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Written by Dr. John E. Russell Sr   

Jesus the Healer

The Apostle Peter, who associated with Jesus constantly for three years, summarized Jesus' healing ministry in this short verse:

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Acts 10:38, NIV

Dr. John Alexander Dowie, in his classical, eloquent style, reveals how the LORD quickened this verse to him:

I sat in my study in the parsonage of the Congregational Church at Newtown, a suburb of the beautiful city of Sydney, Australia. My heart was very heavy, for I had been visiting the sick and dying beds of more than thirty of my flock, and I had cast the dust to its kindred dust into more than forty graves within a few weeks. Where, oh where, was He Who used to heal His suffering children? No prayer for healing seemed to reach His ear, and yet I knew His hand had not been shortened. Still it did not save from death even those for whom there was so much in life to live for God and others. Strong men, fathers, good citizens, and more than all, true Christians sickened with a putrid fever, suffered nameless agonies, passed into delirium, sometimes with convulsions, and then died. And oh, what aching voids were left in many a widowed or orphaned heart. Then there were many homes where, one by one, the little children, the youths and the maidens were stricken, and after hard struggling with the foul disease, they too, lay cold and dead. It seemed sometimes as if I could almost hear the triumphant mockery of fiends ringing in my ear whilst I spoke to the bereaved ones the words of Christian hope and consolation. Disease, the foul offspring of its father, Satan, and its mother Sin, was defiling and destroying the earthly temples of God's children and there was no deliverance.

And there I sat with sorrow-bowed head for my afflicted people, until the bitter tears came to relieve my burning heart. Then I prayed for some message, and oh, how I longed to hear some words from Him Who wept and sorrowed for the suffering long ago, a Man of Sorrows and Sympathies. The words of the Holy Ghost inspired in Acts 10:38, stood before me all radiant with light, revealing Satan as the Defiler, and Christ as the Healer. My tears were wiped away, my heart strong, I saw the way of healing, and the door thereto was opened wide, so I said, "God help me now to preach the Word to all the dying around, and tell them how `tis Satan still defiles, and Jesus still delivers, for 'He is just the same today.'"

A loud ring and several raps at the outer door, a rush of feet, and there at my door stood two panting messengers who said, "Oh, come at once, Mary is dying; come and pray. "With just a feeling as a shepherd has who hears that his sheep are being torn from the fold by a cruel wolf, I rushed from my house, ran hatless down the street, and entered the room of the dying maiden. There she lay groaning, grinding her clenched teeth in the agony of the conflict with the destroyer, the white froth, mingled with her blood, oozing from her pain-distorted mouth. I looked at her and then my anger burned. "Oh," I thought, "for some sharp sword of heavenly temper keen to slay this cruel foe who is strangling that lovely maiden like an invisible serpent, tightening his deadly coils for a final victory."

In a strange way it came to pass; I found the sword I needed was in my hands, and in my hand I hold it still and never will I lay it down. The doctor, a good Christian man, was quietly walking up and down the room, sharing the mother's pain and grief. Presently he stood at my side and said, "Sir, are not God's ways mysterious?" Instantly the sword was flashed in my hand—the Spirit's sword, the Word of God. "God's way!" I said, pointing to the scene of conflict, "how dare you, Dr. K—, call that God's way of bringing His children home from earth to Heaven? No, sir, that is the devil's work, and it is time we called on Him Who came to 'destroy the work of the devil,' to slay that deadly foul destroyer, and to save the child. Can you pray, Doctor, can you pray the prayer of faith that saves the sick?" At once, offended at my words, my friend was changed, and saying, "You are too much excited, sir, 'tis best to say 'God's will be done,'" he left the room.

