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The Power of the Cross and Healing in a Pastor’s Ministry


As a Christian youth, the first book I read from cover-to-cover was David Wilkerson’s The Cross and the Switchblade. For my senior paper in college, I wrote about “The Wisdom of the Cross in 1 Corinthians 1:18.” Throughout my life, the theme of the cross of Jesus has appeared in my life and academic studies. My preaching and pastoral ministry became guided by the overarching theme of the cross of Jesus. I believe without the cross, the New Testament contains implausible words with little power. In my research as a pastor-scholar, I have recognized that the central motif of Paul’s message centers on the cross of Christ crucified (1 Cor. 2:2). In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle commenced the correspondence with “the message about the cross” and “power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18, NRSV). This article will consider the power of the cross in a pastor’s ministry with regard to healing. My thesis underscored the need for a robust theology of the cross with the issue of healing. The key thought of this paper is not a new idea for healing is as old as the New Testament. Both the theology and practicality of the cross in healing will be investigated. Salvation overcomes sin through the power of the cross. The apostle’s eschatological doctrine of the cross contains a theology of salvation; subsequently, the preaching of the cross sets the release of the power of God for healing in the church. Therefore, the cross of Christ reveals God’s eternal plan for all people, and that power undergirds his sovereign purposes. As a pastor of a congregation, I believe a firm understanding of the cross remains essential for ministry, especially in the area of healing.

The preaching of the cross sets the release of the power of God for healing in the church.

A firm belief in the essential meaning of the cross provides the true authority to liberate healing in the life of the church. In this matter of healing, we read of Jesus ministry in Matt. 8:17 that “this was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, ‘He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.’” Irrefutably, the cross represented Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection; therefore, that is why a pastor must claim the veracity of this scripture in prayer for the sick with a congregation. In his suffering and resurrection, Jesus manifests the power of God in the believer’s life.

Image: Dennis Ottink


Relationship between the cross and healing

He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.

Jesus’ ministry demonstrates his power in the cross. Matthew 8 and 9 recorded nine healings. In the middle of these miracles the gospel writer revealed a message about the cross. In Matthew 8:17, the evangelist quoted from the suffering servant in Isaiah 53, “this was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases’” (NIV). This prophetic scripture adopts the healing nature of Christ on the cross to our healing ministries.

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Category: Ministry, Winter 2017

About the Author: Cletus L. Hull, III, M.Div. (Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry), D.Min. (Fuller Theological Seminary), Ph.D. (Regent University), has served as a pastor with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for 36 years and psychiatric chaplain for 34 years. He is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies in the Oral Roberts University College of Theology and Ministry. He has researched the growing Disciples of Christ churches in Puerto Rico and has an interest in the significance of the Stone-Campbell churches in American Christianity. His article, "My Church is a Mental Hospital" appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of Healing Line. He is the author of The Wisdom of the Cross and the Power of the Spirit in the Corinthian Church: Grounding Pneumatic Experiences and Renewal Studies in the Cross of Christ (Pickwick, 2018) and The Call: My Mission and Our Ministry at Trinity United Christian Church, Lower Burrell, PA (Word Association, 2019). Twitter: @cletus_hull, Facebook,

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