10 Things You should Know about the Healing Ministry of Jesus
Today we turn our attention to 10 features of the healing ministry of Jesus.
1. Jesus healed hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Contrary to those who say that Jesus healed only a few dozen, the gospels indicate that he healed multitudes. Healing was a common feature of his earthly ministry. Healing was not a secondary or subsidiary activity for him. Consider this one description of his healing ministry in Matthew 4:23-24,
“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 all Syria, 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” (Matthew 4:23-24).
2. Aside from the raising of Lazarus from the dead, there is not a single instance in the gospels where Jesus directly prays for the healing of the sick. Whereas prayer certainly occurs before ministering to the sick, the sick themselves are never prayed for. Rather, the dead are commanded to rise (Mark 5:41-42; Luke 7:14-15; John 11:43-44), the lame are commanded to get up (John 5:8-9; Mark 2:11), the man with the shriveled hand is commanded to stretch it out (Matt. 12:9-13), the ears of the deaf mute are commanded to be opened (Mark 7:31-35), the leper is commanded to be cleansed (Matt. 8:1-3), and before healing the crippled woman Jesus announces to her, "woman, you are freed from your disability" (Luke 13:10-16).
3. No one Jesus touched was left unhealed. No one who touched Jesus desiring healing was unhealed (Matt. 14:34-36). According to Matthew 8:16, he "healed all who were ill." This tells us a great deal about God’s heart or disposition when it comes to healing his people. Whereas we cannot say it is always God’s will to heal, we can assuredly say that he takes great delight in it. He enjoys it. He overflows in abundant goodness for the sake of his children. See especially Luke 11:9-13.
4. Related to the previous point is the fact virtually all of Jesus' healings were motivated by compassion. See Matt. 14:14; 20:34; Mark 1:41; 9:22; Luke 7:13-15. That compassion and not fame was his motivation is evident from his instructions in Mark 5:43 that no one be told what had happened. In other words, he didn't do it to draw attention to himself, but because he cared deeply for the grief of the family.
5. Jesus portrayed healing not simply as a sign that the kingdom was coming but as an essential element in the kingdom. In other words, the kingdom of God, in part, consists of deliverance from demonic spirits and healing from physical disease (Luke 9:2; 10:8-9). Healing was neither a gimmick to gather crowds nor a confirmation that the kingdom was present. Healing IS the presence of the kingdom!
6. Jesus self-consciously healed people by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:14-21; Matt. 12:22-28). Jesus’ dependence on the Holy Spirit for all that he did and taught is confirmed repeatedly in Scripture (see Luke 4:1-2, 14-15, 16-19; 5:17; John 3:34-35; Acts 10:38 ). The reason this is important for us to remember is that the Holy Spirit in Jesus is the Holy Spirit in us! See especially John 20:21-23.
7. Most often his healings were instantaneous, but on at least one occasion it was partial and gradual (Mark 8:22-26). If nothing else this is a reminder that we must persevere in prayer. Simply because healing does not come instantaneously or comprehensively or permanently does not mean we should give up. Pray without ceasing!
8. Jesus' healings were subject to two factors: (1) the presence or absence of faith (Matt. 13:53-58; Mark 6:5-6; Matt. 13:53-58; 8:1-3), and (2) the purpose of his heavenly Father (John 5:19). As for faith, if you struggle to believe, let others exercise faith on your behalf (see Mark 2). This does not necessarily mean that the presence of faith will guarantee healing or that the absence of healing proves the absence of faith.
9. Jesus interpreted many physical afflictions as the work of Satan (Luke 13:10-17; Acts 10:38; Matt. 4:24 [he "heals" a demoniac]; 8:16-17; 17:18; Mark 9:14-29 [esp. v. 25]; Luke 9:42). Deliverance is thus often a prelude to and necessary part of physical healing. He also identified some sickness as unrelated to personal sin (John 9:1ff.) and at other times as directly caused by sin (Mark 2:1-12; John 5:14).
10. Jesus regularly healed the sick by the laying on of hands. “Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them” (Luke 4:40; see also Matt. 8:15; 9:25; 9:29; 19:13-15).