Bible Question:

If a member of a congregation gets sick, who is responsible to go and see about that member, especially if we do not have a missionary ministry? Is it the pastor? The Bible says when you are sick you need to call upon the elders of the church.

Bible Answer:

The answer to your question is found in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan and several other New Testament passages.

Good Samaritan

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:30-37, a man was robbed, stripped of his clothes, and beaten by some robbers. Sometime later a priest and Levite saw the man, ignored him, and walked by. Later a Samaritan saw the man. He stopped and cared for him. The Samaritan left the injured man at an inn with directions for the innkeeper to take care of him. When Jesus was finished with the parable, he asked a question. Here is His question and the answer of a Jewish lawyer to whom Jesus was speaking,

“Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he [Jewish lawyer] said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” (NASB) Luke 10:36-37

What does Jesus want us to do for those who are wounded and need help? He wants us to help them just as the Good Samaritan did.

You Gave Me

In Matthew 25, Jesus illustrated the future judgment and said the following,

Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.” (NASB) Matthew 25:34-36

It is clear that Jesus expects all of us to take care of the sick, the naked, strangers, and prisoners. These two illustrations indicate that Jesus expects us to take care of those who are beaten, sick, and in need. He also expects us to care for widows, orphans (James 1:27), strangers (Heb. 13:2), prisoners (Heb. 13:3), and the poor (Prov. 28:27).

Call For The Elders

Church leaders or elders have a special role to the sick beyond that of the other church members. James 5:14-15 tells us that those who are sick should call the elders of the church and ask them to pray for them. If they committed sins that resulted in their sickness they will be forgiven.

Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. (NASB) James 5:14-15


God wants everyone of us to care for the sick, poor, strangers, orphans, widows, and anyone else who is in need. It is an act of love and mercy. That is what God does for us. He shows us mercy and love. Jesus did that when He died on the cross to forgive the sins of those who trust Him.

Suggested Links:

Searching For God
Thoughts On Selecting A Pastor
What are the pastor's duties to a church?
Who are the elders? Are they pastors?