"They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them." — Mark 6:12-13
Jesus sent out his disciples to do his work. Not wanting them to be loaded down, he told them to take along only what they were wearing. Things seemed to be urgent. Jesus wanted them to live by faith, trusting in God to supply their needs.
As they ministered from place to place, they would find both hospitality and hostility, both friends and enemies. Jesus told them to lodge at only one house in each community. And if a place did not welcome or listen to them, they should leave and “shake the dust off” their feet, a cultural statement reflecting the rejection they had been shown. This would imply that the townspeople needed a change of heart.
All in all, the disciples experienced the power of God working through them. They cast out demons and anointed sick people with oil, healing many.
As a pastor, I have anointed people with oil. James 5:14 calls church leaders to pray over sick people and anoint them with oil. For me, it has been a humbling and holy experience. Though God has not always healed these people physically, all were spiritually comforted.
Anointing oil is not meant to seem like a healing potion. God decides when and how to heal—whether it’s on this side of the grave or the other. The oil of anointing is a blessed comfort that reminds people of God’s constant care.
Father, help us to see that the healing we need most is in our hearts and souls. Strengthen us to serve you as long as we live. Amen.