You know you have the authority to heal others in Jesus’ Name, but nothing happens. Don’t lose faith, there is a reason and Jesus, as well as His Disciples, encountered it.
Several years ago, a brother in Christ had issues with one of his eyes. While he was not blind, his vision was severely hampered and I wanted to help. I knew that as a believer and follower of Jesus, I had been given the authority to heal in His Name. Many times before, I had laid hands on the sick and they were made well, even to the point of healing over the phone, so I called my friend up and had him meet me at the place where I worked after hours. Upon entering, I laid my hands gently on his eye without touching it and pronounced healing in the name of Jesus.
Nothing happened. No miraculous instances of vision being restored, and to this day, my friend still has problems with his eye.
Before this instance, I laid hands on many others and saw the glorious healing power of God. Individuals who had chronic pain were healed, people who were suffering withdrawal symptoms were miraculously freed from their bonds, kidney stones that required surgery suddenly disappeared, and even my wife’s kidney infection was cleared up in “that same hour” after reminding her of her state in God’s Kingdom. So, how was it that after all of these successes did this failure occur?
This instance with my friend really hit me and I stopped this area of my ministry. In my mind, I thought I had committed a sin that hampered the power of God. Years later, God met me where I was at with regard to my lack of faith and reminded me of scripture – that this sort of thing happened with Jesus as well as His Disciples. When I fully understood this, I reintegrated the healing portion of the Great Commission back into the Gospel ministry and I’m seeing the glorious power of our Good Father come alive again.
With this in mind, I want to relay what God has taught – or rather re-taught – me about these instances where healing doesn’t occur so you won’t go through the period of hopelessness I went through. As followers of “The Way,” we have access to this wonderful and active gift of healing as a “sign” that follows all believers (Mark 16:17-18). So, with that, let’s begin with Jesus’ rejection at Nazareth.
A Prophet not welcomed – the “Nazareth Effect.”
Jesus was able to help the vast majority of people He encountered that heeded healing. All of the Gospels tell of people being freed from leprosy, sickness, not being able to walk, and other various illnesses. When Jesus went back to His hometown, He encountered problems as stated in Matthew, Mark, and Luke:
“Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” ~Matthew 13:53-58 NKJV
“Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.” ~Mark 6:1-6 NKJV
“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’ ” Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.” ~Luke 4:16-30 NKJV
Now, before this rejection, lack of miracles, and the apparent low numbers of healings (…He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them…), Jesus did mighty miracles and healed the sick before the rejection at Nazareth. To understand this more fully, here is a list of the events that occurred in the life of Jesus before He returned home:
- Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:29-34)
- Satan temps Jesus (Matthew 4:1-22, Mark 1:12, Luke 4:1-13)
- Jesus begins His ministry (Matthew 4:12-17, Mark 1:14, Luke 4:14-15,
- Jesus gathers His first disciples (Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20, John 1:35-51)
- Jesus performed His first miracle – water into wine (John 2:1-12)
- Jesus casts out an unclean spirit (Mark 1:21-28, Luke 4:31-37)
- Jesus heals Peter’s Mother-in-Law (Matthew 8:14-15, Mark 1:29-31, Luke 4:38-39)
- Jesus heals more people (Matthew 8:16-17, Mark 1:32-34, Luke 4:30-31)
- Jesus cleanses a leper (Matthew 8:1-4, Mark 1:40-45, Luke 5:12-16)
- Jesus forgives and heals a paralytic (Matthew 9:2-8, Mark 2:1-12, Luke 5:17-26)
- Jesus heals people on the Sabbath (Matthew 9:12-14, Mark 3:1-6, Luke 6:6-11)
- Jesus calms the winds and waves (Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, Luke 8:22-25)
- Jesus casts out Legion (Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-20, Luke 8:26-39)
- Jesus brings back to life a little girl and heals a woman with an issue of blood (Matthew 9:18-26, Mark 5:21-43, Luke 8:40-56)
Jesus was God incarnate. Jesus exercised the power and authority that had been given to Him by His Heavenly Father, but Nazareth shows us that there are certain variables that need to be considered, otherwise we will encounter the same failures in our respective ministries.
He’s just Joseph and Mary’s boy.
Most of us after leaving our childhood home, embark on carving our spot in this world. We go to school, start a business, marry, raise a family, and many other accomplishments, but most, if not all of us have experienced what happens when we return to our hometown, visit our old friends, and even our family…we revert back to a past-self in their eyes. This regression, not necessarily chronologically, happens in the minds of our friends and family and we lose whatever we gained. We revert from being an adult to being the fixed age perceived by our hometown peers. We are remembered by what we used to be, accomplishing things only up to a point, and, worst of all, remembered by our past mistakes. We are not seen as the men and women we are in that moment – a New Creation because of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus suffered the same thing.
Jesus was only seen as Joseph & Mary’s boy (…Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary?…). The people at Nazareth could not see beyond the boy they knew. Coupled with that, Jesus might have been seen as “less-than-Jewish” as the memory of Mary being pregnant before the marriage of Joseph was most likely playing its part in their opinions.
Because of the perceptions of the citizens of Nazareth, they were offended by Jesus.
“So they were offended at Him,” and I would imagine that happened right after Jesus read the Isaiah passage where He pronounced Himself to be the bringer of the Good News (Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing). Because of Jesus’ proclamation, He offended them with His assertion that He was the long-awaited Messiah. I’ve been in many situations where I’ve stated my thoughts on certain matters in front of those that only had a vision of a curly-headed little boy, only to offend them. The boy they knew was shattered by the man I became. Jesus suffered the same thing and because of the combination of shattering perceptions and offense, no miracles and few healings occurred.
So, what can we learn from this?
