“14 Is anyone among you sick? 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.” James 5:14
James 5 is a pivotal passage in the New Testament regarding prayer. Here James poses a rhetorical question, “Is anyone among you sick?” Call for the elders to come pray.
In 19 years of being a Pastor, I have been scolded by a few church people for not magically knowing they were sick and for not coming to them to pray. Take note, it’s the responsibility of the sick person to call the elders to come pray.
James statement regarding sickness and sin has often been misinterpreted and have led some on a judgmental witch-hunt.
Here are three reasons for sickness in this world.
#1 Sickness is the result of original sin.
Sin not only separated Adam and Eve from God, but it started the clock of our life-span which was non-existent prior to sin. We were created to live eternally with God until we invited sin into the world through rebellion against God.
All that was lost in the Garden of Eden we regained at the cross.
At times, God elects to heal some of our infirmities. Yet for everyone, Jesus promises new life in Christ that finds fulfillment when we enter heaven. Until then we are susceptible to sickness and illness.
#2 Sickness can be the result of active sin in your life.
“29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.” 1 Corinthians 11:29-30
Does this mean that anytime I get a cold or the flu that I sinned? No. A cold or the flu means you contacted someone who had a virus or touched a surface they touched.
But 1 Corinthians 11, teaches that there are some cases our deliberate sin against God invites judgment as we are infected with illness, even death. In Exodus 15:26, God told the Israelites that if they obeyed Him and followed His statutes that He would hold back the diseases the Egyptians experienced.
God is sovereign and it’s within His right to hold back sickness if He chooses to. Yet we justly deserve the wages of our sin, but by the grace and mercy of God, we can be shielded from all that.
#3 To display God’s glory.
“Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:3
Sickness provides God with an opportunity to heal us and display His glory to the world. When the doctors say there’s no hope and then God raises you up, that is for the glory of God.
When the report comes back negative, then follow up scans reveal a different result, that’s not a misdiagnosis, that’s the power of God at work in your life.
Everything God does for His glory is for your good!
“And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick…” James 5:15
Do you know what tense “will” is in?
- Is it past? That would be “would save.”
- Is it present? That would be “does save.”
- It’s in the future tense, “will save.”
Maybe healing comes at the end of the prayer. Maybe it comes when the person who prayed for you is leaving. Maybe like the lepers in Luke 17, after Jesus prayed, while on the way to see the high priest, they were healed? We don’t know the timing, but we know God will heal!
For a believer, death is healing. I promise you, one second in heaven and you won’t want to return to life on earth. Earth can’t compete with the glory of heaven.
- A world without tears.
- A world without pain.
- A world without separation.
- A world without sickness.
- A world without sin.
If you find yourself sick, turn to God in prayer, who can heal the sick.