THE CORRECT CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE
TOWARD THE CORONA VIRUS PLAGUE
Jesus is a miracle worker, and WE ARE COMMANDED TO DO His works, and greater works even than He did. The atonement provides healing from disease and sickness.
Matthew 8:17, Isaiah 53:4
"Himself took (Greek =lambano, carried away) our infirmities (bodily diseases) and bare (lift up in order to remove) our sicknesses (feebleness of mind and body, disease, sickness, weakness)."
Jesus’ ministry provided salvation from sin, and healing from disease:
Matthew 8:1, 18, 34; 9:10, 26, 31
"great multitudes followed Him... great multitudes were about Him... behold the whole city came out... many publicans and sinners came and sat down... the fame thereof went abroad into all that land... spread abroad His fame in all that country."
The miracles of Jesus brought the attention of the world of that day:
"...came down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him... came a leper and worshipped Him, Jesus... TOUCHED HIM... his leprosy was cleansed... See thou tell no man... show thyself to the priest, offer the gift that Moses commanded for a testimony unto them."
Today we face a plague, a pandemic called corona virus. In Jesus, ministry, the great plague concerning the world was leprosy. Leprosy is a slowly progressing disease characterized by nodules, scabs, and white shining spots. The disease rendered the person unclean. The destruction of the flesh of the body would eventually result in death.
Corona virus causes great concern. Peoples wear masks, isolate in home, stay six feet away from others, etc. The life of a leper in those days was very difficult. Only a descendant of Aaron (i.e. a priest) could pronounce a leper clean. All lepers were banished to live outside the walled towns. If one was caught within the walls, the penalty was 39 stripes (which was often a death sentence). In synagogues of the unwalled cities, a leper was the first to enter, and the last to leave. They had to stay within a separate room that was six foot wide, and 10 palms high.
The Rabbis of the era loved to teach that leprosy was caused by sin. This made the people to shun the lepers as sinners being punished by God. They considered leprosy to be a sign of "heresy" rather than to be indicative of a moral sin. Since they were to be "sinners", they were considered to be "mourners" and were forbidden to even wash their faces. The leper had to shout "UNCLEAN" as he walked. If he even put his head into a room, it was considered to be unclean. Six foot was as close as anyone could come to a leper (does that sound familiar?). If the wind was coming from that direction, the distance had to be 100 feet.
Some people would throw stones at them to keep them away. The contracting of the disease was so fearsome that people shuddered in apprehension at the sight of a person with such disease.
Yet, Jesus came up to such a leper, and touched him:
"Jesus put forth His hand, and touched him."
Elisha did not touch Naaman. Yet, Jesus did not fear to touch this leper. It was a result of the touch of Jesus that brought the cleansing of the leper.
Today, we find even Christians hiding in homes, to terrified of eve coming within 6 feet of a suspected virus carrying person. Yet, note what the Bible teaches:
"Therefore, leaving the PRINCIPLES OF THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, let us go on unto perfection, not laying again (Greek, kataballo meaning 'casting down') the FOUNDATION: of repentance from dead works; of faith toward God; we find even of the doctrine of baptisms; of the LAYING ON OF HANDS; of the resurrection of the dead; and of eternal judgment."
This shows that one of the six doctrines emphasized by the Lord to the disciples was the 'LAYING ON OF HANDS'. The disciples had first seen Jesus lay hands on the sick, on the lepers, etc. and this developed into one of the basic principles of Jesus' teaching. We have allowed the significance of the touching, the laying on of hands to degenerate into simply a form. Suddenly, we Jesus’ followers afraid to come nearer than six feet, let alone to lay hands upon them.
God wants to restore the gift of divine healing to the church. The Lord wills to have saints who will "lay hands on", i.e. to touch, others to impart blessings, healings, gifts, and ministries. The 'laying on of hands' as seen in our day with corona virus is almost forgotten, or avoided due to fear. In the early church, and soon in this age, it will be a gift of the Spirit, an important doctrine, and a powerful miraculous impartation of healing.
The disciples observed Jesus lay hands upon many, as He did here to the leper, and saw the great miracles that were done. Jesus had taught them that these miracles were wrought in this way by the power of the Holy Spirit. Then after the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, the disciples began to lay hands on the sick and afflicted. Miracles and healings were done in great numbers.
"AND BY THE HANDS OF THE APOSTLES WERE MANY SIGNS AND WONDERS WROUGHT AMONG THE PEOPLE."
"Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit."
I Timothy 4:14
"Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of hands."
II Timothy 1:6
"...stir up the gift of God, which is in thee, by the putting on of my hands... for God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind."
"Whom they had set before the apostles, when they had prayed, they laid their hands upon them."
"And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them."
Paul also began to lay hands on the sick. Healings and miracles followed his ministry:
"PAUL ENTERED IN AND PRAYED, AND LAID HIS HANDS ON HIM, AND HEALED HIM."
"AND GOD WROUGHT SPECIAL MIRACLES BY THE HANDS OF PAUL."
There are many methods by which the Lord has instituted the workings of healings and miracles. For some there is to be the anointing with oil, prayer cloths for others, and last, but not least, the laying on of hands, i.e. the simple touching with our hands those who are in need of healing, or blessing.
The church is told to lay hands on many:
"THEY SHALL LAY HANDS ON THE SICK, AND THEY SHALL RECOVER."
Paul was healed of his blindness, and filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit when Ananias laid hands on him and prayed:
"AND ANANIAS...PUTTING HIS HANDS ON HIM SAID, 'BROTHER SAUL... RECEIVE THY SIGHT, AND BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT."
The church at Ephesus received the baptism of the Holy Spirit when Paul laid hands on them and prayed:
"AND WHEN PAUL HAD LAID HIS HANDS UPON THEM, THE HOLY SPIRIT CAME ON THEM, AND THEY SPOKE WITH TONGUES."
