The ministry of the New Testament Church is no different from that of Jesus Himself. The record of the Church’s beginning (the Acts of the Apostles) shows that Jesus’ followers continued the same ministry of preaching and healing that the Lord had begun. The healing power of God and God’s willingness to heal didn’t ascend into heaven with Jesus. Jesus said before He left, “These signs will accompany those who have believed: . . . they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17, 18
Careful study of the book of Acts will reveal that this is exactly what happened. Everywhere the Gospel was preached, miracles of healing were performed: Acts 5:12, 15, 16; 8:7; 9:33, 34; 14:8-10; 19:11, 12; 28:8.9.
The Gospel which the early church preached was the same one that Jesus had preached. It proclaimed release from bondage and oppression and announced healing to those who were afflicted. Healing was an vital part of the Gospel of the early apostles, as the book of Acts shows. Read Acts 14:8-10 “In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.”
Paul was preaching the “Gospel” at Lystra. There was, in the crowd, a crippled man, who received faith to be healed as he heard Paul speak. It is obvious that what the man “heard” in the good news which Paul preached, was that God was willing and able to heal him. If Paul had not declared that healing was available through the Lord Jesus Christ, the man would not have had the faith to receive it. Faith comes by hearing, and the crippled man received faith for healing by hearing a gospel which proclaimed freedom from sickness.
So even after Jesus’ return to heaven, God’s will was still healing. The reason for the healings which are recorded in the book of Acts was more than verification of the apostles’ ministry. The Bible says that the people came to the apostles from all places and were healed every one by the power of God.
“As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.” Acts 5:15, 16
Proof of ministry would only have required one or two spectacular healings. But the apostles carried out Jesus’ commission to preach and to heal the sick, because it was still God’s will to heal all those who were afflicted with sickness and disease.