Matthew 10:8 "Heal the sick, raise the dead......"

The mandate given to Christians in Matthew 10:8, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”
Why is it that most Christians do not do these things, or, are unable to? The verse seems like a command given to all who are believers of Christ. How do you see it?
Genuinely curious. and find it totally unanswerable to those who ask.


Hi, @Priscilla! Great question!

Here is the passage in which those verses are embedded:

"Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give" (New International Version, taken from Bible gateway).

Jesus had many disciples, but this passage says he was specifically talking to the twelve and even renames them probably for clarification and confirmation so that there can be no doubt about to whom he is giving this command. Another indicator that this was not to all disciples for all time is that they were only to go to the “lost sheep of Israel.” Today, we as Jesus’ disciples are to preach the good news to everyone.

This does not mean that God does not still heal through Christians today or do these other miracles through them. However, the twelve were given special authority to work these miracles to authenticate their message in order to be able to obey the command. Today’s disciples are commanded to preach the good news of the gospel, but we do not have a specific command to do miracles with it. When, where, and how God does miracles is according to His will and purposes and timing.

Hope this helps!


Thanks Lindsy, makes sense now. Thanks very much.


Glad to help, Priscilla! Thank you for asking the question!

Excellent answer from @psalm151ls - and there is a corroborating passage in Hebrews 2:3-4 which explains that the miraculous gifts Jesus gave the apostles was God’s way of bearing them witness as they went forth making fantastic claims about an unheard of Savior Who had risen from the dead.

Sometimes people wonder why this miraculous mantle wasn’t passed down throughout all the generations of the Christian church.

The best answer I can offer is that when people began seeing the miraculous effects of the gospel message itself - when they saw drunkards made sober by the power of Christ in their lives, prostitutes made pure, wife beaters made gentle, killers made compassionate, and so forth - those miracles were the greatest demonstrations of what the gospel was primarily about. And if any would not believe God’s word from seeing the miraculous changes it was making in their neighbors, then neither would they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.

I think that @psalm151ls is also right about God still using Christians today even though we do not have the miraculous gifts of the apostles. No Christian needs a special gift in order to pray and see God do great and mighty things - Jeremiah 33:3.


Hi Priscilla!

This is such a great question, and one I’ve struggled with myself. And I think you’ll find a wide range of answers on the topic.

Some believers seem certain the gifts of the Spirit ceased with the disciples, as the disciples played a specific role in the time of Christ to spread the gospel. Others believe the gifts of the Spirit are not only available to believers, but that we are instructed to act on them, and as a result of living in a darkened world with insensitive hearts, acts of healing and other works are limited.

In a recent sermon series, my pastor tackled the subject and offered this observation:

“God has gifted every believer with ability and capacity to see and hear in our Spirit what God is doing in the world around us.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. ‭‭John‬ ‭14:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus intends us to continue His work as He demonstrated.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. ‭‭John‬ ‭16:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

‘He will disclose’ ~ ask the Holy Spirit to show you

2 Kings 6:17 open my eyes

Whoever has ears, let them hear. ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:15‬ ‭NIV‬‬”

It could be, Priscilla, that the Lord is dealing with your heart in this matter for a specific reason. I encourage you to pray, study the Bible and seek additional counsel from trusted spiritual authorities.

This is ~ in my opinion ~ one of the mysteries of the gospel, and one debated by theologians for many years. And even if there are varying opinions, we can agree that there is unity in diversity.

Hope this helps!

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I hope I don’t come across as quibbling here, but could you clarify if you really meant it like this:

I’m guessing you really meant that some believers seem certain the miraculous gifts of the Spirit ceased with the disciples. I’ve never heard anyone deny that gifts such as teaching, leading, serving, giving, etc. are no longer for today. The controversy is over miraculous gifts such as tongues, healing, miracles, etc.

But if you really did intend to say that some deny all Spiritual gifts have passed away, I would be curious to hear what group is teaching that.

Also, the word disciple was just an earlier word for Christians (Acts 11:26). I believe that the controversy centers on the miraculous gifts passing away with the apostles - all of us disciples are still very much here!

Not trying to be difficult - just precise, to avoid confusion - hope I’m taken that way.

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No no! Thank you for the reply! My special gift is causing confusion lol!

I didn’t use the word ‘miraculous’ because that is precisely what Priscilla described in her initial question, referring to healing the sick, raising the dead, etc. and since I was responding directly to her, it didn’t seem necessary. Like you, I’m not aware of any group that disputes the existence of the non-miraculous gifts of the Spirit.

And the apostles are sometimes referred to as the disciples, though not all disciples were/are apostles.

Quoting John Piper (who expands on the subject better than I), “The miracle working power of the apostles was only PART of what authenticated their authority. If the only thing that set the apostles apart as authoritative and true was their signs and wonders, then false prophets could claim the same authority and truth, because Jesus and Paul both tell us that false prophets will do signs and wonders to lead people astray ([Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9, Revelation 13:14]

This is meaty subject matter that deserves a thorough hearing. Is there a curriculum on the subject? I greatly appreciate your comments 1) as I need to be more distinctly thoughtful in any reply and 2) I greatly benefit from volleying ideas about with folks more astute than I ~ makes me a better thinker.

Our online community is so vital!

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Hi, @harperfa, while this is true, in the particular passage to which Priscilla is referring, we need to look at context to get the proper meaning for what was happening at the time. The passage is not ambiguous as to whom Jesus was giving the command. More importantly, he was sending the twelve to the lost sheep of Israel. The miracles at that point were important for authenticating the message. In my response, I did say that the miracles were to authenticate their message, but I did not say the miracles were the only thing authenticating the twelve’s authority. However, in this particular passage, Jesus did send them out to do these things to show that the kingdom of heaven had come near. That is why Jesus told them to preach “The kingdom of heaven is near!” If you do a study on Jesus’ own preaching of the kingdom, it was always accompanied by miracles.

That being said, the other part of what sets the apostles apart and gives them special authority is their eye-witness of Jesus’ life and ministry. If you remember, in the book of Acts when they were trying to decide who would take Judas’ place, they said it had to be someone who had been an eye-witness of Jesus’ life and ministry.

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