Excited! The word was quite inadequate for I was almost frenzied with Divinely imparted anger and hatred of that foul destroyer, Disease, which was doing Satan's will. "It is not so," I exclaimed, "no will of God sends such cruelty, and I shall never say 'God's will be done' to Satan's works, which God's own Son came to destroy, and this is one of them." Oh, how the Word of God was burning in my heart: "Jesus of Nazareth went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him." And was not God with me? And was not Jesus there and all His promises true? I felt that it was even so, and turning to the mother I enquired, "Why did you send for me?" To which she answered "Do pray, oh pray for her that God may raise her up." So we prayed. What did I say? It may be that I cannot recall the words without mistake, but words are in themselves of small importance. The prayer of faith may be a voiceless prayer, a simple heartfelt look of confidence into the face of Christ. At such moment words are few, but they mean much, for God is looking at the heart. Still, I can remember much of that prayer unto this day, and asking God to aid I will endeavor to recall it. I cried: "Our Father, help! and Holy Spirit, teach me how to pray. Plead Thou for us, oh, Jesus, Saviour, Healer, Friend, our Advocate with God the Father. Hear and heal, Eternal One! From all disease and death deliver this sweet child of Thine. I rest upon the Word. We claim the promise now. The Word is true, 'I am the Lord that healeth thee.' Then heal her now. The Word is true, 'I am the Lord, I change not.' Unchanging God, then prove Thyself the healer now. The Word is true, 'These signs shall follow them that believe in My Name, they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.' And I believe and I lay hands in Jesus' Name on her, and claim this promise now. Thy Word is true, 'The prayer of faith shall save the sick.' Trusting in Thee alone, I cry, oh, save her now, for Jesus' sake, Amen!"

And lo, the maid lay still in sleep, so deep and sweet that the mother asked in a low whisper, "Is she dead?" "No," I answered, in a whisper lower still, "Mary will live; the fever is gone. She is perfectly well and sleeping as an infant sleeps." Smoothing the long dark hair from her now peaceful brow, and feeling the steady pulsation of her heart and cool moist hands, I saw that Christ had heard and that once more, as long ago in Peter's house, "He touched her and the fever left her." Turning to the nurse I said, "Get me at once, please, a cup of cocoa and several slices of bread and butter." Beside the sleeping maid we sat quietly and almost silently until the nurse returned, and then I bent over her and snapping my fingers called "Mary!" Instantly she woke, smiled and said, "Oh, sir, when did you come? I have slept so long;" then stretching her arms out to meet her mother's embrace, she said, "Mother, I feel so well." "And hungry, too?" I asked, pouring some of the cocoa in a saucer and offering it to her when cooled by my breath. "Yes, hungry too," she answered with a little laugh, and drank and ate again, and yet again, until all was gone. In a few minutes she fell asleep, breathing easily and softly. Quietly thanking God we left her bed and went to the next room where her brother and sister also lay sick of the same fever. With these two we also prayed, and they were healed. The following day all three were well and in a week or so they brought me a little letter and a gift of gold, two sleeve links with my monogram, which I wore for many years. As I went away from the home where Christ as the Healer had been victorious, I could not but have somewhat in my heart of the triumphant song that rang through Heaven, and yet I was not a little amazed at my own strange doings, and still more at my discovery that He is just the same today.

And this is the story of how I came to preach the Gospel of Healing through Faith in Jesus. [Gordon Lindsay, The Life of John Alexander Dowie (Dallas: The Voice of Healing Publishing Co., 1951), 22-25].

Not one single person from Dowie's congregation died of pneumonic plague after God opened "the eyes of the heart" of this nineteenth century minister to the truth that Jesus still heals. (Lindsay, The Life of John Alexander Dowie, 26).

(The illness that struck Dr. Dowie's congregation was probably caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. When these bacteria attack the lymph nodes it is called bubonic plague. When it attacks the lungs, it is called pneumonic plague. When it attacks the bloodstream, it is called septicemic plague. It is also called The Black Death. The mortality rate today, even if treated by antibiotics, is still 5 percent! Infected fleas on rodents usually transmit The Black Death to human beings).

