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Don Stewart :: What Do We Learn from the Healing Miracles of Jesus' Disciples Which Are Found in the Four Gospels?

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What Do We Learn from the Healing Miracles of Jesus’ Disciples Which Are Found in the Four Gospels?

Divine Healing – Question 10

The four gospels contain a snapshot of the events in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Among other things, we discover that Jesus had the ability to supernaturally heal the sick and the infirmed. There is no doubt whatsoever that Jesus Christ miraculously healed.

We also find that Jesus gave this same healing ability to certain of His immediate disciples, the Twelve as well as to a group of “Seventy,” or the “Seventy-two.” These were selected individuals whom He sent out to proclaim His message to the people of Israel. They were to announce that God’s kingdom had arrived in the presence of the King; Jesus of Nazareth. From an examination of the four gospels, we can make the following observations about the unique ability given to them.

Jesus Sent Out the Twelve with Ability to Heal

Matthew, the writer of the first gospel, records Jesus sending out the Twelve with the capability to perform miracles. This included the supernatural ability to heal the sick. In giving them instructions, Jesus specified a number of sicknesses and infirmities which these men would have authority over. We read.

And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give (Matthew 10:1, 5-8 NKJV).

Note that they were only to go to the people of Israel. The purpose was to announce to them that their Messiah had arrived. It would be later that the message of Jesus would go out to the Gentiles or non-Jews.

We find that in this particular instance, Jesus gave this select group of men the power to heal any disease as well as authority over the supernatural realm of demonic spirits. In other words, they possessed the same power and authority which He had in both the natural and the supernatural realm.

Jesus Sent Out the Seventy (Seventy-Two) with Healing Power

Luke records Jesus later sending out a larger group of disciples with His message that the kingdom of God had arrived. This group consisted of seventy or seventy-two disciples. They were to go, two by two, to represent Him to the people of the land of Israel. In doing so, Jesus did not restrict their preaching to the Jews as He had done when He sent out the Twelve.

The reason as to why we say seventy or seventy two has to do with variations which are found in the New Testament manuscripts at this point. Some of them read seventy while others read seventy-two. For convenience sake we will refer to them as the “Seventy” in this question.

Whatever the case may be, we find that these particular individuals were commissioned in a manner which was similar to the Twelve. Jesus sent them out as follows.

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.’.... Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name” (Luke 17:1, 9, 17 NKJV).

These seventy disciples returned rejoicing. Indeed, they gave testimony of Jesus’ miraculous power working through them. Even the demonic spirits obeyed their commands.

Observations on the Ability of Jesus’ Disciples to Heal

We can make a couple of observations from the miracles of healing performed by “the Twelve” and “the Seventy.”

They Could Heal Every Disease and Infirmity

First, we find that these men had authority over every disease and infirmity which afflicted the people whom they came into contact. In fact, the Bible specifically says that they authority over any and all afflictions. There were no exceptions to this. In other words, they exhibited the same authority, the same power, as Jesus in their ability to heal. This included authority over the demonic as well over all physical ailments. In other words, during this particular time, they could do what He did in the realm of miraculous healing.

The Healings Were to Confirm the Message of Jesus

The miracles which these people performed, including the healings, were a means to an end. Indeed, they were given as signs to confirm the message that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah. Therefore, the healings were to be viewed in a larger context. Indeed, the healing miracles in the life and ministry of Jesus, as well as in the rest of Scripture, were always done with a larger purpose in mind. This was to proclaim God’s truth to a world which so desperately needs to hear it.

In sum, the healings performed by those whom Jesus sent out show that His power extended to these people which He chose to represent Him. Jesus had this authority and He had the power to give this authority to those whom He had chosen. By doing this, Jesus gave further evidence that He is indeed Lord over all!

Summary – Question 10
What Do We Learn from the Healing Miracles of Jesus’ Disciples Which Are Found in the Four Gospels?

Among the miracles Jesus Christ performed was that of supernaturally healing the sick. Yet it was not only Jesus who healed the sick during His time upon the earth, we also find that He gave this same miracle-working power to certain of His earthly disciples. The gospels record that on two separate occasions the Lord sent out a select group of men to proclaim His message to the people of Israel. Each time their message was accompanied with miracles of healing.

On one occasion it was the Twelve which was sent out to proclaim His message. They were distinctly told to go only to the people of Israel. Since Jesus was first and foremost the promised Messiah of Israel these people needed to know that their long-awaited Savior had indeed arrived.

In another instance, it was seventy disciples, or seventy-two disciples, which were sent out “two by two” to go to the people of Israel. On this occasion, there were no restrictions given as to whom they were to preach.

On each of these occasions, these select disciples were given miraculous power which confirmed the truth of the message that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah. This included the ability to heal the sick.

We find that they, like Jesus, could heal any disease they were confronted with. Nothing was too difficult for them. Indeed, they had been given authority over every disease and every unclean spirit. Their power was comprehensive. It included the realm of the visible as well as the unseen realm.

While they were able to do these miraculous things, the healing miracles were merely a means to an end. It was the message of Jesus Christ, not the miracles, which were of the utmost importance. The miracles pointed to a greater truth; the Messiah had arrived.

Consequently, it was Jesus’ Person as well as His message which was stressed. Thus, the miracles, including those of healing, must always be viewed in this light. The supernatural healings of the sick and the infirmed, whenever they are recorded in Scripture, always point to a greater truth. Indeed, it is the message, not the miracle, which is highlighted.

What Was the Response of the People of Jesus' Day to His Healings? ← Prior Section
What Do We Learn from the Healing Miracles of Jesus' Disciples Which Are Found in the Book of Acts? 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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