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Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the congregation, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (James 5:14)
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the congregation.
James has covered how all Christians undergo evil in a general sense because of inherited sin, human weaknesses, and the world ruled by Satan. Now, he turns his attention to what has resulted and can result from having to deal with a bombardment of suffering through the evils of this fallen world, i.e., spiritual weakness or sickness. Almost all modern commentaries believe James is talking about physical sickness. However, Christian Publishing House does not, and it should be noted that the majority does not equal correct, as history has shown many times over that the majority can be wrong. It is the evidence that determines what is correct. We agree with an older commentary by a noted Bible scholar,
Here is the culminating point of the question whether the language of James is to be uniformly taken in a literal sense, or whether it uniformly bears a figurative character. The literal construction involves these surprising moments: 1. The calling for the presbyters of the congregation in the Plural; 2. the general direction concerning their prayer accompanying unction with oil; 3. and especially the confident promise that the prayer of faith shall restore the sick apart from his restoration being connected with the forgiveness of his sins. Was the Apostle warranted to promise bodily recovery in every case in which a sick individual complied with his directions? This misgiving urges us to adopt the symbolical construction of the passage, which would be as follows: if any man as a Christian has been hurt or become sick in his Christianity, let him seek healing from the presbyters, the kernel of the congregation. Let these pray with and for him and anoint him with the oil of the Spirit; such a course wherever taken, will surely restore him and his transgressions will be forgiven him.
The spiritual sickness spoken of by James can be a direct result of the continued suffering of evil, i.e., his not understanding why God has allowed evil. Or it may be a result of his human weaknesses in that he has committed some grave sin. Or he is living in sin, which has him distraught to the point he feels his unrighteous condition prevents his prayers from being heard by God (Pro. 15:29; 28:9) and has sought the righteous prayers of the elders. Then again, he might have drifted away from the faith to an extent (Heb. 2:1), or he may have developed an unbelieving heart, leading him to fall away from the living God. (Heb. 3:12-13) Then again, maybe he has become sluggish in his Christian walk. (Heb. 6:12) Maybe he has endured hostility from sinners so that he has grown weary or fainthearted. (Heb. 12:3) Moreover, some had grown weary of doing good, living in miserable, wretched, hopeless poverty, while those doing bad, lived in wealth. (Gal. (6:9) It is also true that prolonged anguish can also bring about physical sicknesses. No one who has suffered spiritual weaknesses should be ashamed to seek out the congregation elders. They will be able to strengthen and fortify him with biblical counseling and prayer so that there will be no future irrational thinking, which can lead to wrongdoing.
Acts 20:28 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the congregation of God, which he obtained with the blood of his own Son.
And let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. The father does not hear the prayers of the wicked, but he does the prayer of the righteous one. (Pro. 15:29) The loving biblical counsel and prayers from the elders (the righteous), would be like calming oil, alleviating the fears and quieting the doubts of the spiritually weak one, enabling him to feel at peace (cheerful even) in that God hears the prayers. (Ps. 23:5; Jer. 8:22) The “word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12) Scripture can be likened to the rubbing in of soothing oils. (Isa. 61:3) The soothing, heartfelt voice of the elder as he prays to the Father will enable this weakened one to draw close to God once more. He can feel relief from the weight he has been carrying lifted off his shoulders. He will come to realize that “Jehovah [i.e., the Father] is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18, UASV.
This meeting with the elders would not be a one-time deal, as the weakened one would be helped over time so he could make a full recovery. This would include assigning someone to shepherd him in making a full spiritual recovery. This could include rides to meetings, visiting his home once a week, and so on. The one shepherding would do so in a biblical manner and would not depend on the wisdom of this fallen world, which is foolishness to God, but rather on the Word of God. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
 John Peter Lange, Philip Schaff, et al., A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: James (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 138.
 Gr (ἐκκλησία ekklēsia) “assembly;” “congregation, i.e., of Christians”
 Lit with the blood of his Own. Or, with his own blood.