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Don Stewart :: What Do We Discover about the Various Reports of Healing Found in Jesus' Ministry?

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What Do We Discover about the Various Reports of Healing Found in Jesus’ Ministry?

Divine Healing – Question 6

It is clear that Jesus Christ healed the sick. Indeed, the eyewitness testimony, as recorded in the four gospels, demonstrates beyond any doubt that He had such ability.

This being the case, it is helpful that we look closely at the various accounts of divine healing performed by Jesus. From these reports of miraculous healing, we can make a number of observations.

The Healings Recorded in the New Testament Were All Miraculous

From an examination of the four gospels, we find that all of the reports of healing by Jesus Christ were supernatural. In other words, it was not merely a matter of someone naturally recovering from an illness. The healings were miraculous – there are no exceptions to this.

This is confirmed by the response of the people to the healing miracles. Indeed, whenever a miraculous healing took place the people were amazed with the result. For example, we read the following response of the people when Jesus cured a man who had been paralyzed.

And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2:12 NRSV).

Note that the people were surprised that Jesus was able to instantly heal the man. These people realized this healing was indeed a miracle. In addition, they testified that they had never seen a miracle like this. Indeed, nobody had ever witnessed such a thing.

The Healings Were of Actual Physical Ailments –they Actually Had the Problem

The nature of the illnesses of the people who were healed shows that these individuals were in fact suffering from genuine physical ailments. The New Testament gives examples of people being healed from such things as fever, deafness, the inability to speak, the inability to walk, blindness, and death. Each of these qualifies as actual physical ailments. In other words, they weren’t just healed from illnesses they thought they had. These ailments were real and the healings were just as real!

The Healings Were Almost Always Instantaneous

When we encounter a miraculous healing by Jesus Christ as recorded in the four gospels we find that it almost always was instantaneous. We will provide some examples.

A Leper Was Instantly Healed

Mark writes about a man who approached Jesus to be healed of his leprosy. We find that Jesus healed him at his request. The Bible says.

Instantly the leprosy disappeared—the man was healed (Mark 1:42 NLT).

The dreaded leprosy immediately vanished. This was indeed a miracle.

The Servant of a Centurion Was Healed Immediately

A centurion approached Jesus about his infirmed servant. This Roman soldier showed great faith that the Lord could heal the ailing man. Jesus then told him that his servant was now healed. Matthew writes.

And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment (Matthew 8:13 ESV).

Again we find that this man was healed as soon as Jesus spoke the word.

Jesus Touched the Hand of Peter’s Mother-In-Law

The mother-in-law of Simon Peter was sick with a fever. Jesus merely touched her and the fever left the woman. Matthew writes.

He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him (Matthew 8:15 ESV).

The fact that she could minister to them shows that the fever had immediately gone away.

Time and time again we find the emphasis on the immediacy of the healings. In other words, Jesus spoke and the people were healed.

There Were Three Times Healing Was Not Immediate

Interestingly, we find that there were three instances when the healing miracles of Jesus were not immediate. They are as follows.

The Blind Man in Bethsaida

Mark gives an account of Jesus healing a blind man in the city of Bethsaida in a two step process. He recorded the episode as follows.

They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly (Mark 8:22-25 TNIV).

While this healing was not instantaneous, it was completed in merely a matter of minutes. For all intents and purposes it happened at once.

The Healing of Ten Lepers

Luke records Jesus’ healing of ten lepers where there was a slight time delay. This miracle took place as follows.

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him–and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner? Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:11-19 TNIV).

These people were not healed in Jesus’ presence but while they were on their way to the priest as Jesus commanded them. Again, it was only a matter of minutes after Jesus gave the word that they were healed.

The Man Born Blind

John records Jesus healing of a man who was born blind. The healing of this blind man did not take place in His presence. The Bible explains what took place as follows.

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing (John 9:1-7 TNIV)

The man was healed soon after Jesus said that he would be healed. Again, this was only a short period of time after encountering Jesus.

Therefore, every healing miracle of Jesus took place as soon as He gave the word, or immediately thereafter. In other words, there was no real time delay or the need for any period of recuperation between Jesus’ command and their eventual healing of the infirmed individual. Indeed, they were instantly restored to health.

The Healings Were Complete: No One Was Partially Healed

When Jesus Christ healed a person the healing was complete. In fact, there is no record of a partial or incomplete healing. For example we read the following.

And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well (Matthew 14:35, 36 NKJV).

Note that each of these people who were supernaturally healed were said to be “made perfectly well.” Consequently, we never find examples of people who went away from Jesus who were only partially healed.

For example, the people healed did not receive only fifty percent of their vision when they were healed from blindness. Neither did they have only one of their two bad legs healed. We do not find that they received hearing in only one of their two bad ears nor were their fevers were only partially relieved. Everyone, in each and every instance, went away completely healed.

No One Was Refused Healing Because of Lack of Jesus’ Ability

Furthermore, there is no example of Jesus Christ ever refusing to heal someone because the illness was too difficult to cure. No matter what the physical problem, Jesus was able to heal it. Thus, it was never an issue of whether Jesus could actually heal the sick person. He always could do this.

