How do the gifts of healing and prophecy contribute to the Great Commission?
In His last teaching upon the Mount of Olives, (Matthew 23-25), Jesus made a Great Promise: “This Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14, emphasis added). In His last conversation upon the same Mount nearly two months later, Jesus assigned the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
When God calls us, He always enables us to fulfill the call. Paul told the Ephesian believers that Jesus had distributed gifts to His Church, that she might be edified and unified to perform “good works, which He prepared beforehand” (Ephesians 2:10; 4:1-16). Similarly, he exhorted the Corinthian church to pursue the spiritual gifts made available to believers through the Holy Spirit (see I Corinthians 12-14)—“especially that you may prophesy” (I Corinthians 14:1). Why? Because prophecy “speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men” (I Corinthians 14:3). Timothy himself was urged by Paul to contend for the prophetic word given to him (I Timothy 1:18) that he might “fight the good fight” and avoid “shipwreck” (I Timothy 6:12; 1:19, respectively). “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10). The purpose of the prophetic word is to make much of Jesus and align our hearts to see Him rightly.
At Pentecost after the Ascension, the early disciples were the first to receive the Holy Spirit, Who enabled them to preach the Gospel with signs and wonders to verify and vindicate the Word of God—that Jesus of Nazareth is Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). The Book of Acts is full of miraculous healings and deliverances performed by God through the apostolic hands to make much of Jesus’ Lordship. All things are “under His feet” (Ephesians 1:22; I Corinthians 15:27)—even sickness and disease. The Lord uses ordinary men and women to do extraordinary things, that we might fulfil His purposes and display His glory.
The Great Commission will not fail, and every believer is not only invited to participate, but mandated. We have been given “irrevocable,” “good and perfect” gifts from our Father “so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Romans 11:29; James 1:17; Ephesians 3:10). We pursue gifts so that through signs, wonders and the testimony of Jesus, all created order might receive a witness of the God of the Gospel. “This was according to the eternal purpose that He has realised in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him” (Ephesians 3:11-12).
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