As I’ve mulled over what the Bible teaches about healing over the years, I see two reasons why Jesus healed.
The healing and miracles he performed were proof that he was the Messiah. They were his calling card. The prophets foretold that the Messiah would come healing blind eyes and unstopping deaf ears and making the lame walk (Isaiah 35:5-6), and wouldn’t you know, those were the exact miracles that Jesus did.
And secondly, the healing and miracles he performed were a foreshadowing of the blessings that await us all in God’s eternal kingdom when God wipes away every tear, and “there shall be neither mourning or crying or pain” (Rev.21:4).
The Bible uses a special word to describe Jesus’ healings and miracles: they were signs. What’s a sign? It’s a pointer to something. A foreshadowing of something good to come.
So with that in mind, right there we know for a fact that healing on this side of heaven will come in ways that will seem very peculiar and random to most observers. This ailment over here might vanish when we talk to God about it, and this ailment over here might not. In which case, we continue to talk to God about it, but we shift in our prayers by asking God to reveal his purpose and glory through this pain that doesn’t go away.
There might be all sorts of reasons why God allows us to feel pain. Pain is God’s megaphone, C.S. Lewis said.
Maybe we’re not taking care of ourselves properly, and God’s not going to make up for our refusal to exercise wisdom. Maybe he wants to instill in us empathy for others who are suffering as we are. Some of the most powerful ministries on earth were borne out of suffering. Maybe he’s chiseling away on our inner character, trying to burn sinful attitudes and thoughts out of us.
Pain is God’s megaphone, C.S. Lewis said.
Besides the fact (and I don’t want to sound crass) that we’re all going to die, and there’s just no easy way to go about crossing that line without pain. The 18th century evangelist John Wesley said of the early Methodists, “Our people die well.” A curious but powerful testimony to the hope the gospel brings.
Sad to say, but too many modern believers don’t do aging well, let alone death. Paul insisted that there should be something that stands out in the way Christians exit this life. “We grieve, but not as people who have no hope.” (1 Thess.4:13). Every Christian funeral should somehow show evidence of the hope and joy that eternity will bring.
A well-known, well-loved pastor was found to be with stage-4 cancer. When he announced it to his church, he said, “I’ve taught you for years how to live. I’m now going to teach you how to die.”
Here’s one more thought about healing to consider: healing in the Bible is never confined solely to the body.
The ancient Hebrew would be befuddled by our 21st century pursuit of painlessness and physical health at the expense of pursuing spiritual health or emotional health. Physically, we’re the healthiest, fittest, longest-living generation the earth has known. But the ancient Jew would look at the brokenness in our homes, the violence in our streets, the immorality of our culture, the apathy in our churches, and he would say, “Folks you are sick. You are not healthy. You have no shalom within you.”
Healing in the Bible is never confined solely to the body.
This is why when a paralyzed man was brought before Jesus by his friends, the first words out of Jesus’ mouth were, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” We read the story and we want to say, “Oh come on Jesus! Don’t tease him. You know he didn’t come for forgiveness!”
But it was the most loving thing Jesus could have said to him. He spoke to the area of greatest healing that this man needed – to have his sins forgiven that he might have peace in his soul with God. For what good is it to have a young, healthy body attached to a diseased soul? (There are plenty of those in Hollywood, and I wouldn’t trade with them for all their money, fame and beauty.)
Some of you reading this right now are so obsessed with your body – keeping it free from danger and disease – but you hardly give any thought at all to the condition of your soul, or your relationships, or your emotions. If that’s you, you’re not healthy, my friend, no matter how much you can benchpress, or how many heads you turn as you walk down the street.
You need healing. You need Jesus.