Laying On of Hands
Laying on of hands is a core principle of the doctrine of Christ listed in Hebrews 6:1–2.
FOR HEALING, MIRACLES, SIGNS AND WONDERS
Hebrews 6:1–2 (NKJV)
Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
1. Repentance from dead works and of faith toward God
2. The doctrine of baptisms
3. Laying on of hands
4. Resurrection of the dead
5. Eternal judgment
Jesus Himself freely used laying on of hands to heal people. In Mark chapter 6, we see Jesus in His hometown of Nazareth:
MARK 6:5 (NKJV)
Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.
Notice this text is speaking of Jesus. It doesn't say He wouldn't do mighty works in Nazareth. It says He couldn't. It seems, therefore, that the laying on of hands will work when nothing else will! The few who were healed that day were healed by the laying on of Jesus' hands.
Another example of Jesus' laying hands on someone is when Jesus entered Peter's house, He found Peter's mother-in-law sick with a fever.
Matthew 8:15 (NKJV)
So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them.
MARK 8:22–25 (NKJV)
Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, "I see men like trees, walking." Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.
This blind man was healed by the laying on of Jesus' hands. Some may say, "Jesus prayed for that blind man twice." I don't know that He prayed for him at all. The Bible doesn't say that He prayed. The Bible says He laid hands on him twice! It is scripturally correct to lay your hands, a second time, on a sick person, if necessary. It's good to know what Jesus did in certain circumstances. Then we will know what to do too.
MARK 7:32–33, 35 (NKJV)
Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. . . . Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.
In the above two cases, notice that groups of people brought the blind man and the deaf man to Jesus. These people, as well as the sick themselves, believed in the laying on of hands and got results. If you want the laying on of hands to work for you, you have to believe and receive. Without faith, the laying on of hands is merely a ritual, and nothing will happen. In the case of the deaf man, Scripture does not say that the people asked Jesus to heal the man, although that is inferred. It says they asked Him to put His hands on him.
MARK 5:22–23 (NKJV)
And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, "My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live."
Jairus believed in the laying on of hands. He didn't say, "Come and pray for her." He said, "Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed." Jairus believed his daughter would be healed when hands were laid on her. We know from Scripture that the child died before Jesus reached Jairus' house. But Mark 5:41 says that Jesus took the child by the hand.
Mark 5:41 (NKJV)
Then He took the child by the hand.
In other words, Jesus touched her. He took her by the hand. She was raised from the dead and was healed. Jesus laid hands on sick people, and He exhorted believers to lay hands on the sick too.
Mark 16:18 (NKJV),
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.
Who will lay hands on the sick? The answer is found in the 15th verse where Jesus told His disciples, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature". One of the signs that will follow those who believe is, "They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
Acts 5:12 (NKJV)
And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people.
The disciples took Jesus seriously. Paul practiced the laying on of hands too. In Acts chapter 28, we find Paul shipwrecked on an island. The father of the ruler of the island was ill, so Paul went to his house. The man was healed through the laying on of hands.
Acts 28:8 (NKJV)
And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him.
Scripture goes on to say that the islanders brought their sick to Paul and he ministered to them. Obviously Paul ministered by the laying on of hands.
ACTS 19:11–12 (NKJV)
Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.
Here, not only were the sick healed, but the demonized were delivered as cloths Paul had laid his hands on were laid upon their bodies.
Some will say, "The apostles could do that, but it's not for us today." No where in scripture is this found. This is a worn-out lie that no one should be listening to! Jesus didn't say these signs would follow just the apostles. To say that we cannot lay hands on the sick today is to say that one of the fundamental principles of the doctrine of Christ mentioned in Hebrews 6:1-2 has been done away with.
FOR IMPARTATION OF GIFTS
2 Timothy 1:6 (NKJV)
Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
Equipping and impartation of the gifts are an important part of the church leadership. The gift that Timothy received came through the laying on of Paul's hands. We should not shy away or be afraid to do this in our churches. How much more effective and powerful would the church be if all the pastors and elders were laying on of hands and the Holy Spirit was imparting gifts through them?
1 Timothy 5:22 (NKJV)
Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.
Luke 4:40 (NKJV)
When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.
Paul is not talking about laying hands on for ordination; he's talking about the doctrine of the laying on of hands. In every mention of the laying on of hands, it is referring to the power of God flowing through God's vessel for healings, signs and wonders, miracles or spiritual gift impartation for ministry. We need to be clear who is doing the ordaining and what laying on of hands accomplishes. No pastor is responsible for an individual's call into ministry. Laying on of hands will impart gifts to equip for the ministry call, it does not ordain.
This also doesn't mean that you shouldn't lay hands on everyone, but only that we need to be careful when we do and how to go about it. Jesus freely "laid His hands on every one of them". We have nothing to fear. Just don't do it quickly, but use discernment.
It is important that people do not doubt when hands are laid on them. Otherwise, they will not receive, doubt will influence others as well from receiving and will have a big impact on the moving of the Holy Spirit. Remember, doubt was the reason why Jesus couldn't do many miracles in His home town. Let there be freedom to move in the spirit just like Jesus did, but always be prepared and have your discernment working when you go to lay your hands upon someone.
May those in spiritual authority in the church learn to stand on the whole word of God and walk in the doctrine of the laying on of hands for the equipping of the church.