They Shall Lay Hands on the Sick
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.
— Mark 16:17,18
In Mark 16:18, Jesus said that believers would lay hands on the sick, and the sick would recover. What category of sick people was Jesus talking about? What did He mean when He said they would recover? Are there examples of this in Jesus’ own ministry that we can read and learn from? Let’s look deeply into this verse today to see how it applies to you and me!
First, let’s look at the word “sick,” because this describes the category of sick people Jesus was talking about. This is the Greek word arroustos, which comes from the word arunnumi. The word runnumi normally means to be well, to be strong, to be in good health, or to possess a strong physical condition. When an a is placed in front of this word, it reverses the condition and instead means to be in bad health or to possess a weak and broken condition. It is the image of a person so weak and sick that he has become critically ill. He is an invalid.
The following three scriptures show us examples of times when Jesus healed people who were afflicted with an arroustos type of sickness:
- Mathew 14:14 says, “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.” The word “sick” in this verse is the Greek word arroustos. Matthew informs us that Jesus was especially drawn to those who were so weak that they were without strength. These people whom He healed that day were invalids.
- Mark 6:5 tells us, “And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.” In Greek, the words “sick folk” also come from the Greek word arroustos. This lets us know that these were extremely sick people. Most readers presume that these were minor ailments, but the word arroustos tells us emphatically that these were critically illindividuals.
- Mark 6:13 says, “And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” The word “sick” is the Greek word arroustos, which means these individuals were very frail and weak in health.
These examples of the word arroustos vividly show that these were not people who were simply feeling poorly because of some small ailment; these were people who were devastated by sickness. They were so physically weak, so critically ill, and so lacking of strength that they had become invalids. This is the category of sick people that Jesus said believers would lay hands on, and they would recover. He wasn’t talking about headaches and skin abrasions! He was talking about believers laying hands on people who are critically ill and who fall into the category of invalids.
Notice that Jesus said believers would “lay hands” on the sick. These words come from the Greek word epitithimi, a compound of the words epi and tithimi. The word epi means upon, and tithmi means to place. When they are joined to become the word epitithimi, it means to place upon or to lay upon. This word is used in Luke 4:40 to describe one event during which Jesus placed His hands upon sick people.
Luke 4:40 says, “Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.” That evening the people brought to Jesus “any sick.” This word “sick” is different than the other examples we looked at earlier. It is the word asthenios, which depicts a wide range of infirmities. This is why it is further amplified by the phrase “any sick with diverse diseases.” This represents a wide range of sicknesses, but the word “diseases” lets us know that some of these people were seriously ill. This word “diseases” is the Greek word nosos, which always conveys the idea of a terrible malady or an affliction of the most severe nature. Often the word nosos depicted a terminal illness for which there was no natural cure. Hence, it could describe people who were terminally ill.
What did Jesus do for these people? He laid His hands upon them, and He healed them. In such cases, Jesus was giving the perfect example of how believers would later lay their hands on the sick — including the terminally ill — and see them be restored back to health as a result of their obedience.
But when you look carefully at Mark 16:18, you’ll notice that Jesus promised recovery. That recovery could be instantaneous, or it could be a process that is prolonged over a period of time. The words “they shall” are from the Greek word echo, which means to have or to possess. But the tense that is used in this verse doesn’t picture something that is instantaneous, but rather something that occurs progressively. In fact, the word “healed” doesn’t speak of an instantaneous event either. It is the word kalos, which in this case means to be well, to be healthy, or to be in good shape. Taken together as one complete phrase, it could be translated, “…they shall progressively feel themselves getting better and better, until finally they are well and healthy.”
This lets us know that all healings do not occur instantly; some of them take place over a period of time. But Jesus’ promise is that if we will follow His example and lay our hands on the sick, God’s power will be released into the body of the afflicted. If we are releasing our faith and believing for healing power to flow from us to the recipient, healing virtue will be deposited into the sick person’s body. Just as medicine slowly works to reverse a medical condition, the power of God that was deposited with the laying on of our hands will begin to attack the work of the devil and progressively bring that sick person back into a state of health and well-being.
Jesus promised that any believer could do this! Any believer, including you, can lay hands on the sick and see the sick get better and better until they are finally restored back to health. All that is required for God to use you in this way are three basic criteria: 1) That you have a desire for God to heal through you; 2) That you have hands to lay on sick people; and 3) That your faith is released to activate the power of God to heal. If you can fulfill these three requirements, you’re ready to get into the healing ministry!
Healing the sick is part of your responsibility as a believer. You cannot do it alone, but the Holy Spirit is present to impart His power when you act in Jesus’ name. So rather than look at sick people and feel pity for them, why don’t you pull your hands out of your pockets and go lay them on those sick people, just as Jesus did when He was ministering on the earth? The Word of God guarantees that God will work with you to bring healing and health to those who are in need. Why don’t you get started healing the sick today?
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I ask You for confidence to lay my hands on the sick. I want Your healing power to flow through me and to be deposited into sick bodies, attacking the enemy’s work until finally those sick people are restored back to health again. In Your Word, it is stated that when believers lay hands on the sick, the sick would be made well again. Today I am making the decision to pull my hands out of my pockets and to place them on the sick so Your healing power can be delivered to others through me!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that God’s power is released into the bodies of the afflicted when I lay my hands on them. Just as medicine slowly works to reverse a medical condition, the power of God that is deposited when I lay my hands on sick people begins to attack their affliction, causing them to be progressively restored to health and well-being. Healing the sick is part of my responsibility, so I boldly confess that I am going to lay my hands on sick people just as Jesus did when He was ministering on the earth — and I expect to see them get well!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. How long has it been since you looked at your hands and really thought about how God wants His power to flow through them to heal sick people?
2. Have you ever laid your hands on the sick? When was the last time you did so? What was the result the last time you placed your hands on the sick and released your faith to see them get well?
3. If you interviewed the people you have laid hands on in the past, what percentage of them do you think eventually got well? Did you ever stop to think that their recovery may have been due to the power that was deposited into their bodies when you laid your hands on them?