We do have the power and authority to heal so that we can Glorify God through His Son Jesus. Signs follow the believer as stated in Mark 16:17-18, but these signs – specifically healing – will not occur in these three instances.
In your own “country.”
This includes your own hometown or region where you grew up. Many who knew you when you were little or knew you before you were saved, will have a pre-conceived idea of who you are now. For many, this mental image of the person you were cannot be overwritten, thus they will not accept you as the New Creation through Christ you are now. To them, nothing you say nor do will change that, thus the sign of healing most likely will not occur. Also consider that in this day and age, “your own country” can apply to your social media platforms. If people scroll far back in your profile, they can create for themselves a pre-conceived notion of who you are. “Your own country” – your social media platforms – can have a virtual meaning in today’s world.
Among your own “relatives.”
Family members will have a hard time accepting this “new you” and will shy away from any demonstration of the Gospel in the form of healing in Jesus’ Name. Many of them can’t get beyond the antics of their brother or sister and will remind you of mistakes when you were little. No matter how far you’ve come in your walk with Jesus, your parents, brothers, and/or sisters, most likely will be offended that you have shattered their image of you, thus healing will most likely not occur.
In your own house.
Healings within your own family could be non-existent. In the eyes of your loved ones, your role might never go beyond Mom, Dad, Brother, or Sister. If you got saved after you started your family, they might only see you as the “old man” and not as a new creation. Because of this, their faith in the power that is within you might be absent. This is especially painful if you have a spouse or child that is gravely ill.
Resistance to healing.
I would like to direct you to a single instance mentioned in only one of the Gospels that is singularly unique. It shows Jesus leading a blind man out of town to be healed.
“Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. Then He sent him away to his house, saying, “Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.”” ~Mark 8:22-26 NKJV
Let’s remind ourselves that Jesus not only did healings and miracles before the rejection at Nazareth, He also did a few more miracles and healings afterward before Jesus helped this blind man. Those events include:
- Jesus sends out the 12 disciples giving them authority to cast out demons & heal (Matthew 10:5-15, Mark 6:7-13, Luke 9:1-6)
- Jesus feeds the 5000 (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:1-14)
- Jesus walks on the sea (Matthew 4:22-23, Mark 6:45-52, John 6:15-21)
- More people touch Jesus and are made well (Matthew 14:34-36, Mark 6:53-56)
- Jesus encounters a woman pleading for her daughter to be delivered from a demon (Matthew 15:21-28, Mark 7:24-30)
- Jesus heals a deaf-mute (Matthew 15:29-31, Mark 7:31-37)
- Jesus feeds the 4000 (Matthew 15-32-39, Mark 8:1-10)
This one is unique as the blind man was led to the outskirts of Bethsaida to be healed. Evidently, the man’s house was not in town as Jesus told him to return to his home after the healing (…then he (Jesus) sent him away to his home…). Bethsaida was among the cities that Jesus spoke about with regard to their unrepentant attitude (Matthew 11:20-24). Because of what Jesus said, we can assume that this city was riddled with such evil that the blind man needed to be led out of its borders to be healed. On top of this, Jesus instructed the man to not even go into town. Jesus, while curing the blind man, encountered resistance in His first attempt (…”I see men like trees, walking”…). Upon the second attempt, the blindness was completely cured (…And he was restored and saw everyone clearly…). Sin, and the proximity of sinful behavior, can have deleterious effects on an individual which includes their physical well-being. We read about a crippled man healed by Jesus (John 5:1-8) and how, after his healing, Jesus warned him to stop sinning or something worse would happen to him (John 5:14). I believe that the unrepentant attitude that was found at Bethsaida created a “hot spot” of sin that would not only cause physical harm to its inhabitants but would also bring about more illness even if they were cured, hence Jesus’ warning to the formerly blind man about going back into town.
Another instance that tells of potential resistance to healing comes in a Gospel account as well as being found in the book of Acts.
“And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying. Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement.” ~Mark 5:22-24, 35-42 NKJV
“At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord.” ~Acts 9:36-42 NKJV
In both instances, we read that Jesus and Peter encountered the same situation – a little girl had died. In each situation, they encountered a group of people that were acting up because of their grief. In the Gospel account, the group of people laughed at Jesus for what He said (…the child is not dead, but sleeping…). In both instances, Jesus and Peter made the people leave and only allowed certain people to stay.
People can have a real effect on your faith to heal. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:16). Both of the dead girls didn’t have any problem in the area of faith – they were dead, but the disciples needed that faith, and, as we read earlier, people ridiculing hammered Jesus’ efforts in Nazareth.
As scripture indicates, you, as a follower of The Way, may encounter instances where healing doesn’t happen or are very few in number. Disbelief, people being offended because you go against their perceptions, ridicule, and location to evil can and will bring about resistance and even failure. It’s important to understand this because I don’t want you to go through the dark periods that I went through after my supposed failures. So, what does this mean to us as believers of Jesus and deliverers of the Gospel? Simply put, you might encounter resistance and you might have to relocate the individual if they are in an area that has palatable sinful behavior as this can, and usually does harbor demonic activity. Demons love to throw a monkey-wrench into the works of Gospel ministry whenever they can. You may have to also remove individuals or groups that are ridiculing, laughing, or opposing your efforts to bring Glory to God by the act of healing in Jesus’ name. Don’t let these instances dissuade your overall mission, but learn from them by gleaning insight from Holy Scripture.
I do want to add that I’ve experienced the power of God to heal people where the conditions above were present. Remember, even in Nazareth with all of the people being offended, Jesus was able to heal a few people, so don’t count out laying on of hands just because you are in a bad place or around offended, disruptive individuals.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, and make His Face to shine upon you.