Sunday, December 27, 2015


The Healing Ministry
      If you had cracked open the door of the cool house in the outskirts of the African bush many years ago, you would have seen a young girl holding the hand of a woman, burning with fever, dying in agony. The local priest had been asked to anoint the woman with the sacred oil of the Anointing of the Sick, according to the guidance of James. 1

     As the priest prayed over the woman, her breathing stopped. He gently traced the crosses of oil on her forehead; her lips; her hands. As he completed the last benediction, the girl felt the heat disappear from the hand she held; the woman gave a gasp, and sat up; completely healed. The young girl was so fearful at this extraordinary event, she dropped the woman’s hand and gave a loud cry, fleeing to the room next door. When she eventually summoned up the courage to come back to the room, she asked the priest, what happened? The priest said to her, ‘Where is your faith? You prayed with me to God for a healing in Jesus’ Name, and when you received the healing, you ran away.’

    That girl, dear Reader, was me. And that was my introduction to the vibrant world of the healing ministry. I had realised that Jesus could heal. I had not comprehended that Jesus continues to raise healers to continue the work He began long ago when the sick and those seeking hope crowded around his back door.

The Need for Healing
      Was Jesus aware of our need for healing? Yes, and deeply so. Consider the words of the Prophet Malachi in ancient times, ‘the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings’2 Now listen to the words of Jesus, ‘Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘the kingdom of God has come near to you’’. 3 You can clearly see that the Torah, the Old Testament, foretold that Jesus, Son of God, the sun of righteousness would primarily bring healing; and that Jesus affirmed our need for healing.

      In society today, there is a great need for healers – and for priests with the gift of healing. Many people are suffering, and need someone to help them heal. There are many forms of suffering; and many forms of healing ministries.

Joining the Seventy Two
      The road to Jerusalem is a tiring one. But the Master is calling, and you want to hear what He says. As the camp is being set up by your fellow followers of Jesus, and a savoury meal prepared, you hear His words to seventy two of His disciples. ‘Go ahead of me, two by two, to every town and place I am about to go.’ 

  Then Jesus explains to the wide-eyed disciples that they are to bring peace, and witness to the coming Kingdom of God by healing. 4 Jesus is making healers of His followers. 
  The whispered words among the seventy two tell you that the Master had recently called the inner circle of disciples, the honoured Twelve; and given them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases. 5 You ignore the rapidly cooling air of the evening, and the flickering flames of the campfires as Jesus’ Eyes meet yours; is He calling you to be a healer too?

Ancient Prophecies
      Before you have time to ponder Jesus’ look at you, your thoughts are interrupted by the woman on your right. 
  She has been following the Master from village to village, and, as she shares her bread with you, she whispers of Jesus’ great ministry as a Healer. 
  His healing ministry, she explains as she ladles out hot stew, was foretold by the great Isaiah himself. ‘Isaiah promised the deaf would hear, and the blind see’, the woman murmurs, ‘and it is true! Jesus healed many people during the evening after He healed Peter’s mother-in-law in Capernaum. I myself was healed of illness, and now I follow Him.’
    So, Reader. a prophet who lived many centuries ago foretold the time that God would arrive and heal the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf, the mobility of the lame, and the voice of the mute 6   You know that Jesus did all these things in a spiritual sense, in offering truth and salvation; and in a literal sense by performing miracles of healing. And, as His Gaze settles on you, you sense He is asking you to join Him in this ministry.

Becoming a healer
      It’s not hard to see how perfectly Jesus fulfilled His Ministry as Healer. The prophecies had made it clear that Jesus would be an inspirational Healer. The question remains, why was healing necessary? Simply, because there is such great need for healing.

    People suffered with physical and mental illness and pain in Jesus’ society, and people do today. Jesus came to ease this burden, and He called people over the centuries to help Him with this great ministry, as He is calling us today.

