Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. James 5:14-15
What happens when you get very sick? In our world today, we are blessed with having medical professionals who can determine and diagnose almost every sickness and disease. They have studied God’s design and have discovered how to treat various ailments. It was not so at the time James wrote his letter. James leads his recipients to understand that when severe sickness occurred, they should call for the elders of the church to anoint with oil and pray. Some have thought that this oil was used in a medicinal way, but it would seem, considering the text and the context, that this oil was a way to set the person apart for a special move of God. The fact that the elders were called to come would indicate that this is a person who is gravely ill—not able to get out of bed. The elders of the church were those who had been set apart by the laying on of hands to watch over and shepherd the flock entrusted to them. They were to be caring for the flock, even as they were teaching and praying for the flock (see 1 Peter 5:1-3). It is the same today in our church. Elders are those who are called to care for, watch over, and teach the flock. They are to be praying over the flock and providing spiritual protections. And at times, as needed, they are called to go, to pray over those who are sick. At such times, they anoint with oil the person being prayed for, to set them apart for a special move of God. Take some time today to thank God for the elders of the church and the way they care for the body of Christ for him.