Jesus Is the Will of God

Jesus was the revealed Will or Word of God. Everything He said and did revealed the will of God:

In many separate revelations—each of which set forth a portion of the Truth—and in different ways God spoke of old to [our] fore-fathers in and by the prophets. [But] in the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time—[that is,] He made, produced, built, operated and arranged them in order. He is the sole expression of the glory of God—the Light-being, the outraying of the divine—and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God's] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power.... 
Hebrews 1:1-3, AMP
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1, NIV
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 
John 6:38, NIV
"So Jesus said, 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him'"
John 8:28-29, NIV
As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.
John 9:4, NIV
Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does.
John 10:37, NIV
For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.
John 12:49-50, NIV
Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work"
John 14:9-10, NIV

Jesus alone was born both (1) without the sinful Adamic nature and (2) positively holy. Therefore, One can build his theology on both Jesus' experience and teachings. However, one cannot build his theology on the experience of other men, although he can build his theology on the inspired teachings of Biblical writers.

Old Testament Prophecy Fulfilled in Jesus

Isaiah prophesied the healing ministry of Jesus as well as his atoning death:

Surely our diseases he did bear, and our pains he carried; Whereas we did esteem him stricken, Smitten of God and afflicted.
Isaiah 53:4, The Holy Scriptures, according to the Masoretic Text

Matthew records a fulfillment of Isaiah 53:4,

When evening came, many who were demon possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "He took our infirmities and carried our diseases."
Matthew 8:16-17, NIV

There are many other recorded examples of Jesus' healing ministry, but two detailed accounts give further insight into God's will concerning divine healing.

Examples of Jesus' Healing

Jesus' healing of the leper is found in all three synoptic Gospels. Mark records this wonderful revelation of the heart of God:

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: "See that you don't tell this to anyone, But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them."
Mark 1:40-44, NIV

The leper had a partial revelation of God's nature. No doubt he had either seen or heard of Jesus' miracles and knew that Jesus had power to heal people. However, the leper did not have a revelation of the love of God as expressed in the desire to heal suffering human beings. [Ralph G. Turnbull, gen. ed., Proclaiming the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1961), The Gospel of Mark, by Ralph Earle, 21].

Luke the physician adds that this leper "was covered with leprosy" (Luke 5:12, NIV). This was probably a skin disease that rendered the person ceremonially unclean—not the type of disease known as leprosy today. (Earle, The Gospel of Mark, 20).

"If you want to," he [the leper] said, "you can make me clean" (Mark 1:40b, GNB). Jesus' reaction to this man is not adequately expressed in most English translations. Ralph Earle says the aorist passive participle should be translated, "[having been] gripped with compassion." Jesus' heart went out to the man. Next, Jesus said, "I am willing" (Greek,Thelo, "I choose"), thus declaring that it was God's will to heal him. Next Jesus uttered one word, translated "be cleansed." This word is in the aorist tense, passive voice, imperative mood, and could better be translated, "be thou (right here and now, immediately) cleansed." (Earle 1961, The Gospel of Mark, 20-21). And of course, he was!

Some say that Jesus healed to prove that he was the Son of God. If so, why did he "sternly warn" the former leper not to tell anyone? The truth is that Jesus was motivated by agape—the Love of God—which has no ulterior motives. To charge that Jesus had ulterior motives is to impugn the character of God. Jesus healed the leper for the same reason that he heals all people—he loves us!

Human beings build hospitals, perform medical research, and provide medical training running into billions of dollars and somehow mat think that our desire to heal is greater than God's! God gave his only Son to die for our sins and healing.

Another example of Jesus' healing is that of the woman with an infirmity:

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity." Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people "There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath."
The Lord answered, him, "You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?" When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.
Luke 13:10-17, NIV

The leper apparently was suffering from sickness caused by Adamic sin. However, this woman was suffering from sickness caused by a demon commanded by Satan (Luke 13:11,16). Jesus healed both types.

