LAYING ON OF HANDS
1. Jesus laid hands on people.
2. According to the Scripture just read (Mt. 19:13), Jesus laid His hands on some small children.
3. In our world there is a lot of interest in the laying on of hands.
4. Many seek the laying on of hands to recover from an illness or for some other reason.
FOR OUR TIME THIS MORNING WE WANT TO SEE WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS CONCERNING THE LAYING ON OF HANDS. IF WE TAKE A BROAD LOOK AT THIS TOPIC HERE IS WHAT WE FIND:
a) The Scripture provide us with about 5 different reasons for laying hands on people.
b) Stated another way, there were approximately five distinct purposes for laying hands on people.
2) We will study the basic points one by one, and we start with the subject of sickness.
3) Hands were sometimes laid on people to cure them of various diseases.
4) At the end of Mark’s gospel we find an account of the great commission.
a) Mark records how Jesus told His disciples to go into all the world (verse 15).
b) Jesus then told the disciples what to preach: a belief in Him that included baptism (verse 16).
c) As the apostles preached, they would offer “signs” so people would believe them.
d) Demons would be cast out of those who were possessed (verse 17).
e) “Tongues” would be spoken (the apostles would be able to preach in languages they had not studied).
f) In the latter part of verse 18 we find something else: sick people would be healed.
g) The apostles would “lay hands” on those who were ill, and disease and medical problems would vanish.
h) This practice was also used to raise the dead.
i) We will come back to the end of Mark 16 in a little bit.
5) What Jesus said in the Great Commission is specifically described in other parts of the Bible.
6) Sick people were healed again and again as the gospel was preached and this confirmed the preaching.
7) In Acts 3 we read of a man who never walked; Peter and John healed him (verses 3-8).
8) People knew of the miracle (Acts 3:11f) and they came to hear the apostles preach.
9) Peter is then again featured in Acts 5, especially verses 15-16.
a) People were being carried out into the streets.
b) People heard so many wonderful things they were hoping to have Peter’s shadow come across them.
c) Acts 5:16 says that “multitudes” from outside of Jerusalem were coming for healing.
d) If the apostles were being obedient to Jesus, the healings were combined with Bible teaching.
e) These passages do not specifically mention the laying on of hands, but other verses do.
f) Acts 28:8-9 tells us of Paul laying his hands on a sick man; this fellow was cured.
g) When word of the healing spread, others from the island came and they too were healed.
10) Today lot of pretend preachers claim to have the power to heal through the laying on of hands.
11) We reject their claims because all the emphasis is on healing and not Bible teaching.
12) Another failure on the part of miracle claiming preachers is found in Acts 5.
13) Listen to Acts 5:16 – READ.
14) In Bible times, no one was turned away, there were no failures, and no one went home partially ill.
15) Every single person who came for healing was cured and people were taught the gospel.
16) Anything less than this standard is either not of God , foolishness, or from Satan.
LOTS OF PEOPLE HAVE SOME FAMILIARITY WITH HANDS BEING LAID ON OTHERS FOR THE CURE OF A MEDICAL CONDITION. A MATTER THAT MANY ARE NOT AS FAMILIAR WITH IS HOW THIS HEALING POWER OPREATED.
a) Where did Christians get the ability to cure the ill through the laying on of hands?
b) 1 Cor. 12:9 says “healing” is a gift of the Holy Spirit.
c) 1 Cor. 12 tells us the source of the power to heal, but how was or how is this power given?
d) Let’s go back to the 16th chapter of Mark.
e) Lots of people are familiar with the information in verses 15-20.
f) We have already highlighted these 6 verses.
g) How often do we stop and look at what precedes these words?
2) Let’s go back and examine verse 14 - READ.
3) It was to the apostles that Jesus said “go into the apostles and preach” (verse 15).
4) Signs would accompany the believers (verse 17).
5) Lots of people snatch that passage out of its context and say, “I’m a believer.”
6) Who were the believers in Mk 16? The apostles. The apostles received these powers.
7) Few would dispute that the eleven received these special abilities because Jesus said so.
8) We live in a world where people try to claim the same powers as the apostles.
9) The real question becomes “how did non-apostles also come to miraculous abilities?”
10) “How could non-apostles such as Philip in Acts 8:1-6 lay hands on people and heal them”?
a) Acts 8 tells us; two apostles came to visit some new converts (verse 15).
b) These apostles first “prayed.”
c) Then we have the information in verses 17-18 – READ.
d) It was through the apostles that miraculous abilities from the Holy Spirit were transmitted.
11) Philip had special abilities, but he did not transfer any of these powers to new Christians.
