Last week, we learned that Jesus’ death on the Cross crushed the curse of our sickness and illnesses. As children of God, we can therefore experience God’s divine healing.
But that might still leave doubts and questions in our mind like whether we are eligible to receive God’s healing, what if we don’t get healed etc. Today, we are going to answer some of those questions by focusing on the healing ministry of Jesus Himself.
THE WILL OF GOD
‘Behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”
The leper was absolutely certain that Jesus was able and powerful to heal. But he had an interesting question. He asked whether Jesus would be willing to heal him.
That’s not a strange question. Today, many Christians also have the same question. We all know that our God is able to deliver, heal and set us free. But we all wonder whether it is God’s will to heal us. It is this single, niggling question that often hinders us from receiving healing.
You might have seen people pray religious prayers saying that if it is not God’s will to heal the sick person then it is alright. Sadly, such prayers reflect a faithless and unbelieving heart.
God expects us to have a heart that trusts in Him and knows His will. We can’t give excuses saying that we don’t know God’s will because God expects us to find it out.
Ephesians 5:17 says, ‘Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is’. Once we understand it, we need to believe it, pray and live accordingly. Romans 12:2 says, ‘Do not be conformed to this worldbut be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God’.
Of course, there are certain matters like marriage, career etc. where we might need to read God’s Word, pray and seek counsel of wise, godly people because it is not very easy to discern God’s will in such matters. But there are many other instances where God’s will is plainly written in His Word. For example – praying constantly. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says – ‘in everything give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you in Christ Jesus’.We don’t need to rack our heads to know if that is God’s will or not. His Word says that in all circumstances we must pray giving thanks to God.
Now when it comes to healing, God’s Word is abundantly clear. We can read His Word and understand what His will is on that subject. That’s what we are going to look at next.
JESUS’ RESPONSE TO THE LEPER AND TO US
When the leper asked Jesus whether He was willing to heal Him, Jesus responded uniquely. The Bible says that Jesus reached out and touched him. Now, it must be noted that lepers especially in those days were kept at arm’s-length. They were not allowed to mingle and live in society because people considered leprosy to be contagious. They were social outcasts who had to call out that they were unclean in case they even crossed paths with others. People treated them with utmost disrespect!
In such a context, Jesus, instead of backing away from him, reached out and touched the leper. Then He opened His mouth and said three precious words –‘I am willing’. Immediately, the man was cleansed of his leprosy!
Those three wonderful words – ‘I am willing’ were not limited to that period. Jesus says it to us too today. Yes, healing is His will.
JESUS’ REFLECTION OF THE FATHER
In fact, it is not only His will, it is the will of the Father too. Jesus constantly reflected His Father through His life on earth. Let me show you from the Bible the truth of this statement.
- When Philip once asked Him to reveal the Father to them, Jesus said in John 14:9-10, ‘have I been with you so long Philip and you still do not know me?Do you not believe I am in the father and the father is in me? The words that I say to youI do not speak on my own authority. But the Father who dwells in me does his works’.
- In John 12:49-50, Jesus says, ‘ForI have not spoken on my own authority but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak’.And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”
- Hebrews 1:1 and 3 say, ‘Long ago, at many times andin many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature’.
Therefore, we can be confident that Jesus’ will is the same as that of God the Father concerning healing.
RESULT-BASED ASSUMPTION OF GOD’S WILL
Sadly, many people wrongly blame God for all the bad things in life. They look at the outcome or the result and then work backwards to say whether it was God’s will or not. So to find out whether it was the will of God to heal someone, the say that we must look at the end result. If the person was healed, then we must infer that it was God’s will to heal that person; if the person was not healed, then we must infer that it was not God’s will to heal that person.
But we cannot look at the end result to find out God’s will. For example – we can’t blame God for an accident that occurs on the road. There could be numerous reasons like the driver might have slept off or not followed the rules or because the other driver of the oncoming car was intoxicated and rammed into this vehicle or there was poor lighting on the road that did not clearly show a road construction. It is wrong to blame God and write it off as His will by looking at the results.
Let me give you another example. There are many people that do not get saved. Now, can we say that the few who do become followers of Jesus were saved because they were included in God’s plan and the others who weren’t saved were not part of God’s will? No. God’s will is for all mankind to receive salvation but there are people who willfully reject Him.
Or take one more example. There are many Christians who live in victory over sin. But there are many others who lead rebellious and sinful lives. We can’t look at this situation and say that therefore it must be God’s will for some to live in victory over sin and for someto live in sin.
The results don’t decide what the will of God is. It is the Word of God that decides His will.
IS HEALING FOR ALL?
Another doubt that people have is whether healing is God’s will for just a few people or for all. Well, the answer is that healing is available for all. Let me show you some biblical passages in support of this.
- Matthew 4:23-24 says, ‘And he went throughout all Galilee,teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every’disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout allSyria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them’. This passage says that Jesus healed all the sick people that were brought to Him from across the region. He healed every disease and affliction with the exception of none.
- Matthew 8:16says, ‘That evening they brought to him many who wereoppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick’. Again this passage says that Jesus healed all who were sick.
- Matthew 12:15 says, ‘Jesus, aware of this,withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all’. The word ‘many’ referred to here is not a small crowd. It’s a big crowd that probably consisted of thousands of people. He healed every single sick person in their midst!
