Jesus warned his followers that there would be persecution and hard times for them (John 16:33). He walked this earth as a living example of enduring persecution. He suffered persecution, and so did those around him. When he encountered persecution, he endured it.
He was slandered, shunned, and hated by his enemies, and he was eventually beaten and executed. He warned his disciples that that they too would encounter many trials, and we know from the bible and from history that this is indeed what happened. Many disciples were treated in the same way, including beatings, imprisonments, and executions. Many of His disciples are still treated this way.
It is important to note, however, that the persecution and hard times were not physical ailments in His body. Jesus did not endure sickness and disease as part of his ministry, nor did he instruct his followers to do so. In fact, when Jesus encountered sickness and disease, he ministered healing to those that needed it.
Acts 10:38“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
During his earthly ministry, Jesus encountered many people with health problems. When people came to him that were in need of healing, he healed them. This is the case in every example that we have in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
There is not a single example of someone coming to him for healing and going away with their condition unchanged. Rather, we see the exact opposite. From the examples we have available for us to read, Jesus was always willing to minister healing.
We also see that every time he sent out anyone to represent him, he instructed them them to function in the same way.
He did this when he sent out the 12:
Luke 9:1 – “Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.”
He did this when we sent out the 70:
Luke 10:1,9 – “After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go……And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’”
He did this when he sent out everyone else(including you and me) at what we call “the great commission”
Mark 16:15-18 “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel…And these signs will follow those who believe…they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
I have heard people teach that sometimes God wants us to endure sickness and disease as part of the “many trials” that we face. That contradicts the life, words, and actions of Jesus. Jesus always did the Father’s will, and His days were filled with healing people and setting them free from ailments. There are many scriptures that say things like “He healed all that came to Him” or “they brought all the sick people to Him and He healed them all.”
We have no account in the Gospels that He told anyone to remain in their sickness as part of His plan. If sickness was His plan, then He was fighting against His own plan every day with multitudes of people.
His plan was to heal the people, and tell them that the Kingdom of God was at hand. Some people liked that message, and some people reacted violently. They all had the right to choose, and people still have the right to choose. Jesus did not override the choices of people, and He knew that there would be those that would react violently to the message of the Kingdom. And He told His followers not to be surprised if and when they encounter reactions like that.
Those are the trials that Christians must endure, because they come as a result of the free-will choices of other people. Sickness, disease, and physical problems are not included in this. Jesus healed the sick people. He “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38) As His representatives, we should be doing the same thing. We shouldn’t be telling people that God wants them to stay in their sickness. We should be telling them that God wants to heal them.