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A. The stories of Christ's healings are favorites for Christians as demonstrations of God's power and compassion.
B. But these stories also raise a lot of questions:
1. Why did He just heal those people who came to Him in Palestine?
2. Why didn't Jesus heal all the sickness in the world?
3. Why do people get sick?
4. Why does He allow people, even Christians, to suffer horrendous pain and torture today?
a. Is it because God has only a limited amount of mercy?
b. Is it because He cared more about the people who lived in Palestine in the first century more than He cared about people who lived earlier or elsewhere or later?
5. Does God still heal people today?
6. And why doesn't He heal everyone today?
II. Jesus the healer
A. Matthew 4:23-24 “Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them.” (Cf. Matthew 9:35)
B. Matt.15:30-31 “And large crowds came to Him, bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them. So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.”
C. Mark 6:56 “Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured.”
D. Many kinds of healing
1. Blind to see
2. Deaf to hear
3. Lame to walk
4. Cleansed lepers
5. Cured fevers
6. Stopped a hemorrhage
7. Restored a withered hand
8. Replaced a cut off ear
9. Many unspecified healings
10. From a distance
11. Two stages twice
12. Normally immediate and direct
III. Jesus and sickness
A. Surprisingly even Jesus did not have constant ability to heal.
1. He didn't heal anyone in the first 30 years of his life, though he must have seen much sickness and probably even death (see John 2:11).
2. In Luke 5:17 we are told that "One day He was teaching...and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing." This implies that the power of the Lord to heal was not always present with Him.
3. In fact, we are told in Mark 6:5 that Jesus couldn't perform miracles at one point : "He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them."
B. And yet it is also clear that Jesus is sovereign over sickness and health.
1. He healed from afar. He healed people He never saw or met. He healed unbelievers (e.g. the nine lepers)
2. This only makes sense in light of the rest of Scripture. Disease is ordained of God. He is the One who cursed this earth in response to man's sin, resulting in many physical effects including disease:
a. The Lord said to Moses, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” (Exod.4:11)
b. “It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal.” (Deut.32:39)
c. See also Rom.8:20; 2Kg.15:5.
d. Ultimately He is behind everything, including sickness.
3. Even now Jesus could heal everyone in the world right now with the snap of His fingers. In fact, He could have prevented them from becoming sick in the first place.
C. Though we must also recognize that Satan is often spoken of as being behind sickness. And he is. God has given Satan permission to wreak havoc upon this creation, but only so far as God deems is useful for His purposes.
D. The fact is it is not His will that everyone be healed. He has a purpose for sickness and a purpose for healing. Healing occurs when and only when He wills it.
IV. Well, if God has a purpose, for sickness, what is it?
A. To reflect the sickness of the soul (sickness, deformity, paralysis and blindness, etc. are to the body as sin is to the soul)
1. All the things that go wrong with the human body: this is like sin.
2. They picture what man is like inside.
3. Frequently, Jesus uses sickness as an analogy to sin: "It is not those who are healthy who need the doctor but those who are sick."
B. It is also a picture and a foreshadowing of death (body is decaying, slowly dying), a reminder to man that he is mortal, that death is inevitably going to come.
C. Being a part of God's curse upon man, it is intended to drive man to God, to humble man before God, to impress upon him his weakness and his doom.
D. And so that God could glorify Himself in healing.
V. The theology of healing
A. Like all of God's miracles, Christ's healings were not only are signs of His power over creation, they also picture something, they send a message.
B. They picture salvation, which is a far greater miracle than mere physical healing.
1. Jesus made the blind man see, He made the deaf hear, He made the lame walk.
2. Just as Jesus heals every kind of bodily sickness so Jesus heals every type of sickness of soul: the worst of men have had their lives restored by Jesus. In fact, God prefers to heal those who are the sickest of soul so that He is most glorified. Jesus came to heal those who know they are sick.
3. Sometimes the NT even uses the word save to refer to a healing (Mk. 5:23, Lk. 7:3; 8:36).
C. Anticipating the final and ultimate healing on the last day.
1. Turning back the curse. Ever since the garden of Eden men had groaned under the grip of God's curse. Because of the curse the whole creation is sick and deformed.
