. What in the world have happened to the miracles of healing which we find so prevalent in the gospels and in Acts?
The early days
Back in the nascent days of the charismatic renewal movement, it was all very new for the people. They had never seen anything like it. You could therefore say that the movement had given birth to spiritual “infants.” With infants, parents are very patient and understanding. They will do everything for the helpless ones and take care of all their needs without requiring them to do anything. This is why the Lord like a parent would just show up and move supernaturally to take care of the needs of His people, such as physical healing. Like suckling babies, they would simply receive the blessings and nourishment without doing much of anything.
But that was then. Today the Lord expects His people to have matured to spiritual adulthood. Normal adults are expected to take responsibility and to do things for themselves. In the same way, the Lord now expects His people to take responsibility and to know how to do what He expects of them. What does the Lord expect of us?
Luke 9:1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
Luke 10:9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’
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.”
Jesus expected his disciples to perform miracles
Among other things, the Lord taught and commanded his disciples to preach the kingdom of God, to heal the sick and to cast out demons. (The gospels do not record him ever teaching or commanding his disciples to pray for the sick or the demonized.) When they failed to cast out a demon in Matthew 17 above, he was very disappointed with them and rebuked them harshly. If we believe that these commands are still valid today—and many believers do—it means that Jesus expects His mature disciples today to heal the sick and cast out demons as we proclaim the kingdom of God to the lost.
Therefore it is no wonder that the miraculous healings of yesterday no longer take place in our midst. We do not know how to heal the sick as mature disciples should be able to do. Because of our traditions and our theology, we have never been taught. All we can do, like helpless babes, is cry out to God and wait on Him to heal the sick. In earlier days when we were still spiritual infants, He would coming running and perform miraculous healings for us. But now that we have grown up to become adults, He expects us to be able to do certain things like healing the sick for ourselves. No wonder it is not like it used to be.
Now that we are adults, the Lord requires us to read the Scriptures, divide them correctly, and to obey them. It turns out that the Bible contains all the teaching we need in order to be able to heal the sick and cast out demons as Jesus taught and commanded his disciples 2,000 years ago. But our eyes have been blinded to the teaching even though it is in plain sight in the Scriptures.
What can we do if we have understanding?
But if we have understanding, we can properly interpret and apply the instructions given in James 5 for ministering to infirm believers. When we obtain this understanding, we will see the sick healed just as the Scriptures declare.
James 5:15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.
In the same way, when we preach the kingdom of God to the lost, we will be able to do what the early disciples did.
Luke 9:6 So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.
May the Church now act and minister in a way which is appropriate for a spiritually-mature bride. No longer should we depend solely on “visitations of God” in order to witness the supernatural. If the Lord visits us with supernatural manifestations, we are very grateful to Him. But if He chooses not to, we can still witness the miraculous as we heal the sick and cast out demons in the proclamation of the gospel to the lost.
Rhema vs. logos
No longer should we depend exclusively on receiving a “rhema” from the Holy Spirit before daring to step out of the boat and ministering in the supernatural. When we have understanding of the “logos”—the written word consisting of Holy Scripture—we will understand that we have been given a measure of authority to minister in the supernatural even without receiving a “rhema.” We must understand that the “logos” came before and takes precedence over the “rhema.”
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word [“logos”], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
However, because of the current dearth of understanding about miraculous healing in the Church today, we have drifted away from supernatural healing and deliverance to focus on other manifestations not found in Scripture. In Acts it was usually miraculous healing which drew the multitudes to Jesus Christ. But today the miracles, if any, do not involve miraculous healing but rather strange and questionable manifestations not supported by Scripture. Today it is not miraculous healing and the promise of eternal life which draw people to the Lord, but rather promises of prosperity, success, blessing, and comfort in this life. We have drifted away from the true gospel.
But the Lord is now restoring supernatural healing and deliverance to His Church. We can now return to preaching the pure and unadulterated gospel with great boldness, and be confident that it will be confirmed with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power. Then the faith of the people will no longer depend on man’s wisdom, but on God’s power.