12) Apostles had to come from another community and pass along spiritual gifts.
13) We either believe this inspired statement or we do not.
a) Someone might say this was done because only the apostles would have known which gifts to give.
b) Let’s argue for a moment that Philip could have given gifts; he didn’t know which ones to give.
c) Such a thought is an interesting theory, but it is not true.
d) 1 Cor. 12:11 says the Holy Spirit determined who received what gifts.
e) The Holy Spirit decided which gifts to give when the apostles laid hands on people.
f) When we ask why the apostles came to lay hands, we are left with one conclusion:
g) It was only through their hands and only their hands that the gifts could be transmitted.
h) Thus, when the last apostle died, these gifts were not transmitted to any one else.
i) Anyone claiming to possess these abilities today is either misguided or guilty of intentional deceit.
WE HAVE LOOK AT TWO OF THE FIVE ASPECTS CONCERNING THE LAYING ON OF HANDS (HEALING AND TRANSMITTING SUPERNATURAL POWER TO PEOPLE). LET’S NOW TURN TO THE THIRD MEANING OF THIS EXPRESSION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.
1) In our world we sometimes recognize people for certain things.
2) Sometimes hands were laid on people to identify them with a specific work.
3) Acts 13 tells us of how Paul and Barnabas were going to preach to some Gentiles.
4) Acts 13:2 says the Holy Spirit sent out a message: Paul and Barnabas were to take a trip.
5) These men had been selected for a special task.
6) After this was made clear, hands were laid on them (verse 3).
7) Closely related to this reason for laying on of hands is appointment to an office.
a) In Acts 6:6 men were selected to help some Christians who needed aid.
b) Once these men were selected, “hands were laid upon them.”
c) This gesture was a means of recognizing these Christians for a special function in the church.
d) 1 Tim. 4:14 says Timothy had hands laid on him by an eldership.
e) Timothy was told (1 Tim. 5:22) to “lay hands hastily on no man.”
f) This laying on of hands is said in the context of elders.
g) It refers to appointing a man to the eldership.
h) Laying hands on people was a means of recognizing, welcoming, installing, accepting.
i) In the business world there is a similar practice.
j) Have we not seen a person selected for a particular job – perhaps a promotion?
k) A few words are said or a speech is given and then hands are shaken.
l) In the Old Testament hands were sometimes laid upon sacrifices.
m) Animals were being designated or recognized for slaughter.
8) A lot of times people read the Bible and come to a mental picture that may or may not be right.
9) Such can happen with the “laying on of hands.”
10) Groups exist that insist on taking these words in a way they have conjured up in their minds.
11) For many, this means laying hands on the shoulders of people at various times.
a) Let’s think for a moment about trying to literally bind this exact gesture upon someone.
b) How do we know hands should be laid upon the shoulder? Should it be one shoulder or both?
c) Does not a handshake fall within the general description of “laying hands” on someone?
d) What if in the case of the sick, hands were “laid on the leg or head?
e) Did that interfere with the healing?
f) Did the apostles have to touch or grab a certain body part for the miracle to be effective?
g) What about laying hands on the head? The neck? The back? The wrist?
h) Gen. 24:2 refers to putting a hand underneath the thigh—would that qualify?
12) Laying on of hands is simply a description of acknowledging a person’s new role or task.
13) Suppose we had a situation like Acts 13; it is time to designate someone for a special work.
14) The eldership that is doing the designating is in America; the missionary is already in Europe.
15) How could “hands” be laid on that missionary since he is thousands of miles away?
16) Do we have to fly him back over to the states so the elders can touch him on the shoulders/shake his hand?
17) No, they might designate him through a phone call, letter, telegram, e-mail, or some other means.
18) We do believe in “laying hands on people” for the reasons the Bible describes.
19) Today it is not to pass on miraculous powers or cure the sick; it is to recognize people.
20) We use some form of this practice to approve people for special tasks and positions in the church.
21) One means of accomplishing this is as we have done here when appointing elders and deacons.
22) A final example of laying hands on people is found in Mt. 19:13, 15.
23) Jesus was conferring a blessing upon young children.
24) Laying hands on people was a way of welcoming.
25) This should not seem foreign to us because we do a similar thing.
a) We use physical contact to greet people and to wish them well.
b) Children especially have a strong desire for acceptance and being welcomed.
c) Jesus showed us the value of young people by laying hands on those brought to Him.
26) Lots of people in the world have questions about the laying of hands and the Bible answers those questions.
27) In fact, the Bible answers basically all the questions ask.
28) It helps with the purpose of life, being successful in life, and what happens after this life.
s term is found only here in the New