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Healing


HEALING

Jesus healed the sick for several reasons:

1. Compassion for the suffering: Jesus healed all the sick who approached him or whom others brought to him. These he did out of compassion for them. Matthew reports, when Jesus “saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick” (Mt 14:14). When two blind men sought his help, “Moved with pity, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him” (Mt 20:34). Once a leper begged Jesus to heal him. “Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand” and even touched him out of compassion which others would never dare to do those days. The leprosy left him immediately (Mk 1:40-42). Jesus never declined the request for healing from anyone.

Jesus even healed the sick without being asked for healing by them. When Jesus was in Jerusalem at a pool called Bethesda, he asked a man ill for 38 years, “Do you want to be well?” (Jn 5:1-6) and healed him. Peter followed his master’s example in healing a man crippled from birth begging at “the Beautiful Gate” in the Temple. When he asked for alms from Peter and John, Peter cured the man (Acts 3:1-10). Since Jesus had the power for healing, he made use of it because of his compassion for the distressed people.

2. To Glorify God: Jesus performed miracles, including healing the sick, to reveal his glory or to glorify his Father. After describing the first miracle of Jesus, John writes, “Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him” (Jn 2:11). “The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the deformed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind able to see, and they glorified the God of Israel” (Mt 15:31). When Jesus healed a paralytic, the crowds “were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to human beings” (Mt 9:8).

3. Messianic revelation: One identifying feature of the Messiah was his power to heal the sick as Isaiah had prophesied. “Then the eyes of the blind shall see, and the ears of the deaf be opened; Then the lame shall leap like a stag, and the mute tongue sing for joy” (Isa 35:5-6). “On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a scroll; and out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see” (Isa 29:18). Matthew documented, “He drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick, to fulfil what had been said by Isaiah the prophet: ‘He took away our infirmities and bore our diseases’” (Mt 8:16-17).

When John the Baptist sent his disciples to Jesus asking, “‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’ Jesus said to them in reply, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them’” (Mt 11:3-6).

Some Jews asked Jesus, “‘How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’ Jesus answered them, ‘I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me … If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father” (Jn 10:24-38). Thus, Jesus revealed himself as the Messiah through his actions of healing and Proclamation of the Good News (Isa 61:1-2).

4. To liberate the sick from the bondage of evil: Sickness came as an outcome of original sin. People might suffer also because of their own mistakes or of others. The evil in the world also causes sickness. According to Peter, Jesus healed “all those oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38). Jesus healed many by casting out demons. The sickness is even personified when Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law. “He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her” (Lk 4:39). The ultimate destruction and elimination of the evil will happen at his Second Coming.

Jesus let his disciples heal the sick in his name for the same reasons.

HEALING THE SICK BY THE APOSTLES

When Jesus sent out the 12 apostles, he asked them to heal the sick while proclaiming the kingdom of God to them (Lk 9:2). Matthew gives more details of the powers Jesus gave to the 12 – “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give” (Mt 10:8). Mark cites the impact of the ministry of the 12. “So they went off and preached repentance. They drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them” (Mk 6:13). The apostles and the other disciples worked miracles in the name of Jesus to help the less fortunate. That made their listeners hospitable to them, trust in their message, and eagerly wait to welcome Jesus, in whose name they did the wonders.

 


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