Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 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 one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
The practical application of this passage varies widely among believers today. Few, if any, of us call for the elders every time we have a cold. It seems that usually our efforts to apply this passage come only after we have exhausted all over means available.
Regardless of what our practices regarding anointing are, there is an important truth here that we shouldn’t ignore. Healing is not primarily physical. It is first of all spiritual.
The sick person isn’t told to call for a doctor. He is to call for his spiritual leaders—the elders of the church.
Anointing with oil isn’t merely a physical act. Oil was used for healing in those days, as we see in Isaiah 1:6 and Luke 10:34. But throughout Scripture, anointing was an act by spiritual leaders to consecrate and dedicate someone to God’s service.
It is the prayer of faith—a spiritual act—that makes the sick person well. It is the Lord—a Spirit—who raises him up. If he has sinned—a spiritual problem—he will be forgiven. In modern society we tend to see healing as a physical concern, and depend on science and technology.
Send a note—Pay your share—Don’t forget to say a prayer. Healing is above all a spiritual issue. The most important thing we do in this ministry is pray for each other.
For the Kingdom,
The Doorpost devotions originally ran in the Samaritan Ministries Christian Health Care Newsletter.