Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
Wow. Here we have what might be considered a pretty complicated passage of scripture and also one that is considered controversial by some. My hope and my desire are to nail down some clear lessons, while not getting bogged down in the controversy. Just some quick thoughts and questions to start with. Comments and thoughts are welcome, fighting and arguing are not!
Is God still God and can He, at any time, do anything He wants to do? Yes
Can God, through His sovereign power do anything he desires, even alter the “natural” course of events? Yes
Does God answer prayer the way we want? Yes
Does God sometimes not answer prayer in the way we want? Yes
Does God promise special healing based on the amount of faith we have or the special relationship the person praying might have with Him? No, but.
Can sin make us sick? Does our sin sometimes result in real physical maladies? Without a doubt.
Is illness always caused by sin in our lives or lack of faith? Absolutely not.
So, you see there are many questions raised by this particular passage, and I hope all will take the time to study for themselves and reach their own conclusions. Do that, and let’s talk again in a few decades when we all have it figured out. In the meantime, some things do seem fairly clear as we read through this passage in God’s Word.
One thing that is somewhat unclear and debated is whether this particular passage actually refers to physical illness in the first place. Some writers would say it does, while others would say it does not. Some think it means one thing in on usage and another thing in yet another usage. I’ll leave the linguistic debates for the experts.
What we can see clearly in this passage is one thing. God expects us to pray. And that, no matter who one interprets the particulars of this passage, is a clear lesson we see here.
Think about all of those things, and over the course of the next few days, we will explore some of the things we see here.