Nobody Was Turned Away Because of Lack of Compassion

Jesus healed those who came to Him. Nobody was ever turned away because of lack of concern or compassion on His part. All those who approached Him and came into His presence for healing were healed. Rich or poor, young or old, male or female, Jesus Christ healed them all.

Some Who Were Healed Were Represented by Others

We also find that some people who were healed were not physically present with Christ when they were delivered from their ailments. Indeed, on certain occasions, a friend or relative came to Jesus on behalf of someone else. Jesus then healed the sick person without that individual being in His presence. Among other things, this demonstrates that Jesus Christ is indeed “Lord of all.”

People Did Not Suffer Relapses of Their Healing

There are no examples in the four gospels of people who were healed by Jesus who contracted the same illness again. When Jesus Christ healed an individual the healing lasted. Blindness did not return, those who were lame did not become lame again, and those who were healed from deafness did not again lose their hearing. The people who were healed were genuinely healed!

Faith Was Not Always Present in the Person Who Was Healed

While some people exercised faith that Jesus would heal them from their ailment this was not always the case. Indeed, we do not always find those who were healed exercising faith in Christ.

An Infirmed Man at the Pool of Bethesda Is Healed

Scripture records the episode of Jesus healing an infirmed man at the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem. This man was waiting for the water in the pool to be agitated so that he could jump in and be healed. Jesus said to him,

“Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked (John 5:8, 9 ESV)

This particular individual did not know Jesus’ identity, neither did he asked Jesus to heal him. Jesus merely gave the command and the man walked.

Jesus Healed a Blind Man Who Was Unaware of His Identity

There is also an example of Jesus healing a man who had no idea of whom He was. After Jesus healed this man the religious leaders wanted to know who healed him. The man did not know who Jesus was. We read.

He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25 ESV).

This man was healed without being aware of Jesus’ identity as the long-awaited Messiah.

Jesus Healed One of Those Who Came to Arrest Him

At the time of Jesus’ arrest, Simon Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of one of the people participating with those taking Jesus into custody. Scripture says that Jesus healed him! We read of Jesus’ response to Peter’s swordplay.

But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him (Luke 22:51 ESV).

Obviously this man had no expectation that his severed ear would be healed! One can only imagine what he thought of this.

We can add to these examples three people whom Jesus brought back to life after they had died. Certainly those whom Jesus resuscitated from the dead, such as Jairus’ daughter, Lazarus, and the son of the widow of Nain, were not able to exercise any faith!

Jesus Did Not Heal Everybody

While Jesus healed multitudes of people during His public ministry He did not heal everyone which was sick. Indeed, though He healed everyone who personally came to Him, there were those in that land whom Jesus did not heal.

It is essential for us to realize that Jesus’ purpose was not to heal everyone. While God is certainly able to heal everyone, our ultimate healing will not take place in this life. Any healing we receive will be temporary at best.

Jesus Did Not Use Oil to Heal

In Jesus’ day, it was common to use oil when attempting to heal someone. The sick person would have oil placed upon them for the purposes of healing. We never find Jesus doing this. Indeed, we do not find Him needing any special devices to perform His healings. Usually, He just spoke the Word and the person was healed.

Jesus Did Not Seek Public Praise for His Healings

One important thing we discover from Jesus’ healing miracles is that He did not seek public praise or acclaim for the deeds which He did. For example, about Jesus healed a man of leprosy we find Him giving the man the following command.

And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them” (Matthew 8:4 ESV).

Instead of letting others know what Jesus did, this man was told to go directly to the priest to show him what Jesus did.

After Jesus healed two blind men, He gave them the following warning.

And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.” But they went away and spread his fame through all that district (Matthew 9:30-31 ESV).

These men were commanded to keep silent about their healing. Yet they went out and told everybody.

In another instance, we read the following.

Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. He warned them not to tell others about him (Matthew 12:15, 16 TNIV)

It is clear from these examples that Jesus did not seek the praise and acclaim of others when He performed His miracles of healing.

Jesus Did Not Heal for Financial Gain

In addition to this, we never find Jesus asking for anything from those whom He healed. Indeed, neither before nor after the healing did Jesus request or demand any monetary reward. Instead He freely healed the infirmed.

The Healings Were Secondary to the Preaching of the Word of God

While healings were a part of the ministry of Jesus Christ they were not the primary mission. Divine healing was always secondary to the preaching of the Word of God. In other words, healing was never the main focus of His ministry. The healings, along with the other miracles Jesus performed, were signs that God was with Him in a special way. Therefore, the message which Jesus preached was backed up with divine authority. Thus, the people were held responsible as to how they responded to Jesus’ message.

The Healings Did Not Cause Everyone to Believe

One final point must be stressed. The healings of Jesus did not cause everyone to place their faith in Him. In fact, Jesus pronounced judgment upon the inhabitants of certain cities which saw His miracles but still refused to believe. Matthew writes.

Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you” (Matthew 11:21-24 ESV).

