“Is any sick among you? 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. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him” (James 5:14,15).
This is an important and sadly neglected ministry of the church’s pastors and elders. The purpose of this anointment was for both the physical and the spiritual healing of the soul.
In the Bible, Oil is a symbol for the Holy Spirit (Matthew 25:1-13). True Christians have the presence of the oil of the Spirit who leads them into all truth and anoints them continually with His grace and comfort “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth” (1 John 2:20).
Anointing with oil for the purpose of healing is only mentioned two times in the Bible–in James 5:14 and in Mark 6:13. Mark 6:13 states, “And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.”
James adds “the prayer of faith shall save the sick.” This is a promise of healing. It is the will of God that the sick may receive healing. Oil in this passage, is a symbolic act of faith and submission to God and should be certainly practiced today. Jesus went about “healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35). He sent out His apostles with power “to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease” (Matthew 10:1).
Even after His resurrection, the apostles of Christ received sick folks and “healed every one” (Acts 5:16). And the apostles acknowledged the importance of prayer for the physical and spiritual needs of the people when they said, “We will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4).
In His service,
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