I used to serve as part of a church team whose responsibility was to minister divine healing to the sick and bereaved. We would visit the sick in the hospital, at home, or at mental health institutions and pray for them. One day we questioned God why we were not witnessing His instant power and why our ministry was so mediocre. We wondered, if His word is true, which is, why couldn’t we be like Peter whose shadow healed many, or simply lay hands and see the miracle-working power of God, as His Word assured us. We were zealous.
There was evidence of healing as people testified. However, we wondered why the numbers were not telling of God’s power. It just didn’t match. This led us to a three-day fast where we asked God to reveal why this was so. During our all-night prayer as we concluded the fast, God spoke to me in prayer and said ‘ your faith does not match your stage of growth, as He referred us to the account in Matthew 17:17-21.
Contrary to many other myths about sickness coming from God and teachings about the will of God being a hindrance to healing, there are only just two reasons why people do not receive divine healing.
‘Jesus said, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Then Jesus rebuked the demon in the boy, and it left him. From that moment the boy was well.’ Matthew 17:17-18
Did Jesus just call his chosen disciples, the ones he had given authority and power to carry on the work of God; faithless and corrupt? Why faithless and corrupt? They had been with Jesus for a while now, witnessing the power of God at work, but how could Jesus call them unbelieving and corrupt?
Unbelief – Faithless, Lack of faith etc
Faith is the foundation of every believer’s walk. In the disciple’s case, faith was there, without a doubt, but it was little, too little to exercise authority over evil spirits. Faith grows. In this account, Jesus tells us the disciples had little faith. In another account, Jesus described a Canaanite woman whose daughter was sick as having great faith Matthew 15:21-28. There is an expectation that God has of us in our walk of faith.
Our faith is to be exercised, our faith is supposed to grow. There are times we are encouraged to step out in faith when nothing makes sense.
Jesus illustrated how the presence of faith can bring healing. The faith of the person ministering the healing or the faith of the recipient. There is a lie from the pit of hell that has been preached in our churches about divine healing. Some people have been told that their reason for not receiving healing is because of their lack of faith. Now that is a lie. What do you say about a dead man then? Was he raised up because he had faith, certainly not. It was because faith was present.
After Jesus had performed the miracle, the disciples asked Him “Why could not we cast it out? And Jesus` response was ‘Because of your little faith: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Matthew 17:17-20
You see how Jesus focuses the attention on the disciples. It is “your” little faith, he called it, not the boy’s faith, not the father’s faith but the minister’s faith. This is the very same confrontation that we received from God. As believers, not everyone we minister healing to believes they will be healed. Before you even consider them having faith, first check yourself to ensure you are operating in faith so as to avoid failure. It is a believer’s responsibility to have faith in carrying out or mandate; for without it is impossible to please God.
Systems of man – Corrupt belief systems
Now that we believe, what do we believe? The word perverse gives insight into what Jesus meant. It exposes how the disciples’ beliefs were misplaced. What Jesus was saying is “the standard of their walk with God did not match what was expected and acceptable of them at that stage of ministry”. The teaching they had received was being corrupted by previous belief systems and traditions that they were adhering to. The disciples had been raised up in the law of Moses, and here was Jesus setting things straight about what the law meant.
In an earlier account of the gospel, we see the twelve disciples being given authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. Then later that same authority was ineffective in fulfilling the very same assignment Jesus had given them. We are told that what makes the word of God of no effect is tradition Mark 7:13.
What Jesus teaches us here is failure to get results comes from self-sabotage. No matter where you apply it, whether it’s health, finances, or marriage; what makes the word of God not work for you in this Kingdom of God are preset conditions, ideologies, and philosophies that are contrary to the Word of God. Essentially, we have set ourselves up for failure.
As a believer ministering divine healing, God’s expectation is that our thoughts are aligned with His word; completely annihilating the way the world thinks that is, do away with the world’s corrupt standards; only then can we understand what His will for healing is Romans 12:2
Now take a look at all instances where Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, or cast out devils. When you go over those passages of scripture, you will realize that faith was present, always. Whether it was Jesus’ faith, or the person receiving ministry. And Jesus, as the healer, was operated by the laws and systems of the Kingdom, not of men. The authority that Christ had came from God. John 5:19.
Like God pointed out our faith to us, do not be too proud to accept his rebuke if you want to see miracles in the divine healing ministry. So next time you pray for someone who is sick or yourself for that matter, examine yourself to see if you are of the faith!
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