Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him…
1. From the supposition, "Is any among you sick?" The note is obvious. Christ's worshippers are not exempted from sickness, no more than any other affliction. Those that are dear to God have their share of miseries. Austin asketh, If he were beloved, how came he to be sick? In the outward accidents of life God would make no difference.
2. From that "let him call for the elders." Note that the chief care of a sick man should be for his soul. Physicians are to be called in their place, but not first, not chiefly. Sickness is God's messenger to call us to meet with God.
3. From that "let him call." The elders must be sent for. A man that hath continued in opposition is loath to submit at the last hour and to call the elders to his spiritual assistance. Aquinas saith that this last office must not be performed but to those that require it. Possidonius, in the life of Austin, saith that Austin was wont of his own accord to visit the poor, the fatherless, and the widow, but the sick never till he was called. It is indeed suitable to true religion to "visit the fatherless," (James 1:27); but the sick must call for the elders.
4. From that "the elders." For our comfort in sickness it is good to call in the help of the guides and officers of the Church. They, excelling in gifts, are best able to instruct and pray. They can with authority, and in a way of office, comfort and instruct; the prayers of prophets have a special efficacy.
5. Again from that "the elders." Visiting of the sick should be performed with the joint care of Church officers; it is a weighty work, and needeth many shoulders; the diversity of gifts for prayer and discourse seemeth to call for it; it is the last office we can perform to those of whom the Lord hath made us overseers.
6. From that "let them pray." One necessary work in visiting is commending sick persons to God, and this prayer must be made by them, or over them, that their sight may the more work upon us, and our prayers may work upon them.
7. From that "and anoint him with oil." From this clause observe the condescension of God. The first preachers of the gospel of Christ had power to do miracles: the doctrine itself, being so rational and satisfactory, deserved belief; but God would give a visible confirmation, the better to encourage our faith.
8. From that "anoint with oil" in order to cure, note that the miracles done in Christ's name were wrought by power, but ended in mercy. In the very confirmation of the gospel God would show the benefit of it.
9. From that "in the name of the Lord." All the miracles that were wrought were to be wrought in Christ's name. The apostles and primitive Christians, though they had such an excellent trust, did not abuse it to serve their own name and interests, but Christ's; teaching us that we should exercise all our gifts and abilities by Christ's power to Christ's glory (Psalm 51:16).
Parallel VersesKJV: Is any sick among you? 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: