We talk a lot about sickness and healing in church as Christians. And the bible shows HEAPS of examples where the Lord and the apostles walked amongst the people healing the sick. So it raises the question today, why do Christians get sick?
I see churches who run healing meetings at and I must say I sometimes have a bit of a laugh about it. A sign out the front of the church that says, “Come and Be Healed…7:00 – 9:00 AM Tuesday’s” or something like that. It always sounds to me like, if you don’t turn up then, you won’t get your healing.
But it does raise a good question when we look at all those healings in the bible and yet we don’t seem to see them today. Well, this scripture today should give us some comfort and help explain why this is the way it is, and we will look at what the Lord has provided for those who do get ill.
One of the foundations of Christianity includes laying on of hands. There were six key foundational concepts recorded in the book of Hebrews. We see these foundations defined in Hebrews 6:1-2.
1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
There are two primary reasons and purposes for this process. One of those is the laying on of hands for receiving the Holy Spirit as seen in Acts 19:1-6 and Acts 8:17-18.
The second reason for laying on of hands is for the purpose of healing and that is what we see mentioned in this section of scripture.
There is a practice in the church that The Lord has provided for His people to enable them to be healed of disease or other afflictions. That practice is described in James 5 and relates to the laying on of hands and anointing with oil. When this process is followed correctly the power and authority to heal is given to the church so that the one suffering may be healed.
And it works. I have seen it happen and can testify to the efficacy of this practice in my own life.
But there is also what I have called here, “Healing in a virtual world.” In this case it does not require the person to directly lay hands upon the sick person but the illness is brought under the power of God from a distance through other means.
We see an example of this in these few verses of Acts 19 where tremendous miracles and healings were done by Paul without his immediate presence. So let's take a look at this and what it means today.
This section of scripture has two very interesting insights. Paul and Barnabas had come to lustration and one of the first things they did as they were preaching the word was to heal a man who was a crippled from birth.
It was this action that caused the people of Lystra to mistake these two men of God for being Gods. And it was what occurred after this happened that is interesting and provides us with two significant insights.
There were many healings and miracles done by the hands of the apostles and here again we see The Lord working through Peter to heal Aeneas.
Aeneas was a very sick man. He had been bed ridden for eight years and unable to stand as ha was paralysed. We need to,understand too in those days there was no medical insurance and no hospitals or respite care facilities. When Aeneas became ill he became the responsibility of the family or friends to look after, otherwise he would simply die.
And being a long term illness the likelihood of any improvement or a complete recovery was pretty much zero. He was stuck a paralytic with the knock on effect for the rest of his family to look after him until he died. Not much of a future to look forward to and in some ways similar to the state most people in this world today. Let us have a look at this.
We live in a virtual world these days. Much of what we do and how we connect with one another is done online. We have instantaneous access to information and people across the world by using the Internet. We make friends, find partners, do work and find entertainment in the virtual world.
The virtual world allows us to do things, see things and find things without actually being there physically. We can almost live our whole lives without leaving the comfort and security of our own homes.
And people think this is such an amazing and new thing that they do not even realise that the virtual world existed and was operating thousands of years ago. Yes this same instant and immediate activity was working back in the time of Jesus and the apostles, and we can see a good example of it in practice in these scriptures.
As Peter and John came to the temple at the hour of prayer, they came upon a beggar laying at the temple gate seeking alms from the people. This beggar had not asked to be healed but simply looked at Peter and John asking them in the hope they may give him some money.
Peter looked intently at the man, as did John, and Peter said to him these words.
6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
This was a miraculous healing for the man had been lame from birth and he was well known and recognised, for he came to this gate of the temple every day seeking alms. As a result, all the people who were there and saw what was happening were amazed at this incredible miracle.
Sometimes the Lord may ask us to do the strangest things. Sometimes we may think, “Surely he is not serious? He must be joking?” There were many times in the Bible where we see the Lord say to His people to do something that just seemed to be…well, strange.
But in all of these things we learn that faith is much more important than knowledge. There were times and situations in the bible that we read about where you had to throw logic out the window. The mind of man said that what the Lord was asking them to do just did not make any reasonable or logical sense.
But what He was teaching in those times was whether the person or people would be faithful. Whether they would obey or not. Even though they may have thought what they were being asked was just plain impossible, whether they would accept the word of the Lord or not. And that is all about having faith.
This section of scripture is a classic example of the need for and working of faith in the face of knowledge, which would tell you that what Jesus asked was ridiculous and impossible. But in Christ we learn that all things are possible.
Do you ever get told off by someone else for not listening? I know I do! So often we do not hear what is being said because we are not listening. Well it just doesn't happen with our families and friends, but too often we don't hear the Lord because we are not listening and in this section of scripture concerning the healing of a paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda (some say Bethsaida) we see a classic example of this syndrome.
Persistence is critical to your walk with Jesus. We are at war in the spiritual realm and the devil will throw all kinds of things in your way to block you from walking wholeheartedly with Jesus Christ. But you cannot allow those things to stand in your way and to drag you down. You must never, ever give up regardless of what comes as the reward for your persistence is the crown of life.