We can learn a lot from the men and women of faith during the first centuries after Jesus went back to heaven. It is amazing how the Christians of that day relied solely on God. What valuable lessons we could learn by following their example!
Consider this quote from Justin Maryr (c. 155): “For numberless demoniacs throughout the whole world, and in your city, many of our Christian men exorcising them in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, have healed and do heal, rendering helpless and driving the possessing devils out of the men, though they could not be cured by all the other exorcists, and those who used incantations and drugs.” — Justin Martyr, (c.155) (ANF 1.190)
In this quote, we seem to see a connection between exorcism and healing. If you are surprised, then remember that this is completely in line with what Jesus taught: “And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?” Luke 13:16 (NASB77); “And also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out.” Luke 8:2 (NASB77). Jesus’ mandate to His disciples was identical: “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” Matt 10:1, (NIV) Justin Martyr went on to say about Jesus: “We call Him Helper and Redeemer. Even the demons fear the power of His name at this day, when they are exorcised in the name of Jesus Christ, . . . They are defeated.” — Justin Martyr (ANF 1.209). The name of Jesus is powerful!
This next quotation from Lactantius (c.159) will open our eyes even further: “As long as there is peace among the people of God, these spirits flee from the righteous and fear them. And when they seize the bodies of men and harass their souls, they are adjured by [Christians] and are put to flight at the name of the true God.”– Lactantius (ANF 7.159). Here, too, there is a connection between peace and victory: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57 (NASB77).
And if you still aren’t convinced that the power of Jesus’ name can drive out the demons causing sickness, here is another quote from an early church father, Tertullian: “What is nobler than to tread under foot the gods of the nations, to exorcise evil spirits, to perform cures, to seek divine revelations, and to live to God? These are the pleasures – these are the spectacles – that befit Christian men.” — Tertullian (c. 212).
Thus, we see that healing goes hand in hand with refusing to listen to the lies of the evil one!
Tertullian goes on to say: “See how many men of rank have been delivered from devils and healed of diseases!” — Tertullian, (c. 212), 3.91; and “There are still preserved among Christians traces of that Holy Spirit that appeared in the form of a dove. They expel evil spirits, perform many cures, and foresee certain events.” — Tertullian, 9 (c. 212), 3.107.
If this happened in the days of the early church, after Jesus had returned to Heaven, it can still happen today. I can concur with these early church fathers…
My optometrist recently diagnosed me with early glaucoma, and she wanted to see me for a recheck in two months. Guess who showed up? The devil himself, trying to fill me with worry and doubt. Whenever he came to me, he tried to convince me that the thoughts he put in my mind were my own. I knew this wasn’t true, and each time, I ordered him in the name of Jesus to leave. He had no choice but to obey.
If I had concurred with the devil by believing that these accusations were my own thoughts, no healing would have happened. This is why the evil one tries to make us doubt. After all, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.” John 8:44b.
Even though I knew I was healed, the devil is persistent. I was driving to my follow-up appointment two months later when I was attacked yet again: “You are not healed! You will become blind! You cannot do anything about it.” I only contemplated the thought for a moment, then I declared that I believed solely in the healing of my Savior.
The devil had no choice but to leave, and my optometrist was amazed. She couldn’t understand how the glaucoma had just…disappeared!
And why not? After all, our Heavenly Father is nuts about us! Isn’t He amazing?
(To view the entire “Miracles From the Past” devotional series, please click here.)