2. The healings of Jesus declare: Now the One has come who can turn back the curse. Now the One has come who will put an end to death, who will turn death into life.
3. The coming of the kingdom, the inauguration of the last days
4. The introduction of the new creation
a. Rev.21:3-4 “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
5. We will have bodies which don’t grow old or get sick or get tired or hungry.
6. There is complete physical deliverance coming. But not today. Even if He heals today, it will only be short term. None of us is going to live in this same body forever.
7. You can pray everyday for safety and health, but — eventually at least — God’s not going to answer your prayer.
A. We’re broken, but there’s a Healer!
1. “There is a balm in Gilead, to make the wounded whole, There is a balm in Gilead, to heal the sin-sick soul.”
2. "great multitudes followed Him"
a. Christ is big enough to offer salvation and restoration to many and the power of His grace will be demonstrated in that many will come and follow after Him:
b. "as many as the stars of the sky or the sands of the seashore"
c. "a great multitude, which no one can count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues standing before the throne and before the lamb, clothed in white robes and palm branches were in their hands, and they cry out with a loud voice, saying: 'Salvation to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.'" (Rev. 7:9) (See also Jer. 33:22)
3. This is a spectacular view of what Christianity really is. 1000's and millions of people coming from all over the world to Jesus. They are spiritually sick and lame and blind and deformed and ugly. And Jesus is touching them and making them whole and transforming them.
a. And those who have been healed are escorting and carrying their friends to Jesus for this divine healing of the soul. And everyone is being healed, everyone, that is, who comes to Jesus and realizes his own sickness and deformity, and who calls out to Jesus to heal him. Jesus never refuses those who call out to Him. You don't have to wait in line, you don't have to fill out an application, you don't have to pay money for His services.
B. The reason you don’t have to pay isn’t because it doesn’t cost anything. It’s because the price has already been paid.
1. Is. 53:5-6a "By His stripes we have been healed." "Surely He took up our infirmities."
2. He was crushed for our iniquities. He was crushed so that we wouldn’t have to be.
3. Jesus didn’t heal Himself - when He was whipped and beaten. He could have healed those wounds as easily and immediately as all of the other maladies He healed. But He didn’t. He bore those wounds upon Himself for us.
4. There are those whom – for redemptive purposes – He chooses not to heal. But He doesn’t just abandon them in their suffering. He entered into their suffering. His name is the first on the list of those who don’t get healed. And so those who must suffer have a sympathetic savior, who knows what suffering is all about.
5. “Hear Him, ye deaf! His praise, ye dumb, your loosened tongue employ. Ye blind, behold your Savior come. And leap, ye lame, for joy!”
C. The fact that Christ only healed those who came to Him in Palestine is also a picture: He only heals those who come to Him. If healing was all that Jesus was after He would have instantaneously healed everyone everywhere. But by His actions Jesus was teaching: in this case He was teaching how He heals those who come to Him. Only those who come to Him are delivered from the curse.
1. Who are the ones who are not healed then? They are the ones who refuse to admit that they are sick and blind and deformed. They are the ones who think they are healthy. Jesus comes not for those who think they are healthy, He comes for those who know they are sick and desperate.
2. The Church at Laodicea thought they were healthy: Jesus says that they say, "We are rich, We have acquired wealth, there is nothing that we need." But they do not realize that they are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. Their problem was not that they were so wretched, the problem was that they didn't realize how wretched they were. All of us are wretched and sick and poor and blind. Those who are healed by Jesus are those who realize how sick and wretched and ugly and crippled they are.
3. And once we've come to Jesus and He starts to heal us and transform us and make us whole, we go out and start bringing others to Him. Anyone who will admit that they are sick inside and will let Jesus heal them, we bring to Him. For we have found hope for the sin-sick soul.
4. But there is no hope for those who say to themselves: I'm not that bad! I can make it on my own! The only place someone can get to on his own is hell. Hell is the home of self-sufficient people.
5. But what a tremendous joy for those who limp and crawl and scrape and feel our way in the dark to Jesus: He is the great physician, He specializes in putting broken people back together again. There is no disease, no injury, no deformity that He can't heal. There is no such thing as an incurable disease for this doctor!