Lesson 5: Divine Healing
Focus Text: Psalms 103:1-3
“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases: Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.”
God not only created human beings, He shows throughout the Bible His power to heal us of our illnesses and our injuries. As our Designer, He knows exactly what ails us and how to fix it.
Healing is a major theme of the Bible. The New King James Version of the Bible uses the word healing 15 times, heal 46 times, heals five times and healed 78 times.
Divine healing from the Scriptures
The Bible gives us many examples of individuals who were healed of serious problems, including leprosy, blindness and being crippled. God even restored physical life to some who had died. In the Old Testament, God performed these miracles through men like Elijah and Elisha. In the New Testament, it was through the original apostles and of course, Jesus Christ who was God in the flesh, that He healed and even resurrected various people throughout the course of His earthly ministry.
God’s great power to heal in Scripture
Exodus 15:26: “If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.”
Deuteronomy 32:39: “Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.”
Psalm 103:2-3: “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.”
Psalms 147:1-3: "Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely. The Lord doth build up Jerusalem: He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel. He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."
Jesus Christ’s Healing Ministry
There is clear testimony in the Gospels that Jesus practiced healing. Nearly one-fifth of the Gospel accounts are devoted to Jesus’ healing ministry.
The prophet Isaiah foretold of Jesus’ ministry: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” (Isaiah 61:1-2).
The Gospel describes how Jesus fulfilled this commission: “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23; Matthew 9:35).
Jesus’ acts of healing had a two-fold purpose: Authentication of His divine Sonship that we “may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you might have life in his name” (John 20:31).
But in the process Jesus also wanted to respond to true human needs. He was moved by compassion for those in need. Matthew records that as He went throughout the cities and villages, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
Isaiah 53:5: “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”
Matthew and Peter applied Isaiah’s prophecy of the Suffering Servant to Jesus Christ, by whose stripes we can be healed (Matthew 8:17; 1 Peter 2:24). Jesus’ sacrifice allows us to be completely healed physically, mentally and spiritually.
Healing of the Paralytic-Mark 2:1-13
Why did Jesus not only forgive the paralytic's sin, but also heal Him physically?
This account of this healing is among the most touching and compassionate encounters recorded in the Gospels. It exemplifies the comprehensive kind of healing with which Jesus approached those in need.
1. How was faith shown?
Comment: Four men arrive late, carrying a paralyzed man on his bed. When they realize that they cannot possibly get him through the door, they carry their helpless paralytic friend upstairs to the roof and lower the bed in front of Jesus as He is speaking. Their determination to place him before Jesus displays their faith that he would be healed. Instead of being deterred by the problem of the crowds, they see the possibilities for solving it. If they could only involve God, they thought, things would go well. The persevering efforts of the four friends pay off for their paralytic friend as they help make possible his spiritual healing as well as his physical healing. Their actions are an example of the apostle James' statement in James 2:18: "I will show you my faith by my works."
Christ finds faith in the friends, and He honors their faith, rather than any faith the sufferer has. Of course, no one can be saved by another's faith. Yet, another or others can help him along to Christ since only He can deliver him from the bondage of sin. Being pleased with their works, which exhibited their faith, Christ responds to their resourcefulness and perseverance in behalf of their suffering friend. Their faith in Christ, then, is the catalyst in His performing this miracle. Our Savior works where faith is present (Luke 5:20). Obviously, He can perform His work anywhere regardless of human faith, but He often chooses not to act when people lack faith in Him, as happened in Nazareth (Matthew 13:58).
2. What positive character traits does the four friends' faith reveal?
- First, they honestly loved cared for their friend.
- Second, their own faith was strong; they truly believed that Jesus could heal their friend and acted on their faith
- Third, they were persistent; they were undeterred by seemingly overwhelming obstacles.
- Fourth, they willingly and sacrificially gave of their time and effort to bring the paralytic before Christ.
- Fifth, they were unintimidated and unashamed to display their faith before the public.
