I would like to present the topic of healing under two main categories. The first category is “Response Generated”. The second category is “Longevity”.
Many healings are recorded in the Bible. Some of these were performed by the Old Testament prophets, some by the Apostles, some the disciples of Jesus and some by Jesus.
As far as the common man is concerned, all these healings were spectacular, super-natural and not an everyday event.
Yet, in each instance, we can see a distinction in the response of the audience. Except in the pagan Malta, no one attributed the works of any one apart from Jesus to – the Christ, the Messiah or God himself. The work of Jesus seemed to be so spectacular to the Jewish audience that they wondered “Could he be the one?” They could not reconcile his deeds to anything but either the Christ or Beelzebub. It was not like any earlier prophet. The only prophets that came close to what Jesus did were Elijah and Elisha. Those two prophets had set the pace of what Jesus would look like. That is why there was talk about Elijah returned from the dead.
Whereas the Apostles also performed healings. But the Jews did not look at them and say “Could he be the one?” The response was almost always – “These are messengers of God; let’s listen to them.”
The response of the audience to Jesus was distinct from their response to his apostles or even to the Old Testament prophets. This means that what Jesus did was unique and not repeatable. Matthew makes this clear in his Gospel in chapters 8 and 9 describing how Jesus performed miracles and healings of such extraordinary nature that people marveled. They were in disbelief.
Hence, we must recognize that there is a distinction when it comes to healings. There are those that are Jesus level works and everyone else level works.
Even today where the Gospel is proclaimed in regions where Jesus is not known, we must expect that God would accompany the message of the Gospel with signs and wonders for the sake of attesting the preachers as messengers of God. We must pray for such signs and wonders. In this we must also recognize that this kind of healings is not for the church. They have a different purpose altogether. They are to attest the messenger! Thus we do not see these in the life of believers and indeed must not. Can a believer then expect any healing from God? Yes, I will address that in a bit. But those healings do not fall under the category of “Response Generated”.
How long a healing lasts is an important category that we must consider. This point does make a big difference in all that we talk about concerning healing.
The woman with the issue of blood was healed. But she is not still hanging around in Israel telling people about Jesus. The lame man at Solomon’s porch from Acts 3 is still not around. They were healed – but their healing was not complete. It was a meant to be a sign and wonder. The healing served it’s purpose and that was it. It was a work of God no doubt but was not a result of the atonement.
When the work of atonement is applied to our bodies, it no longer remains corrupt, it does not fall prey to illnesses, it will not decay. This work of healing will happen on that glorious day when Jesus return for us.
Until that day we will see cancer healings and relapses.
Therefore even a Christian can pray for healing. Indeed we do receive gifts of healings in the life of the church, but we cannot expect to live on… As a Christian, we must remember that this world is not our home. We are here for a while. And while we are on this journey we sometimes receive God’s gracious gift of healing. It is not our right to have. The healing that we receive is as a result of God’s kindness and providence and not the work of the Cross. At the cross Jesus did an eternal work in every sphere of its action.
Thus what we see in our times is not a Jesus level healing nor the work of the atonement. We witness signs and wonders in the lives of unbelievers and we witness God’s kindness in the lives of the saints.
One of the reason there is much confusion on healings is because many faith-healers teach that as a Christian no illness should prevail in a Christian. Another reason is that there are those who say that healings no longer occur. Both positions are incorrect. My intention in this post is not to disprove those positions. They are wrong and can be easily argued against.
My intention is to show us that as a Christian we must not be swayed from our faith when we do not see a loved one or ourselves healed. At the same time we should not shy away from seeking healing for others or ourselves from God.
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