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.
Previously we discussed the idea of an afflicted or ill person bearing some responsibility for getting him or herself assistance when they need it; they are to call the elders, and furthermore, the elders are to respond.
This is not the place to discuss the particulars of who the elders of any particular church are, or exactly what the word represents. Elders, deacons, pastors: the name used matters not nearly so much as what they represent.
Some might say the reason for calling the elders is because they have some special authority granted to have a special pipeline to God for healing the sick. I personally don’t see this as being the case, now allow me to explain. Regardless of how we see the definition of the name elder, it is evident that the word is being used to represent those in the church who are spiritually mature and full of Godly wisdom. The question, then, becomes why that matters!
Why is this person sick? We don’t see the answer in concrete, but we can see some possibilities from context. We have been discussing the trials and pressures placed on those who live the Christian life. Perhaps this person was not so much sick as simply exhausted and worn out from the trials. Perhaps they are just wearied in their Christian life to the point where they have become ill. Who better, then, to provide comfort and guidance on how to recover from this malady than those who are mature and may have lived these very issues themselves.
It may be possible that this illness has come about as a result of some sin. Does our sin always result in illness? Absolutely not. Can our sin result in illness? Absolutely. Do we know that this is happening here? Not really. But, if sin is a factor, then perhaps what we see here is simply some church discipline going on. If not, then still who better to help a believer work through an issue such as this than those who are more mature and experienced?
Isn’t this simple thought true in all of our lives? The Christian walk can be a tough one at times and may take us to the point of exhaustion and even illness. Some may be new and unseasoned believers when exposed to all of this. Rather than just suffering in silence and perhaps falling away, we should seek those who can help us. Those of us who are blessed with wisdom and experience should be ready always to help those who need it.