If You Are Able!
The Biblical Attitude For Healing the Sick and Oppressed
Jackson Snyder, February 28, 1993

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(Mark 9:14-29) When they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. {15} When the whole crowd saw him, they were immediately overcome with awe, and they ran forward to greet him.

{16} He asked them, "What are you arguing about with them?" {17} Someone from the crowd answered him, "Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; {18} and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so."

{19} He answered them, "You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me." {20} And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.

{21} Jesus asked the father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood. {22} It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us." {23} Jesus said to him, "If you are able!--All things can be done for the one who believes." {24} Immediately the father of the child cried out, "I believe; help my unbelief!"

{25} When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!" {26} After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, "He is dead." {27} But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand.

{28} When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" {29} He said to them, "This kind can come out only through prayer."

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SUCCESSFUL HEALER

Here is the case of a boy who is seized by an evil spirit. The manifestation include convulsions, deafness and dumbness. The scribes couldn't touch it, nor could the disciples. It was cast out through the preparation of prayer.

Prayer precedes relationship with Father, which leads to faith for healing and deliverance. The attitude that empowers faith is compassion; in fact, no other attitude is acceptable.

  (1) Faith developed through relationship with Christ

+(2) Boldness -- the initial evidence of "Spirit Baptism"

+(3) Compassion -- the greatest of spiritual graces

=(4) Ability to cast out all evil successfully.

Successful ministry increases faith in God. Jesus admonishes the faithless generation in Matthew 12:38-39. They sought a sign, but were neither willing

(1) to see the sign already before them nor

(2) to be a worker of signs themselves.

There is the matter of willingness to work. Some of our temperaments are such that we are scarcely willing to do pleasurable things, and much less unpleasant things, like casting out demons. Some will hide their talents under a napkin and not practice the authority of Christ out of fear but mostly out of laziness. A napkin is much more convenient than a bank or a brokerage firm. Arno wrote something like, "How many potential St. Pauls never became because of their inborn temperaments?"

Faith overcomes both inability and slothfulness. It is "the substance and evidence of unseen hopes." Compassion tells us the suffering boy must be healed. Faith then is our Christ-gifted ability to see the boy as whole. Faith thus becomes "action in scorn of (perceived) reality." Faith that has been exercised in healing and deliverance, even 'botched jobs,' leads to trust, "a higher realm of faith." Trusting God then leads to the boldness of knowing God's mind and will so well that a healer finds himself flowing in the stream of God's will and purpose.

I had an old chemistry set when I was a child. The instructions were gone. There was one test tube labeled "stain." It was an ugly rusty color. I mixed part of it with a few more chemicals, corked up the bottle, and left the concoction on the table beside the bookshelf. Needless to say, the bottle exploded in short order, and every one of the antique books on the shelf were permanently stained rust color, as were the walls, the upholstered chair, the carpet, and everything else round about. The mixture of chemicals caused a reaction that built up pressure that exploded the bottle of "stain."

There was also a human reaction. I was introduced to my grandmother's infamous "green stick."

Faith mixed up with the rhema word of God is like that. If it doesn't explode in action (if it is 'corked'), it explodes in self punishment of disobedience to God's direct commandment to you that you loose somebody. Jesus was always uncorked. He was the rhema word and his faith was strong due to prayerful relationship. So he is incredulous when the unbeliever tells him "if you can."

Jesus exclaims, "IF I CAN?!!!"

The man can't be blamed. Obviously, Jesus was this father's last ditch effort. He had already tried the disciples. (He certainly consulted doctors and every other healer.) So now the man prays apologetically, "I believe. Help my unbelief." Maybe this prayer was not apologetic, but a strong command, who knows. Jesus may have replied, "OK, buddy. How about this for help." And the boy is set free.

This adds even more light to the attitude of the sideline healer. You haven't boldness or faith or compassion or relationship to step out? You don't know what to do? You're afraid? Then pray to Jesus. He will say to you, "OK buddy! All things are possible for the believer."

Just step out and read a prayer over somebody. Just lift the napkin. Give yourself the right to fail a few times. Even if you succeed, even when the miraculous happens, the signs of God are often attributed to other causes these days.

One instance always comes to mind. A newlywed young lady came to me asking for prayer. Through her teenage years she had been very promiscuous. By the time she was 19 she had multiple abortions (with the permission of and financed by her Christian parents). Her womb was closed permanently from scar tissue. Her new young husband didn't know about her infertility or her past. But he wanted children. She told me that she could never be honest with him about that, so she wanted prayer that God would restore her fertility. I received the rhema word on her healing. After prayer, I boldly told her she would conceive. I could hardly believe that I dared say that. But she said that she felt a strong move of the Holy Spirit with heat.

Ten months later she bore little Stephanie. Before I baptized her, the mother's comment was, "I guess the doctor was wrong all along." If God gets the glory 1/10 of the time, its a miracle. And for the healer, there is little glory to be had, but much ridicule and persecution, especially from unexpected places.

A FEW RELEVANT PRACTICAL CONCEPTS

Authority -

Jesus gave his twelve disciples authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. (Matthew 10:1)

Authority does not demonstrate itself through the loud-mouthed showoff. The authority that I respect emanates from one who can tune out distractions and quietly and confidently command evil spirits of sickness to depart. Authority demonstrates itself in an assurance that even transcends failure. Those closest to Jesus failed here, yet they never quit trying, for they were authorized by the Savior and they knew it.

Utterance, in this case, consists of a "rebuke" which is a reprimand. The spirit is identified by its function, is told to exit by command, and then is told not to return. The spoken word itself indicates authority. It is commanding.

"Stretch out your hand!" Mark 3:5
"Get up, girl!" Mark 5:41
"Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" Mark 5:8
"Open up!" Mark 7:34

"Demonized" is the correct New Testament understanding of demonic oppression. Charles Kraft likens demons to rats at the trash, whether the trash is disease, sin, or mental illness. To be demonized means to be "infested."

Very often demons will speak to the healer and tell they why they are not authorized to act in Jesus' name (i.e. "You have sin in your life"). We who are weak in faith must convince the demon we are authorized by proving over and over again Christ's authority through his Word, or at least make it uncomfortable enough to want to go. In only one instance do I recall a demon leaving with just a command. Routing rats is tiresome, dirty work unless you happened to be Jesus or completely filled with faith.

Touch - Jesus lifted the young man. For the deaf, his fingers are placed in ears. For the dumb, the tongue is touched. Touch is in itself therapeutic.

A growing number of studies suggest that therapeutic touch has down-to-earth applications. In one 1987 pilot study of 4 recently bereaved people treated by two TT practitioners tracked a significant change in the immune systems of the subjects. After treatment, the 4 people showed marked decreases in levels of 'suppressor T cells,' whose function is to turn off activity in the immune system. The subjects enjoyed a dramatic improvement in joy, vigor, and contentment.

Jesus practiced Therapeutic Touch Therapy. And today, Longevity tells us, it is being practiced in the secular hospital establishment, though it is not AMA approved.

BACK TO ATTITUDE

Jesus' reply to the anxious father, "If I am able!" is a perfect example of the attitude we must have for ministering to others. It is another way of affirming, "Yes. I am able." For "Nothing shall be impossible for those who believe!" If you belong to God, and you believe that God heals, then you are good enough to be a healer and called to healing ministry. The method is secondary to attitude. Use any means or every means you feel comfortable with in Christ! Only DO step out in faith to heal. The Lord will be faithful to give you a sign of approval.

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