1. LAYING HANDS ON UNBELIEVERS
Unbelievers make up the world who God so loves (John 3'16). Having expressed His love by sending Jesus, the Father wants to express Himself to the world through Christ's People.
To clarify the point, Jesus said:
"... as the Father has sent Me, I also send you," John 20'21.
Further to that He said:
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also;
and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father," John 14'12.
Also, "... signs will follow those who believe":
"In My name they will cast out demons;
they will speak with new tongues;
they will take up serpents;
and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them;
they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover".
What Jesus promised came to pass as Mark reports:
"And they went out and preached everywhere,
the Lord working with them and
confirming the word through the accompanying signs,"
Signs accompanied the Lord's People soon after after the Day of Pentecost, Luke reports. For instance, the lame man who lay on the ground at the temple gate asking for money:
"... fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, 'Look at us.'
So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.
Then Peter said, 'Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk'.
And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them - walking, leaping, and praising God," Acts 3'4-8.
Once again, the laying on of hands is varied spontaneously by Peter on this occasion.
On the island of Malta ...
"... 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.
So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed," Acts 28'8-9.
Here Paul felt it necessary to pray before laying his hands on the person indication that, in some cases, praying may be needed in advance of laying on hands.
Following this healing others requested prayer and were healed.
One very important restriction comes with this ministry. The Lord does not permit hands to be laid on anyone for the purpose of casting out demons.
It is significant that He kept the ministries of casting out spirits and physical healing well apart as Mark 16'17-18 shows:
“... these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;
they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Out of the five things on His list of signs, casting out demons is first and laying on hands for physical healing last:
"they will cast out demons" / "they will lay hands on the sick".
He had only one method for dealing with evil spirits:
He "... cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick," Mark 8'16.
No sprinkling of "holy" water, no waving of the Bible and certainly no laying on of hands. It is His word that the Holy Spirit responds to and Satan has to obey, and does.
Paul knew there could be unintended consequences from laying hands on individuals unthinkingly, so he warned:
"Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure," 1 Timothy 5'22.