When Jesus walked this Earth, he spent three years of His life teaching, preaching and preforming miracles to make known His identity before dying on the cross in our place for the forgiveness of sins and raising to life with victory over death. The Gospels give an overview of the work that He did. John tell us:
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.”
– John 21.25
Part of Jesus’ ministry was healing the sick and afflicted. We see that He never turned someone away from physical healing, and on occasion the Gospel writers make statements such as:
“Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”
– Matt 9.35
“And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all.”
– Luke 6.19
We know that there are people that Jesus did not heal, for instance the lame man whom Peter and John healed at Pentecost. He had been sitting at the gate of the temple for his entire life, and we know that Jesus regularly entered the temple. But as far as we can tell, anyone who asked of Jesus, and those to whom Jesus came, were healed. Why, then, does He not always heal us now?
“And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”
– Matt 8.2
The leper had the attitude that his healing was in the hands and will of Jesus. Many of us pray for physical healing or for the supernatural affecting of a situation, but in order to give God a way out, we caveat our prayers saying, “If it is your will”. This is not a bad attitude, provided it is truly what we believe. I am afraid, however, that we often do not believe that God can or will heal or alter the situation.
Matthew teaches us clearly that part of Jesus’ ministry on Earth was the fulfillment of Scripture in healing the physical maladies of the people.
This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.”
– Matt 8.17
The Messiah prophesied throughout the Old Testament was coming with power to heal. One of the ways Jesus validated His identity and proved His role to the people was through mass healings.
Jesus is still in the business of healing today. If you have spent any time around a hospital, you know that most doctors and nurses have stories of miraculous turn arounds that cannot be explained medically. Many will vouch for the power of prayer, even if they have no clue as to the one being petitioned. Reports of miraculous healings are a daily occurrence from the mission field. But why does Jesus not heal us every time we ask?
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
– 2 Cor 12.7-10
Paul was the first missionary who traveled to foreign lands to preach the Gospel. We know that in every Church he planted, he preformed miracles in the name of Jesus. Yet he, when it came to his own illness, was not healed. The man through whom Jesus healed many was left ill. Why? Paul clearly understood that it was to keep him humble and dependent on God.
We also understand that while God can heal us physically, we will all die. This Earth is not our home, and these bodies are not our eternal bodies.
“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment…”
– Heb 9.27
Even though we are saved by grace through faith, we still live under the burden of the curse, our bodies will die. It is the result of sin. And Jesus will sometimes choose to heal us, and sometimes He will choose to not heal us, so that we remain dependent on Him.
So let us trust and believe that God can heal us. But let us approach every conversation with God humbly, asking Him if it is His will to heal us, and if not, to seek to understand that which He desires to teach us through the trial. Let us be dependent and seeking after God through healing and through a withholding of healing.