I thank the LORD that I know he is the Great Physician and that He heals. When I was a teenager, my father, not a Christian, had a heart attack. He was in a coma and not expected to live through the night. Our church turned the evening service into a prayer meeting. During the night, God healed my dad and restored him to us. The doctor told us, “I had nothing to do with this Somebody much bigger than me took care of this.”
Our daughter Pam was born without the disease resistant quality in her blood. During her first two years she was sick much of the time. One evening, she was burning up with fever. I called our church leaders and asked them to come and join me in anointing her with oil. (James 5:13-15) Up to that time she had been having injections to boost her immune system. That night, her fever broke and from then on, she had no need of the booster shots.
In 1965, I became ill with hepatitis. I was l hospitalized with infection raging in my body. God spared my life, but I was severely weakened by the illness. About six months later, in obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I was anointed with oil and God healed me. Within six weeks, my stamina was fully restored. Praise God and here I am all these years later. In Genesis 18, God told Abraham and Sarah they were going to have a son. Both of them were advanced in years. Sarah laughed and God asked them, Is there anything too hard for the LORD?” Within a year she was caring for the promised son! There isn’t anything too hard for the LORD!
James was the half-brother of Jesus and he was the primary elder of the church in Jerusalem. As you read his letter, you will become aware that people were suffering from a variety of problems – physical, psychological and spiritual.
Why were the people that James was writing to, having such problems? There could have been a number of reasons : maybe some were experiencing persecution. It is also possible that they were suffering loss due to the famine spreading throughout the Roman Empire about the time that James was writing (45-47 AD).
In his letter, James shares with us one of the very first responsibilities of the elders that we find in God’s word :a prayer and healing ministry.
He tells us in James 5:13-16 “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the LORD. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the LORD will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
When Jesus was here and involved in ministry, He healed numerous people. The Apostle John recorded several of the miracles that Jesus performed. His goal in doing this was for people to be absolutely convinced that Jesus was/is God. In John 20:30-31 he wrote :
“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and by believing, you may have life in His name.”
In Hebrews 13:8, we read “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
We are assured in 1 Peter 5:7 that we should cast all our cares upon Him (Jesus) because He cares about you.”
As we study the miracles performed by Jesus and several others as recorded in the Book of Acts, we see there were several specific purposes for the miracles :
1. They were to establish Christ’s deity.
2. They were to establish the calling of the apostles.
3. To verify the message of the Gospel.
4. For the good of the one receiving God’s favor.
5. Always for the glory of God.
Now, let’s return to the teaching of James in 5:13-16.
What I am sharing with you now comes from the teachings of a wonderful man of God :Dr. Gene Getz.
“James used three Greek words to describe “sickness” that have their roots in the soul or heart. Though each word adds uniqueness in defining this “sickness” in essence, they are synonymous in meaning.”
· In 5:13, he asks the question, “Is anyone among you in trouble? (This Greek word coming from kakopatheo means to be afflicted or to be enduring hardship.)
· In 5:14, he asks, “Is anyone among you sick?” (This Greek word comes from astheneo and means to be feeble, weak, exhausted.)
· In 5:15 he makes the statement, “Make the sick person well.” (This Greek word comes from kamno and means to be faint, weak, worn out, exhausted.)
In several places through his letter, James speaks about different kinds of trials we experience. (1:2,12;5:10)
Are you aware that trials impact us in different ways? I used to be a sound sleeper. When my first wife (Barbara) was in the hospital for the two months before the LORD called her home, I could hardly sleep. Ever since I have been a very poor sleeper getting three or four hours per night.
Trials can affect us emotionally, relationally or spiritually. We read that people who have been through war many times face Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
So, James is saying that whenever someone is dealing with any kind of hardship or trial, he/she should call for the elders of the church, who are to pray over them and anoint with oil in the name of the LORD.
Verse 15 says, “The prayer offered in faith will save the sick person and the LORD will restore him to health …” God usually accomplishes His ministry through people of faith.
I believe that James makes it very clear that those who anoint with oil, need to be people of prayer and people of faith. We offer this ministry, not as a ritual but as an opportunity for people to experience the healing power of God and His word in their lives.
This ministry is available anytime you have a need. God is always available and ready to bless you.
By His power and for His glory,