Summary: Although Jesus had the power and the authority to heal people, the purpose of His ministry was not for healing only: "Let us got to the next towns, that I may preach also; for that is why I came out" (Mark 1:38 RSV).
JESUS HAD COME TO HEAL AND TO PREACH
"When Cabesa DeVaca wrote about his trip from Texas to the Pacific during 1530 to 1536, he described how the Indians insisted that he and his companion cure their sick. The Indians believed them to be gods, so they had to try. "We had to heal them or die, so we prayed for strength," DeVaca wrote. They were astonished, after laying their hands on and blessing the sick, that the people were actually healed. "We thought we had given way to doctors and priests our ability to heal. But here it was, still in our possession. … We were more than we thought we were". (Herb Miller. Actions Speak Louder Than Verbs. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989, p. 56). That last sentence reminds me of Romans 8:37: "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (NKJV). With God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). The fact that Jesus came to us as God in human flesh helps us to understand how nothing is impossible with God.
People often insisted that Jesus could heal their sick loved ones. The miracle story about Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law is followed by episodes of how Jesus healed many with various diseases and cast out demons. Although Jesus had the power and the authority to heal people, the purpose of His ministry was not for healing only: "Let us got to the next towns, that I may preach also; for that is why I came out" (Mark 1:38 RSV). Jesus came to heal brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, give recovery of sight to the blind and to set at liberty those that are bruised (Luke 4:18). Jesus had come to heal as well as preach.
JESUS HAS A HEALING TOUCH
Jesus had left the synagogue with His disciples and went to Peter’s house. It was after they arrived that Peter’s mother-in-law was found sick in bed with a high fever. Jesus then went and took her by the hand and healed her as He lifted her up (Mark 1:31). Her fever was one which involved a rise in body temperature. For some people, the fever is despair and discouragement that gets them down. But, Jesus is still in the miracle business and still lifts people up and heals them. Sometimes the fevers that Jesus heals are actual fevers and sicknesses. There are other times when Jesus heals our "fevers of circumstance".
Jesus lifted up the spirit of a discouraged preacher who retired early because of what happened to him. "In the Pentecostal Evangel church leader George U. Wood writes:
"Have you ever heard a healing take place? I have. I listened to an audiotape of Duane Miller teaching his Sunday school class from the text of Psalm 103 at the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on January 17, 1993. Duane prematurely retired from pastoring three years earlier because of a virus which penetrated the myelin sheath around the nerves in his vocal cords, reducing his speech to a raspy whisper....
"Teaching his class that day with a special microphone resting on his lips,he reaffirmed his belief in divine healing and that miracles had not ended with the Book of Acts. Listening to the tape, at times you can barely understand his weakly spoken wheezy words of faith. The miracle happened at verse 4 when he said, "I have had and you have had in times past pit experiences."
"On the word pit his life changed—the word was as clear as a bell, in contrast to the imperfect enunciation of the preceding "word past. He paused, startled; began again and stopped. He said a few more words—all in a normal clear tone—and stopped again. The class erupted with shouts of joy, astonishment and sounds of weeping. God completely healed him as he was declaring the truth in this psalm. (You can read the full account in Miller’s book Out of the Silence, Nelson Publishers.)". (Craig Brian Larson. Choice Contemporary Stories & Illustrations For Preachers, Teachers, & Writers. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1998, p. 116). If there is anything that this story tells us it is this, never underestimate what God can do! It was the healing touch of Jesus that gave Rev. Duane Miller the full range of his voice again!
JESUS HEALS US FOR A PURPOSE
Jesus heals us from what hinders our serving Him. As someone has said, "… the reaction of Peter’s mother-in-law suggests healing is necessary in many situations before a person can serve the Lord". (Richard Carl Hoefler. There Are Demons In The Sea: Background On The Miracles. Lima: C. S. S. Publishing Company Inc., 1978, p. 44). For that reason there are people that need to have their "fevers" cured before they can serve the Lord because the "fever" is what renders them too sick to serve. The fevers that Jesus cures can be actual fevers or sickness as well as "fevers of circumstance" such as some sort of "hang-up". It is also possible for people to "… use sickness as a means of escaping responsibilities" (Heofler, p. 44). How many kids have tried to fake being sick because of their procrastination in their homework or not studying for a test or being adequately prepared for some kind of report that was due? How many adults have called in sick to avoid something at work that they did not want to face the next day? The reason that we call something a hang-up is because of what it does to the one it holds captive, it literally hangs him or her up from making any progress from where they ought to be in life. It also hangs him or her up in his or her ability to serve the Lord.