- Mark 6:53 – 56 says, ‘When they had crossed over, they came to land atGennesaret and moored to the shore. And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplacesand implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched itwere made well’.Thousands of people thronged to Him and brought their sick ones and placed them in the market places. There must have been all kinds of diseases and sicknesses. Jesus’ allowed them to touch Him and when they did so, they were all instantly healed.
- Luke 4:40 says, ‘When the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, andhe laid his hands on every one of them and healed them’. Even though it was the end of the day and Jesus must have been tired, He did not turn away the people who came to Him. He laid His hands on them and healed every one of them.
- Luke 6:17-19 says, ‘Andhe came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowdsought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all’. Great crowds flocked around Jesus. Everybody wanted healing. The Bible says that the power came out of Him and every sick and unwell person in that milling crowd was healed.
DID JESUS DO SELECTIVE HEALING?
Now in all of these passages we do not find any place where Jesus healed people selectively. He did not pull out a few and heal them and say to the rest that it was not His will to heal them because He wanted to teach them suffering or how to glorify God or that it was not the right time for healing. No. The Bible says that Jesus healed them all. And that is His will today too, for all to be healed.
DID HEALING STOP WITH JESUS ASCENSION?
Now if you think that healing stopped after Jesus ascended into Heaven, let me draw your attention to Acts 5:12-16. It says, ‘Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women. They carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spiritsand they were all healed’.
The early church thrived with the power of Jesus even after His ascension. Many miraculous signs and wonders were done by the apostles. Many sick people that were brought to them were healed of their diseases. The same power that Jesus had while He lived on the earth continues to exist today through the Holy Spirit. He is able and willing to heal us even today just like those days of the Gospel.
THEN WHY IS IT NOT WORKING TODAY?
So then it brings us to the next important question. Why does healing not happen anymore? The simple answer to that is – lack of faith.
Just because it is God’s will to heal everyone or that the Holy Spirit is present doesn’t mean we can be healed. Healing cannot happen if there is no accompanying faith.
In fact, Jesus Himself could not heal people in one particular situation. It was not because He wasn’t powerful, but because the people’s hearts were hardened. Jesus went to His hometown of Nazareth where the people refused to believe Him. Mark 6:5,6 says, ‘And he could do no mighty work thereexcept that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief’.
Therefore, unless we have a trusting and faith filled heart, healing cannot occur. We see this demonstrated in the lives of the Israelites when they ate the Passover lamb with faith. As a result, none of them stumbled or were weak when they left Egypt. Similarly, in many Gospel stories we read Jesus directly attributing people’s healing to their faith (almost 10 of them) and some others (6 of them) where even though there is no explicit mention, we can see that healing happened only because of their faith.
WHAT KINDS OF PEOPLE WERE HEALED BY JESUS?
Those with faith.
The people who got healed in Jesus’ ministry are not the people who stayed at home and wondered about God’s will. They were the ones who stood up against obstacles, persevered and reached out in faith to Jesus for their healing. Let me show you three such people.
- THE PARALYTIC
Mark 2:3-12 tells the story of the paralytic man who was carried to Jesus by his friends. There was a big crowd in the house in Capernaum that Jesus was present in. The paralytic was brought there by his friends but they quickly realized that they couldn’t get past the crowd. They didn’t take that situation to mean that it was not God’s will to heal him. Instead of dejectedly returning home, his friends climbed up to the roof of the house, cleared the tiles on the roof and lowered their paralyzed friend on his bed through the opening. The man was determined not to leave the place until Jesus healed him. He wasn’t deterred by the hindrances or safety for his life. He was willing to face all odds. Of course, Jesus surely knew all that had transpired and He was waiting for them to demonstrate their faith. Therefore we hear the glorious words of Jesus that said – ‘Your sins are forgiven. Get up, take your bed and walk’. When the man and his friends’ demonstrated faith, Jesus reached out and healed him.
- BLIND BARTIMAEUS
Mark 10:46-52 describes Bartimaeus’ story. Jesus and His disciples were on the way from Jericho to Jerusalem. In a week’s time, Jesus would be crucified on the Cross. Verse 46 says, ‘they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd..’ A great crowd was following Jesus. Along the roadside sat blind Bartimaeus. Verse 47 says, ‘And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”Bartimaeus’ kept crying out to Jesus so much so that people began to get annoyed and started rebuking him to be silent. But he shouted out all the more. Jesus was walking farther and farther away. But he was determined to be heard by Jesus. Then Jesus stops, turns around and calls for him. Overjoyed, Bartimaeus leapt up from the ground, shook off his cloak (that was probably his only source of protection from the harsh weather and that was also his alms purse) and ran to Jesus. Jesus calmly asked him what he wanted Him to do. Jesus of course knew the answer but He wanted to hear it from Bartimaeus’ mouth. The man said that he wanted his eyesight. And Jesus replied – Go!your faith has made you well.
Often we are discouraged by our circumstances and delayed answer to prayers. But Jesus wants us to persevere in our faith and reach out to Him. He will heal us.
- THE BLEEDING WOMAN
Remember the woman with the issue of blood. Maybe there were other women in similar conditions. Such women were ostracized and banned from coming into contact with anybody. Leviticus 15 lists out the rules for such a situation. But this woman ignored all those social taboos, went out in the crowd and crept up to Jesus and touched his robe believing that she would be made well. Jesus acknowledgedher faith and healed her.
Therefore, the point of it all is that it indeed God’s will to heal us. There might be obstacles and hindrances that come out way. Instead of getting dejected, let us cry out all the more like Bartimaeus saying, ‘Son of David! Have mercy on me!As we exercise our faith, God will bring us our healing.