Jesus Heals

When Jesus announced, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (4:17), He backed up this declaration with words and with deeds. He taught about the life of the kingdom, and He demonstrated the power of the kingdom, and thus added credence to His claim to be the coming King, the Messiah. The healing miracles of Jesus reveal both His pity and His power. He cares for the welfare of those whom He has made, and He is able to deliver them from all their troubles. We must avoid two errors when thinking about the healing work of Jesus today. On the one hand, we can not believe all – or even most – of the extravagant, usually exaggerated, often self-promoting, and extremely profitable advertisement of widespread healing by televangelists and itinerant ministers of the “health and wealth” message. Widespread fraud and deception mar these ministries, which are often also marked by luxurious lifestyles and sloppy accounting (to put it kindly). Healings resulting from prayer are considered “miraculous” precisely because they are relatively rare displays of God’s creative and redemptive power. On the other hand, we should not fall into the trap of “Christian Deism” that restricts the wonder-working power of God to the age of Christ and the Apostles. Not only does this sort of theology rest upon very shaky exegesis, but it defies the experience of untold believers around the world and throughout the ages. This writer has personally witnessed medically-attested miracles of healing through prayer. Jesus heals today. Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law not in order to draw attention to Himself, or to attract donors, but that He might show His love for Peter and for her. She obviously felt that love, for after her recovery, she “arose and served them.” That’s also a reminder to those of us who enjoy good health: Our lives belong to God, who calls us to love Him and those around us. May we all devote ourselves to the health and welfare of others, and not to our own pleasure, prestige, or profit!