And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. (Matthew 10:1-4)
He Gave Them Power
Sickness and disease is a consequence of sin. When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, there was no sickness, disease, or death. As a consequence of eating the forbidden fruit, God removed access to the tree of life to Adam and Eve and drove them from the garden. Death reigned as disease spread throughout the world. The wisdom of men sought remedies for the maladies of the human body, but the power of disease continued destroying lives. Nothing could be done for Rachel, the wife of Jacob, when she died in childbirth. Leprosy was common in the Bible lands, but there was no cure. Thousands of men and women died from plagues. Sickness and disease have taken lives too early, too often, and too many. There was little anyone could do but offer solace and comforting words. And then Jesus came.
The Son of God did not come to take away the disease of the body. In the thirty years of Jesus’ early life, sickness infected the people, and many died from disease as it had done from time beginning. During the ministry of Jesus, He healed thousands of people with every known disease, sickness, and plague without exception. Jesus raised the dead and cast out demons. There was no disease that Jesus could not heal completely. His healing was not a temporary fix but a complete cure. When the Lord gathered His twelve apostles, He gave them the power to do the same thing. They had the power of unclean spirits to cast them out and to heal all kinds of sicknesses and all kinds of diseases. There was nothing the power of the Holy Spirit could not work through the hands of the apostles. The power was unlimited. Twelve men had incredible power – the power of God.
After Jesus commissioned His apostles, the twelve men went out preaching, teaching, and casting out unclean spirits. They healed every kind of disease and illness without exception. Peter healed a man of disease. Matthew cast out a demon. And believe it or not – Judas healed people of sickness. John gave relief to lepers. The power of God flowed through the twelve apostles as they healed sick people and made them whole. It must have been an amazing experience to come into a city and find a number of sick people who were miserable, lonely, hopeless, and afflicted. Peter would walk to the crowd and put his hand on the sick, feeling God’s power taking away their affliction. The smiles on the faces of the thousands healed from the infirmities of the flesh had to resonate in the hearts of the twelve men. Jesus gave them the power of God to heal, and they healed people, casting out demons and raising the dead. What an incredible power to have in their hands.
What is remarkable about the story of the twelve apostles is that they possessed God’s power and experienced God’s power in using that power. Yet, they continued to struggle in their faith to understand the will of God. The power of God was theirs, and they did not understand what they possessed. It is easy to judge the twelve and not understand how they could possess such power and not be full of faith in the work of the Lord. But they healed people, raised the dead, and still doubted and failed in their devotion to God. The answer to the dilemma of their faith is found in the faith of those in the body of Christ who possess the power of God. Miracles and gifts of healing ended nearly two thousand years ago. No one has the power to heal sickness, cast out demons, or raise the dead. While that power is gone, a greater power remains and is forgotten.
God sent His Son to help men fight the disease of sin. Physical disease will kill the body, but spiritual disease destroys a soul for eternity. Medicines can stave off disease for a time, and then death comes. Dying from sin will never change. The gospel of God is the greatest power man has ever known. The twelve apostles had the power of physical healing and spiritual healing. The Bible is the message of divine healing placed in the hands of God’s people to share with others. Did the apostles take for granted their power to heal all sickness? We can and often take for granted the power of the gospel to heal what is truly wrong with man – sin. Having the power and using it for its purpose is where we fail. We have the power. Share the gospel. Save a soul.