"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men"
Jesus said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). Almost every Christian church would say that we are to follow Jesus and become fishers of men. O.K. Let's follow Jesus. Many churches' emphasis is upon the "harvest". Great! What did Jesus say about the harvest? Immediately after Jesus said, "Follow me" he gave his disciples a living example. He taught by example.
"And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan" (Matthew 4:23-25).Now, we not only see the healing ministry here, but we can see it as a pattern of ministry in the life of Jesus.
If we are to become fishers of men, we must follow Jesus. To follow Jesus, we must do what he did. He did three things. He (1) taught, (2) preached the good news of the kingdom, and (3) healed all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Physical healing was 1/3 of his ministry according to this verse. That is interesting since we are a three-part person: spirit, soul, and body. In the passage, the idea of "sickness" or "sick people" was a broad term. It included:1. Different kinds of disease.
2. Different kinds of torments (normally related to disease).
3. Those possessed with demons.
4. Those which were lunaticks (who went mad with a full moon).
5. Those which had palsy (cerebral palsy or other forms of paralysis).
"... And he healed them."
"And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people" (Matthew 9:35).Furthermore, just two verses later Matthew records that Jesus ties the healing ministry to the harvest.
Again, Jesus did three things: he taught, he preached the good news of the kingdom, and he healed every sickness and every disease.
"Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:37-38).How many ministries do you know that are involved in physical healing? Even the medical profession quite often tells the church that you may go and teach your little doctrines over there in a corner as long as you don't win too many people, but leave the healing to the professionals of the medical profession. Therefore, the church, for the most part, has dropped 1/3 of the ministry of Christ. Maybe it has also missed 1/3 or more of the harvest. Yes, indeed we should pray that God will bring laborers into the harvest: those who will participate not only in teaching and preaching, but also those who will participate in the healing ministry of Jesus.
We also see that Jesus sent the twelve out with the same commission.
"And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease" (Matthew 10:1).I realize that some would say, but you are talking about Jesus and the disciples doing the healing. Well, it wasn't limited to them! Jesus also commissioned the seventy in the same way and tied their ministry to the harvest.
Note: the word "power" should have been translated "authority". Again, the emphasis of Jesus was upon deliverance and healing of all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.
"And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:7-8).
We should note that Matthew in this passage omitted the "teaching" but kept in the preaching and healing.
"After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest" (Luke 10:1-2).Some again will say, but that is just for the Christians of the first century. However, Jesus says that this ministry is for every BELIEVER.
Note what Jesus told the seventy to do:
"And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you" (Luke 10:9).
In the structure of this verse, the emphasis is upon "healing of the sick", then "the preaching" of the kingdom of God.
"Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19).
Here, Jesus tells the disciples that they have been given authority over all the power of the enemy, be it cancer, mental illness, or demonic possession.
Luke later sums up the ministry of Jesus in the book of Acts. "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him" (Acts 10:38).
"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen" (Mark 16:17-20).
If we are to be1. a fisher of men ...THEN we must be involved in the ministry of healing!
2. a follower of Jesus
3. a participant in the harvest