The laying on of hands seems to confer, on the recipient, a healing, or some other Spiritual gift. The people of that day noticed this connection. The disciples saw it early in the ministry of Jesus, especially here with the healing of the leper. They saw the miraculous event that commenced with the "touching" of the hands.
Simon noticed that people received the baptism of the Holy Spirit when the disciples laid hands on them. He desired to be able to do this too
"WHEN SIMON SAW THAT THROUGH THE LAYING ON OF HANDS, THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS GIVEN, HE OFFERED THEM MONEY."
Timothy was given a special spiritual gift when Paul laid hands on him:
II Timothy 1:6
"WHEREFORE, I PUT THEE IN REMEMBRANCE THAT THOU STIR UP THE GIFT OF GOD WHICH IS IN THEE BY THE PUTTING ON OF MY HANDS."
I Timothy 4:14
"NEGLECT NOT THE GIFT THAT IS IN THEE, WHICH WAS GIVEN THEE BY PROPHECY WITH THE LAYING ON OF THE HANDS OF THE PRESBYTERY."
We have gotten too far from this type of ministry. We, in the not too distant past, would lay hands on people to pray, but expect no great thing to happen. It had become little more than a form or tradition to us. The church receives what they expect, little or nothing. If we would look at the Scripture, and observe that the laying on of hands was meant to confer something, then have faith that God still intends to bless in this way. The expectancy brings fresh blessing from the Lord upon this type of ministry.
The laying on of hands has power. Therefore, as with any tool that has power, caution needs to be used with the operation of it. We must beware of laying hands of blessing on people that are sinners.
I Timothy 5:22
"LAY HANDS SUDDENLY ON NO MAN, NEITHER BE PARTAKER OF OTHER MEN'S SINS; KEEP YOURSELF PURE."
Amplified Version (I Tim. 5:22)
"DO NOT BE IN A HURRY IN THE LAYING ON OF HANDS - GIVING THE SANCTION OF THE CHURCH TO HASTILY (IN REINSTATING EXPELLED OFFENDERS, OR IN ORDINATION OF QUESTIONABLE CASES) NOR SHARE OR PARTICIPATE IN ANOTHER MAN'S SINS; KEEP YOURSELF PURE."
The Lord is to tell us upon whom we should "lay hands on", or to touch, as Jesus did the leper. In the case of imparting blessings or ministries, one must be proven faithful and true before we should lay hands on them to give such gifts. We should not get carried away with this ministry. Let love and wisdom guide. Follow the Spirit's leading. Don't rush ahead of Him.
In cases where Jesus and the disciples laid hands on the sick, that was done to saints and sinners alike. It demonstrated God’s love and power, and brought some to Jesus.
As Christians in this current plague we, should be "laying hands on", i.e. touching, the people:
in praying for the sick,
in conferring the baptism of the Holy Spirit,
in imparting spiritual gifts,
in connection with prophecy to give confirmation,
in bestowing spiritual blessing,
in confirmation and ordination of ministries,
in sending out believers to do evangelism outside the church.
Jesus had seen the leper, who said:
"Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."
The Lord was willing.
We need to be:
"Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith."
Faith is not found by digging deep into oneself, but found in looking toward the true Source of all real faith, i.e. Jesus Christ.
PETER'S MOTHER-IN-LAW HEALED
"...come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid and sick of a fever. And He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she arose and ministered unto them."
This woman was one who loved to minister, serve, and attend unto others. She was there at Peter's house to help in serving the Lord and His disciples... Falling sick of a sudden fever, her ministry was hindered, stopped, and impossible.
Fevers usually indicate a contagious disease. Yet, Jesus did not await outside for fear of such disease. He entered, and touched, not the forehead, but the hand of this woman. She immediately arose and willingly chose to resume the role of servant to the disciples and the Lord.
Some want healed so they can resume being a pew sitter. Some want healed so they may go to the ball game. Where are the Christians who said they believed in healing?
The Lord wants "laborers" for the harvest. The Lord desires for His people to serve Him. When He finds a servant of His own, who is sick and hindered by such sickness in doing what they desired to do for God, Jesus can perform the healing, do the miracle, restore miraculously the strength needed for such a one.
The devil passes out many fevers, headaches, pains, colds, and sniffles to those who would like to minister for the Lord. These temporary hindrances
Is it all right to wear a mask, shelter away from crowded stores, to stay six foot from others we shop near? Surely, it is not sinful. What the devils hope to do to Christians is put fear not faith in us, so we are not able to be used by Jesus, so we cannot lay hands on some, not demonstrate to the fearful world that the Answer is Jesus.
Sickness can be removed by a fresh "touch" from our Lord, oftentimes using our hand to literally pass on this touch of the Lord Jesus. Not only did the fever leave Peter's mother-in-law, but her strength returned so she could immediately resume what she had come for.
What is your purpose? Why are you here? If you became sick, what would be undone in the kingdom of heaven? If nothing, then when you become disabled by sickness, does the Lord need to heal you to get His work completed, or would the Lord's work be unhindered by your absence? If you become a willing worker in the kingdom, the Lord will see that you receive the miracles necessary to perform such.
So, the Lord Jesus did not stick His hand in the fire to then heal Himself, so itFacw masks are not sin, just as vitamins are not. Yet, when called to minister our faith, we can lay hands on the sick. If we catch the virus, we build up immunity and can be more free. Only one in a hundred die from this virus, and even for them, that means heaven, and seeing Jesus. That makes even death for us to be wonderful. As Paul said: “for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
The disciples feared for their lives after Jesus’ crucifixion, but Jesus came to them and told them to go into all the world. Let’s be sanely cautious, but bravely minister to the sick world.