Jesus Healed All

The following scriptures support the premise that Jesus healed all who came to him:

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.
Matthew 4:23-25, NIV
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
Matthew 9:35-10:1, NIV
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Matthew 14:14, NIV
When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.
Matthew 14:34-36, NIV
When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.
Luke 4:40, NIV
He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples were there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all [Italics Mine].
Luke 6:17-19, NIV

These few scriptures, or even all the healing passages of the Bible are but samples of what God has done in healing mankind physically and mentally. John testifies,

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. 
John 21:25, NIV

There are exceptions to the general truth that Jesus healed all. Apparently not all who were sick sought his healing. Also, most of the sick from his home town were not healed because of their unbelief:

Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked. "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor." And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. 
Matthew 13:54-58, NIV
Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor." He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.
Mark 6:4-6, NIV

Someone will recall a fine, upstanding Christian, who was filled with the fruits of the Spirit and yet he was not healed. Jesus gives some answers to this problem:

When they joined the rest of the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and some teachers of the Law arguing with them. When the people saw Jesus, they were greatly surprised, and ran to him and greeted him. Jesus asked his disciples, "What are you arguing with them about?" A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought my son to you, because he has an evil spirit in him and cannot talk. Whenever the spirit attacks him, it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth, grits his teeth, and becomes stiff all over. I asked your disciples to drive the spirit out, but they could not." Jesus said to them, "How unbelieving you people are! How long must I stay with you? How long do I have to put up with you? Bring the boy to me!" They brought him to Jesus. As soon as the spirit saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a fit, so that he fell on the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. "How long has he been like this?" Jesus asked the father.
"Ever since he was a child," he replied. "Many times the evil spirit has tried to kill him by throwing him in the fire and into water. Have pity on us and help us, if you possibly can!" "Yes," said Jesus, "if you yourself can! Everything is possible for the person who has faith." The father at once cried out, "I do have faith, but not enough. Help me have more!" Jesus noticed that the crowd was closing in on them so he gave a command to the evil spirit. "Deaf and dumb spirit," he said, "I order you to come out of the boy and never go into him again!" The spirit screamed, threw the boy into a bad fit, and came out. The boy looked like a corpse, and everyone said, "He is dead!" But Jesus took the boy by the hand and helped him rise, and he stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we drive the spirit out?" "Only prayer can drive this kind out," answered Jesus; nothing else can."
Mark 9:14-29, GNB

The balanced Christian will be filled with the (1) fruits of the Spirit, (2) the power of the Spirit and (3) faith!

Jesus identifies community unbelief (v. 19); weak faith of the boy's father (vv. 22-24); and lack of prayer on the disciples' part (vv. 28-29). Just because someone is not healed does not mean it is not God's will. Because someone is not saved does not mean it is not God's will. Also, one can be saved and not healed.

One may protest that teaching divine healing may detract from the most important work of grace, the new birth. F. F. Bosworth recounts his experience:

. . . . Instead of the "ministry of healing" diverting from the more important matter of salvation for the soul, we have seen more happy conversions in a single week than we ever saw in a whole year of evangelistic work during the thirteen years before the Lord led us to preach this part of the Gospel in a bolder and more public way....

In our last revival preceding the writing of this book, conducted in Ottawa, Canada, during the seven weeks of the meeting, six thousand came for healing, and about twelve thousand for salvation.
F. F. Bosworth, Christ the Healer (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1973,  71

[I am indebted to chapter three of Bosworth's Christ the Healer: "Is Healing for All?" I am also indebted to Fred Price's tape, "Is Healing for All?" (Joshua, TX: Romans VIII Ministries, 1974).]

A concrete expression of the love of God awakens the heart for the need of the new birth.

Jesus is the greatest revelation of the will of God to man. Since he healed all who came to him, one can conclude that it is God's will to heal all. In Christ, then, one can be made whole physically and mentally as well as spiritually.

The love, care and compassion of God shine deeply into the hearts of people when they see God heal someone in great physical or mental distress. The message comes through that God really does love people.

Self-esteem rises because one more fully realizes that God esteems us highly!

Assignment: confess aloud, "God really does love me!" Begin to pray for the sick, expecting them to be healed!

 

Chapter 17 of my Book, How to Raise Your Self-Esteem Using Proven Biblical Principles. 

© 1981 Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Published with Permission from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth TX.

© (Popular version) John E. Russell 1993, 2016.

In Essentials: Unity; In non-essentials: Liberty; In all things: Charity—Peter Meiderlin 1626.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 January 2016 21:43