Healing through the Laying on of Hands
Dr. Randy White
“And it happened that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him.” (Acts 28:8)
After Paul had first been perceived by the local populace to be a murderous rebel sought by the gods for destruction, then as a god himself, immune from deadly poisons, the local populace was amazed by him. The most prominent man on the Island, Publius, welcomed Paul into his home, keeping him for three days. At the end of this time, Paul prayed, laid hands on Publius’ father, and healed him.
I find it interesting that miraculous healing is consistently associated with the laying on of hands. This was done both by Jesus and His Apostles. Anointing with oil, on the other hand, was a matter of honoring and comforting the recipient. When studied closely, you will also find that the laying on of hands for healing was an apostolic symbol, not something that was done by the general Christian population. As proof of this, consider Simon Magus of Rome, of whom Scripture says, “Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 8:18–19, NASB95). Simon was longing for the authority of the Apostles so that his laying on of hands would have the same effect as the Apostles.
Many people today associate the anointing with oil as a healing act, when done in faith. Biblically, the anointing with oil is a comforting and prayerful act of worship that shows our devotion to the Lord and to the care of the person anointed. The laying on of hands is associated with healing, but something only seen to have effect by those who were Apostles.
A search of the Scriptures can keep us from a lot of error!
In His Grace,
Dr. Randy White
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