That Jesus healed has never been a topic of contention among those who call Him Lord and Savior. All four gospels are packed with stories of Jesus healing, from purposeful healings (the pool of Bethesda, John 5), to intrusions (paralytic man through a roof, Luke 5:17-39), across distances (Centurion’s servant, Matt 8), next to Him without knowing (the woman with blood, Luke 8:43-48), and numerous times where He healed ALL who came to Him (Matt 4:23, 9:35, 12:15, 14:34-36, Luke 4:40, 6:17-19 & 9:11).
Many commentaries will rightly point out that these works undoubtedly point to the Divine nature Jesus carried while here on earth. When He healed a paralytic man, He noted that He had the authority to heal and to forgive sins, which the leaders of the day attributed to God alone. They were offended that Jesus was implying equality with God, but the people were amazed and glorified God for what they saw.
Similarly, when John the Baptist was in prison, he sought to know for sure if Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus didn’t answer directly, but pointed to His actions and miracles to authenticate His message and mission.
“And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.” Luke 7:20-22 ESV.
Healing in the cross
Though the healings Jesus performed pointed to His Deity, they are more than a pointer, they are an ongoing promise. The Almighty God, the God who Heals, doesn’t just do enough miracles to authenticate Himself. No, He continues to exhibit His nature throughout time and space.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.” ~ Isa 53:5 ESV
The prophecies in Isaiah 53 regarding the Messiah are very clear of how He would suffer and die for our sins and transgressions. That even though He was sinless, He would bear our sins and make us righteous. But the end ofverse 53:5 clearly states that we would be healed by His wounds.
Lest we try to take this figuratively, the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 8 clearly demonstrates we should take this promise of healing literally. The chapter begins with two specific narrations of the healing of leper and of the great faith of the Centurion leading to the healing of his servant. Then the gospel writer notes a vast set of healings, “16 That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Matt 8:16-17 ESV.
These verses directly link this outpouring of healing to the Isaiah 53:5 verse promising that we that we should have an expectation of healing equal with our expectation of salvation from sin, through what Jesus did on the cross. The healings of Jesus don’t only point to the His divinity, but link the eternal nature of God, the One Who Heals, to every single person who trusts in Him for salvation.
Healing and Forgiveness flow from the cross
It can’t be stated enough times. If we believe, through faith, that our sins will be forgiven when we look to Jesus, likewise we should believe, in faith, that our sicknesses will be healed through the same work on the cross. Peter says this exact thing as he encouraged the churches in 1 Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (ESV).
In many places, I have noted that we don’t really need to change our theology, but more change our expectations. We should expect Jesus to heal us. How and when He chooses to heal us can at times seem mysterious, but in the next section we will investigate how and when the disciples expected healing through the name of Jesus.
— An excerpt from an upcoming book, (Super)Natural Theology, a look at moving our theology into a daily expectation of God moving in our midst.