Summary: What does the Bible Really Teach about Divine Healing?
Four Things About the Healing
I want to speak to you on the subject Four Things You Ought To Know About The Healing Ministry Of Jesus. I want to speak plainly about Divine Healing. I mean, it is pretty hard to escape physical healing even with a causal reading of the four Gospels and the book of Acts. And here in our text this morning it is staring us in the face. Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law.
But someone protests – it was only a fever. Peter’s mother-in-law only had a fever. What’s the big deal? Drink lots of water, get some rest and it will pass. I checked out my faithful Mayo Clinic web site. There I discovered that we are cooler in the mornings (around 36C) and higher in the afternoons (about 37C). According to Mayo Clinic if we go above that range it might be caused by any number of things. The list is enough to give anyone a fever:
• Bacterial infection
• Heat exhaustion
• Extreme sunburn
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Malignant tumor
• Drugs that are used to treat high blood pressure
• Tetanus vaccine reaction.
So, Peter’s mother-in-law had a fever. Perhaps it wasn’t life threating. Maybe it was just a mother-in-law moment. Maybe it was just a touch of the flu. Who knows? Whatever caused her fever does not in any way diminish the healing power of Jesus. Look at what’s going on around this story. The next story is about a man who had an incurable skin disease. Jesus touched him and the Bible says: immediately the leprosy left him. The next chapter tells us about a man who could not walk. He was paralyzed. Four friends brought him to Jesus. There is no way this could be faked. And Jesus speaks the Word. The same word that brought all worlds into being: I say to you arise, pick up your bed and go home. And immediately he rose up, picked up his bed and went out before them.
And this keeps on going all thought the four Gospels and on into the Book of Acts. Preach the Word and Heal the sick. So this morning I want to briefly share with you Four Things You Ought to Know About the Healing Ministry of Jesus.
The Healing Ministry of Jesus does not rule out the use of doctors and prescription drugs.
Many of us owe our lives to the skill and wisdom of some doctor; many of us are here today because of some drug that we took or are taking.
There were doctors and medications in Jesus’ day. A doctor wrote one of the four Gospels. There is never a hint in the Bible that what doctors do is in conflict with what Jesus does.
The Healing Ministry of Jesus is not permanent.
What do I mean by that? The Bible teaches that it is appointed unto everyone to die. Everyone who Jesus healed eventually died. Even Lazarus who was raised from the dead died again.
No matter which healing story you pick out in the New Testament they all died in time. Blind Bartimaeus, the 12-year-old girl who Jesus brought back from the dead, the woman who had the hemorrhaging problem, the deaf man – they all died in time. The healing ministry of Jesus is not permanent. The resurrection from the dead that we confess week by week in the creeds is permanent.
The Healing Ministry of Jesus is Selective.
There are some Christians who will tell you that if you have enough faith God will heal you of anything all of the time. I have a story for those people. It is found in John 5: Jesus came to the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem.
The historian tells us that around that pool hundreds, the exact word is a ‘multitude’ of invalids – blind, lame, and paralyzed people. I have often wondered why Jesus didn’t sweep his mighty hand over that crowd and heal every last one. But no, only one man caught his attention. One man who had been sick for 38 years. One man who didn’t have an ounce of faith in Jesus. But for some reason hidden in the heart of God Jesus said to this one man: Get up, take your bed and walk.
And then Jesus walked away and left the rest to wallow by the pool. This has been one of the greatest puzzles in my own ministry. I have seen people literally raised up from a deathbed; but I have seen many others die. The healing ministry of Jesus is selective. And it doesn’t seem to have much to do with our faith.
Hebrews 11 is the great Faith Chapter of the Bible. As you will recall this is a list of people who had faith in God. Here’s how the chapter ends up: Time fails me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. (Now here comes the hard part) Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. All of these people had faith: The ones that were delivered and the ones who weren’t delivered; the ones who were healed and the ones who weren’t healed. You can have great faith in a great God and still not be delivered; still not be healed.