Comment: Christ deals first with the spiritual problem—the forgiveness of sins—and then the physical problem—the physical affliction. Most people want it the other way around, putting greater emphasis on healing the physical ailment than fixing the spiritual problem. Solomon gives us the answer to which is more important: "The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit?" (Proverbs 18:14). From God's perfect perspective, spiritual needs are always more critical than physical ones (Mark 8:36), so in this miracle, forgiveness precedes healing.
The paralytic’s multiple dimension of healing:
- Intervention of concerned friends/community
- Faith and encouragement of friends
- Importance of faith
- Faith with action
- Courage to confront rigid attitudes and obstacles
- Spiritual healing-forgiven soul
- Physical healing-restored body
- Accepting help with humility
Which of these dimensions of healing seems most essential?
Are you willing to accept help from others who may confront your attitudes about making changes in your life?
Are you willing to confront difficult circumstances in order to reach the right kind of help?
Do you know someone in your life who is sick and in need of healing? How can you, either as an individual or as part of a group, help that person in the healing process?
Instructions for the sick for the New Testament church:
James 5:14-16 (KJV) “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
The members of a faith community can strengthen our resolve to heal, can link their prayers to ours, and can restore us to faith. They can envelop us in care and love.
Understanding God’s will and timing
In understanding God’s wonderful promises and fully believing in God’s power to heal, some may wonder why everyone is not healed immediately when he or she is anointed. The Bible, as well as human experience, shows that God sometimes allows health trials to linger, perhaps for years.
The fact is, that we do not fully understand why in some cases we can see what is obviously a supernatural intervention of the Lord for healing, while in other cases, healing comes from natural processes, in which we justifiably can believe that the hand of the Lord is working in behalf of the sick through these means. And then there are always those cases where, for reasons we do not understand, healing does not come as we have prayed for and would wish for.
The apostle Paul himself suffered with what he called a “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7), likely an unknown ailment that he apparently had for the remainder of his life.
God’s healing may be delayed quite some time in certain cases, and God has an overriding purpose in our life that goes beyond the physical — as He does in the lives of all whom He calls. As every Christian knows, every trial — not just illness — serves great purposes that transcend the physical and the temporary.
Greater Purpose for sickness and healing
- Your sickness can bring the family and the community together.
- Allows others to exercise compassion.
- Opportunity for you to reflect, educate and re-evaluate your life.
- We can learn to become empathetic to others who are going through the same experience.
- Overcoming your sickness and disease can be a life transforming experience and become an inspiration to others.
Waiting on God
We should give thought to whether there is something more that we should do or learn. We can pray for clear instructions and help to grow in faith and obedience. But when considering other people, keep in mind that it is never helpful to question their faith or obedience. These are matters for God to judge, since we cannot see another’s heart. There may be any number of reasons why God does not always provide divine healing immediately.
How can we learn to trust in the Lord and in His love for us even when prayers for health and healing have not come as we would have liked?
God looks to the future
God is sovereign and knows about each individual’s needs. He has a perfect and eternal perspective and has our ultimate best interests in mind. Like all trials, sickness can help us grow in faith, obedience, character and our relationship with God. God wants us to learn patience, so we must not assume that His promise of healing must be fulfilled immediately or not at all. He may have lessons for us and for those around us to learn. It is God’s prerogative whether He heals immediately or not. It is not necessarily a reflection on an individual’s level of faith.
God promises a wonderful future when there will be no more pain, sorrow or death (Revelation 21:4). In this world we will have troubles, including sickness. God does not promise to keep us alive forever in this physical body, and so all of His faithful servants of times gone by have reached the end of their physical lives and are in their graves. They are awaiting the resurrection when they will be raised as immortal spirit beings (1 Corinthians 15:50-54).
Challenge: Examine and confront our own attitudes and circumstances that may get in the way of our road to recovery.
For more Bible Lessons on Health click HERE.