This is an important point to realize. Healing miracles, in–and–of–themselves, will not necessarily cause people to believe in Jesus Christ.

Thus, we note the traits of the healings of Jesus as recorded in the four gospels. Those who claim to have the same gift as Jesus must exercise the gift that is consistent with the way in which they did it. Otherwise we should not consider it a genuine healing.

Healings, by Their Nature Are Temporary

There is something that must always be remembered about any divine healing. While the results may have been miraculous, and the particular disease never returned to the person, the healing was only temporary and superficial. All people who were healed eventually died.

Consequently, the healings in this life were never meant to be permanent. Nothing that has to do with these present bodies is permanent. It will not be until believers in Christ receive their glorified bodies that illness will be a thing of the past. A person may be cured from cancer but will die of heart failure. The point is that we will all die of something. Therefore, all healings must be seen in their proper perspective.

Modern “healers” Must Duplicate Jesus’ Healings

As mentioned, if indeed God is still granting the gift of healing to certain individuals, those who practice it must conform to the principles set down in Scripture. The Bible provides unmistakable characteristics of divine healing. Each of these characteristics must be in evidence for people to accept some modern healing as “divine.”

First and foremost, those who exercise the gift must be judged as to their testimony for Jesus Christ. If someone genuinely has the gift of healing they will draw attention to Jesus Christ and not to themselves. Spiritual gifts are given to further the work of the ministry of Jesus Christ – they are not to exalt some human being.

Unfortunately, there is much that goes on today under the name of divine healing that is nothing more than fraud. Some who claim to have the gift exercise it on a “limited basis.” In other words, they cannot do what He did.

Whenever someone claims to have the gift of healing, they should be judged according to the biblical standards and not be “blindly” followed. Moreover, one who heals with God’s power will have no fear of being investigated and have the healing documented.

These are some of the conclusions which we can draw from an examination of Jesus’ healings as found in the four gospels. It is important that we realize what Jesus Christ did in His healing ministry as well as holding accountable those who claim to have His “gift” of healing.

Summary – Question 6
What Do We Discover about the Various Reports of Healing Found in Jesus’ Ministry?

It is important that we have a proper understanding of what the totality of Scripture has to say about the subject of divine healing. To help us, it is necessary to look at the various reports of healing as recorded in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

When we encounter examples of Jesus’ healing in the four gospels we find a number of features that are common to all of them. We can sum them up as follows.

To begin with, we find that the healings of Jesus were all miraculous. It was not a matter of someone getting well through natural processes. These were supernatural healings.

Furthermore, the ailments were real, they were not imagined. In other words, these people were supernaturally healed of real diseases and infirmities. Thus, the healings recorded in the four gospels were genuine miracles.

We also find the healings which were performed were instantaneous. When Jesus healed the people were healed at that moment. It did not take hours, days, or weeks for them to experience their healing.

There are only three recorded exceptions to this. Twice Jesus told the ailing people to go and do something and they would be healed. They obeyed. Ten lepers were healed on their way to show the priest. A blind man received his sight after he washed his eyes in the pool of Siloam. In a third instance Jesus healed a blind man in Bethesda in a two-step process. Thus, for all intents and purposes, these healings were also instantaneous. In addition, when someone was healed by the Lord they were completely healed. There was no partial healing of the sick individual. The ailment was no longer present.

Also we never find Jesus refusing to heal someone because the case was too difficult. Each and every person who approached Him for healing was healed. In addition, nobody was ever turned away from Jesus because of their status in society. Jesus healed them all.

We also find that the healings were permanent. Thus, if a person was healed of blindness their blindness did not return. If they were healed of being deaf their deafness did not come back. Once healed, they remained healed. There was no relapse.

As we examine the healings recorded in the four gospels, we do not always find faith exercised by the person who was healed. In fact, there were several people who were healed which showed no faith whatsoever.

Furthermore, there were cases where someone requested healing from Jesus on behalf of a sick person. Thus, the person with the ailment was not physically present. The sick person was then healed without Jesus being in their presence. This truly illustrates that Jesus is Lord of all!

There is also the biblical truth that it was not God’s intention to heal everyone. While Jesus healed everyone which was brought to Him, there were many people in that land who were not healed.

Finally, and most important, healings were always secondary to the preaching of the Word of God. The healing miracles were signs which pointed to Jesus being the genuine Messiah. In other words, they were not the main reason as to why He came to this earth.

These are the different things we discover about healings in the four gospels. For someone today to claim to have the same gift of healing as Jesus they must exhibit the same characteristics. Obviously there is nobody who can do this.

It also must be remembered that any healing we, or anyone else, experiences is only temporary. These bodies that we live in are not meant to last forever. Indeed, those who Jesus healed eventually died as we will all eventually die. Therefore, any healing which takes place in this life is only for a short period of time.

Believers do have the wonderful promise of a new body that is free from disease and weakness. This promise will only be realized in the next life, not this one. Consequently, we must always place the present state of our physical health in proper perspective.

Did Jesus Christ Miraculously Heal the Sick? ← Prior Section
What Methods Did Jesus Use to Heal the Sick? Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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