    The sign of healing is symbol of a deeper reality; that the kingdom of God is among us, and that satan’s power is being put to flight. To become a healer, we need to accept the call of Jesus Christ to become a minister of healing. Then we need to steep ourselves in the Word of God, to read Jesus’ words and reflect on His actions. We need to become a student of the Rabbi Jesus. Only by imitating His life, can we begin the process of becoming like Him, and to develop our gift of healing.

    Jesus healed for three reasons. First, to fulfil the Plan of God as foretold by the Prophets to whom He revealed His Will long ago. Second, because Jesus was moved to compassion to bring relief to the suffering of the sick. Third, Jesus healed people as a miraculous wonder and as a deliberate sign that the kingdom of God was at hand. The healings and wonders were a sign of hope that the promises God has made of happiness and immortality with Him eternally were true, and that our slavery under the dominion of the evil one was at an end.

    Power for healing came so strongly from Jesus, that people could feel it. A woman of faith tapped into this healing energy, by touching the hem of His garment. His healing power was so great that it passed through the threads of the garment, healing her instantly. 7

    Jesus’ healings showed that the immense power of God is ranged on the side of the poor, the weak and the sick. The healings were the signs of God’s stupendous power and supreme authority manifested. And healings continue to be a sign of God’s power today.

    The goal of Jesus’ healing ministry – besides healing for the threefold reasons – is to train priests and healers to heal the sick the same way Jesus did.
Chosen to heal
      Who does God reach out to choose as healers? We are all healers, in that we possess the ability to exert positive healing influence on ourselves, others and the world by using the power of touch and thought. 
  That said and done, some people are specially gifted healers. Many develop healing powers as the years go on. Many priests as part of their calling develop the gift of healing.

Changing our destiny
      Our destiny changed the moment God decided to step into human affairs. He made promises that He would come to earth and change the path of human suffering. The Prophets told the people of the day when the God of Israel would come to earth in human form, and become both Saviour and Redeemer. He would be the Messiah 8 Jesus, the Son of God, was born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father.

God gave indications of the importance of healing of our sin and illnesses. Proverbs 4;20-22 tells us, ‘My friend, listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice. Keep my message in plain view at all times. Keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to the whole body.’

God makes it plain that ‘I am God your Healer’. 9 God tells us that He speaks the word that heals us. 10 God promises us that He will rid us of sickness 11 When we call to Him for help, He heals us 12 The sacrifice of Jesus leads to our healing, ‘By His wounds we are healed.’13

God promises He will restore us back to health 14 and will heal the heartbroken and bandage their wounds. 15 Prophet Jeremiah well knows the healing power of God, having this to say, ‘Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for You are the One I praise.’ 16 What greater symbol for the greatness of God than as the Father Who is our Healer; Who walks among us to dispense love and healing.

Healings of Jesus Christ
      Standing in the crowd, you have told the Master that you will become a healer. He comes to sit next to you, and sighs as He sits and settles. It has been a long day, and you are both tired. It is an honour to be asked to follow Him in this unique manner; and He is honoured that you accept. 

  As He stares into the campfire, you become anxious about this new venture, and tell Him. As you and He talk, your conversation turns towards healing. And now you remember all the healings you have seen Him perform, and those of which you have heard. 
  And you take heart. There was the healing of the Official’s Son. 17 Jesus healed the Centurion’s servant. 

  You well remember this, as there was such a fuss that Jesus had healed at a military Roman commander’s request. Jesus healed a paralytic; from complete immobility, the man had risen to take up a full life once again – the crowds were in awe at the sight. Jesus healed a man’s withered hand. 

  You heard from Peter himself that the Master calmed a storm – held out His Hand over battered waves and hurling winds, and immediately calm descended upon nature. 

  Such power, such strength. Not only had Jesus healed the blind, the deaf, the mute; He had raised people who had passed the portals of death, who came back with strange tales to tell. You are about to walk following the footsteps of a Master of Healing Who has called you to bring ease to the suffering of those in need.

