Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Journey, part 5: The Scope

And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. (Luke 9:1 NASB)

We saw previously that the scope of the power and authority given to the disciples included "all the demons". Now, we turn to the power and authority given them to heal diseases. The word translated as "diseases" is nosos and literally means disease or sickness of any kind. It is sometimes translated as "injuries".  

We can easily recognize the importance of spiritual healing in dealing with the lies of the enemy, but why is physical healing such a priority?  First of all, Isaiah prophesied that our Lord would bear our grief and sorrows. Holman Christian Standard Bible translates it this way:

Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains... (Isaiah 53:4 HCSB)

This concept is so difficult to grasp, yet so vital in times of illness and sorrow. No matter how difficult the physical illness or sorrow, our Lord has first carried that load Himself. When we experience illness of any kind, He who has already carried it will help us shoulder the burden and help us carry the load. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian church explains it this way:

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NASB)

The word translated as "temptation" is peirasmos and indicates not only a temptation to sin but any kind of difficult trial, including physical illness. Does this mean that God causes disease? That is not at all what this says. In this world, there is trouble of all kinds, including disease, but God will always make a way for us to persevere through whatever comes our way. 

Coming back to the issue of the disciples and their power and authority over disease, then, we see that, although disease can be incredibly difficult to bear, expensive to treat, and agonizingly hard to endure, it is a burden about which Jesus cares. Our physical ills can be as devastating to our faith as a demonic assault, and equally as limiting to our productivity in the kingdom of God. 

He who came to set the captives free would set us free from the chains of sickness that bind us, and Jesus equipped the disciples to do just that. They were to heal the diseases. The word translated as "heal" is therapeuĊ and indicates not just healing but can also indicate serving. One of the ways the twelve would serve our Lord and those to whom they were sent was by healing their physical illnesses. 

What a beautiful picture of service to God and man! For those who work in the field of health care, that service to man should also be a service to God, as well. For those who are suffering from physical ills, we must remember that our Lord demonstrated His concern for physical illness by equipping and sending the twelve to heal disease. He knows our burden and He will be faithful to help us through. 

Are you struggling with illness? Turn to Jesus to help you in your time of need, for He can help, and He will. 

Pray for the willingness to persevere through whatever we face, and the confidence that our Lord will carry us through.