myth-busting divine healing: 10 shifts
Updated: 5 days ago
This is the first of a three-part series.
In the past 6 years I have had the privilege of being present to well over 1000 experiences of divine healing, some complete healing and others partial. Most of these were within “the church” and some outside the church with people who did not yet know Jesus. Likely more than 95% of these healings were realized not under my hands but under the hands of God’s people who had rarely, if ever, seen God heal people. Yet these folks had chosen to make the necessary shifts away from myths and misbeliefs and towards God's truth regarding God’s heart to see people healed and restored. This blog series is devoted to busting the common myths I have observed surrounding the subject and would commend the intercessors and leadership teams of every church to consider these.
Myth #1: We Can’t Do What Jesus Did
Jesus said the opposite in John 14:12, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” EVERYONE who believes. That includes the old, the young, the women, the men, the brave and the initially timid. Everyone gets to play. So what works did Jesus do? Many things. He lived a holy and compassionate life, he demonstrated kindness and generosity, he was an anointed teacher and prophet. However, the most common descriptor of his ministry was that of proclaiming the Kingdom of God, healing the sick and casting out demons (setting captives free).
Jesus trained his 12 disciples to heal and they did. He commissioned the 72 to heal and they did. When he commissioned the church-being-birthed in Matthew 28, his hearers understood that the authority he talked about was a direct reference to the authority he demonstrated in these very things. The church of the apostles and the church of the following 200 years was primarily characterized, by several non-Christian historians, as people who had authority over dark spirits and authority to heal. We can do what Jesus did, in fact he commands us to do what he did: to make disciples that make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you, frequently expressed by the proclamation of the gospel, the healing of the sick and the setting free of people captive to darkness.
Myth #2: We Don’t Have the Same Empowerment as Jesus
We do have Jesus’ empowerment for both life and ministry. He is our forerunner in every way. Jesus did not live a perfect, empowered life because he was God (he was fully God and fully man when he walked earth, and always will be). He did all that he did as a Holy Spirit-anointed human being, setting aside his divine privileges.
Jesus told his fearful disciples in John 20:21, “’As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” We are sent in the same way Jesus was sent and with the same empowerment. What was the extent of Jesus’ empowerment? He was sent by his Father “without limit” (Jn 3:34) to the extent of Holy Spirit’s resources. Why should we not take Jesus’ word on this? The bottom line: we have the identical and limitless empowerment as Jesus. We may not yet know how to operate in his empowerment, we may not yet be walking in the filling of his Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), and we may not yet know how to release his empowerment upon others, but all of those are developmental opportunities rather than permanent barriers. The world has yet to see YOU operating in a greater measure of Jesus’ empowerment, blessing the world around you in his name.
Myth #3: Healing Ability Comes Fully Developed
Like all ministry expressions in the Kingdom, none of them come “fully baked” but rather need to be developed. Jesus' disciples had gained some proficiency in proclaiming the gospel, healing the sick and casting out demons by likely imitating him. Then, on one occasion the disciples were unable to bring freedom to a demonized boy. After Jesus set him free, they asked why they were unable to do so. “This kind can come out only by prayer.” (John 9:29). In other words, Jesus is saying that there is more space for you to develop; there is still more I need to teach you.
Too many people become too quickly discouraged when it comes to praying for people’s healing because they have struck out. Those who are fruitful in preaching, hospitality, mercy, teaching, and so on all started with little more than a glimmer of hope and then they learned to function in Jesus’ empowerment. They developed their Holy Spirit-anointed capacity over time. The same is true for these expressions of the Kingdom. First we crawl, then we learn to walk and then we learn to run. I am no longer fearful of outcomes when I pray for people’s healing; each occasion is an opportunity to listen to Jesus’ voice and join him in what he is already doing. And I am continually learning from the Master how he wishes to express his life through me and others. Your decision is whether or not you are willing the let the Master train you in what he has already commanded you to do and to do so in his empowerment.
Watch for part 2 in this series when we will “look under the hood” of divine healing and find tangible pathways of development towards bearing fruit and blessing people in Jesus’ name. For a deeper dive on the subject matter check out Doug’s book, The Empowerment Pivot: How God is Redefining Our View of Normal.