Laying on of hands
      Jesus explains to you that often He lays hands on the sufferer in order to heal. This is not the only way of healing, but it is a wonderful way to start learning about the healing ministry. 
  Jesus laid his hands on each of the sufferers who wended their way to the back door of Simon Peter’s house at sunset, and healed them all. 
  His touch brought comfort and healing. His touch also exorcised demons who had taken undue and unlawful abode in people 18 The laying on of hands is when hands are placed on a person, usually on the person’s head.

    One of the oldest therapies known to humanity, healing – or the laying on of hands – is seen in its simplest form in the love a mother has for her child. 
  Mothers soothe by touch, loving thoughts and words. In India, many mothers routinely massage their infants with loving touch, deepening the maternal-infant bond. 
  Healers seek to tap into and use this unseen energy source in order to benefit those in need and seeking help in healing.

Tap into healing powers
      How can you tap into your healing powers? Look within yourself. Do you have a feeling that inspires you to help other people? Does the sight of others’ pain distress you, making your want to ease their suffering? Then yes, you have the signs of one who has the potential for the ministry of healing.

    Jesus taught the disciples to tap into their own healing powers by calling them to follow Him – to imitate Him. Jesus did not give His disciples a textbook. 
  He invited each one to follow Him – literally, to ‘walk after’ Him. They needed to live life beside Him to learn from Him as they journeyed. This form of teaching by ongoing words and example encouraged the disciples’ hearts to change as they walked with Jesus. 
  By journeying and studying their Healing Master closely, the disciples imperceptibly began to become like Him; and the healing powers that clung to the very tzitziyat – the ritual fringes – of Jesus’ garments awoke within themselves.

    In order to awake our healing powers, we need to follow the guidance of Christ. We equip ourselves to heal by learning to imitate Christ, just as the disciples did. That’s right. We need to steep ourselves in His Scriptures, learn about His Words, practise them in our lives. 

  We need to learn to carry out the Sacraments of Healing Jesus instituted; Baptism, Reconciliation, Sacraments of the Anointing of the Sick with oil, the Eucharist. These Sacraments (or signs of God’s healing work among us) are powerful aids to Healing – as are prayer, meditation, balanced fasting.

    Jesus used the age-old, African teaching maxim of ‘See one, do one, teach one’. Jesus empowered the disciples to heal by taking them on His travels, where they could observe Him. 

  The disciples witnessed Jesus healing in many situations. Once they had seen how Jesus, healed, He then sent them out with authority to tap into their own healing skills, and learn – by practice – to heal as He healed. 19 

  In other words, the disciples practised by imitating Jesus. The reassuring thing is, the disciples didn’t always get the healing right first time; sometimes they had to call on Jesus as they struggled to successfully tap their healing skills.20  

  Starting off in the healing ministry is easy enough. The novice should carry out the healing services as instituted by the Church; God’s Grace works powerfully through these services. 

  As time goes on, and your powers deepen and strengthen with time and experience, you will be able to become a channel for God’s healing powers to reach those in need.

Questions for Reflection
1.     How do you view healing, and what part does it play in your life?
2.     Have you ever experienced a healing?
3.     Why do you think Jesus attached such importance to the healing ministry?
4.     Why do you think the ancient prophecies laid such emphasis on healing by God?
Reflect on the questions above; you may want to make notes.
Keep your notes in one book.

1 ‘Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the Name of the Lord.’ James 5;14
2 Malachi 4;2
3 Luke 10;9
4 Luke 10;1-8
5 Luke 9;2
6 Isaiah 35;5-6
7 Luke 8;46
8 Isaiah 9;6-7
9 Exodus 15;26
10 Psalm 107;20
11 Exodus 23;25
12 Psalm 30;2
13 Isaiah 53;5
14 Psalm 41;2-3
15 Psalm 147;3
16 Jeremiah 17;14
17 John 4;43-54
18 Luke 4;40-41
19 Matthew 10;1
20 Mark 9;13-29

Good Shepherd Church Seminary
Doctor of Healing Ministry Lesson One

Rev Catherine
Use freely for any worthy purpose

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