The church has taken its focus off of healing. It was a theological necessity — or so the theory goes. The signs of the power of the Holy Spirit ceased after the church and the New Testament were established. God used demonstrations of the miraculous only to introduce a new age, but once the church was under way, there was no further need for these exhibitions.
Is it true — God has no motive or desire to heal in our time? Does Scripture really say God only healed during biblical times for intellectual reasons? Actually, the New Testament emphasizes that God heals by his power out of compassion.
And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.
... he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.
And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.
Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.
The Greek word for compassion also can be interpreted as mercy, just as in Hebrew. And God's mercy endures forever. Psalm 136:1,4 — O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever... To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever. Psalm 145:8,9 — The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. Indeed, the Lord delights in mercy. Micah 7:18 — Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. And God never changes. Hebrews 13:8 — Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Having faith for healing is essential. Matthew 9:29 — Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. .13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief. 15:28 — Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. Acts 6:8 — And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. 14:8-10 — And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked: The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.
However, Christians have a tendency to try to reason away their faith. Matthew 16:8,9 — Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
Just a small faith will suffice. Matthew 17:20 — ...for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
And God will help our faith. Mark 15:23,24 — Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
However, determination is important, as well as persistence in prayer. Luke 5:18-20 — And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. 11:5-13 — And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
Part of the healing process can be recognizing the need to be healed. Many people do not realize they have to be healed, as they do not understand the effects of the Fall. However, we all need to be healed; Isaiah 53:5 -- But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Romans 5:12 — Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: As a result of the Fall, the hearts of human beings became dark, deceitful, full of lust, envy, and vile affections, proud, despiteful, seeking strife, and inventing evil, 1:18-32. And no matter how we try, we cannot overcome sin by our own efforts, but we our transformed into becoming a new person, as a process of the Holy Spirit working within our souls, 7:14-8-29.
Healing can be emotional, spiritual, or physical. Although our Adamic nature alone indicates a need for healing, our condition can be aggravated by an environment created from the Fall, or trauma from others. Healing can be associated with forgiveness of sin, but not necessarily, Matthew 9:2 — And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. John 9:2,3 — And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
Faith in the blood of Christ atones for sin. Romans 3:24, 25, — Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (atonement) through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. However, repentance alone usually is not enough to be healed. After repentance, there has to be the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about healing.
Christ healed in his ministry instantaneously. However, he had the Holy Spirit upon him without measure, John 3:34,35. Christians who pray for healing often report that it will come about progressively, as the Holy Spirit continues working with their condition. And, it is completely proper to look for natural ways to be healed, Luke 5:31, but the Christian should look for the Holy Spirit to be involved in the process.
Biblical verses are set out below for consideration of the relation of God to healing in the life of the believer.
...If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.
O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.
I said, Lord, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.
Thou hast made the earth to tremble; thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.
He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up wounds.
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bond up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (commonly called "depression today); that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God.
Heal me, O lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved; for thou art my praise.
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. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick.
And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all.
And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet and he healed them: Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.
And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan; and great multitudes followed him; and he healed them.
And the blind and the lame came to him in the in the temple; and he healed them.
Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.
And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed.
Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. 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, andif 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.
Individual healings recorded in Matthew —
leper near Gennesaret, 8:1–4;
centurion's servant 8:5–13;
Peter's mother-in-law, 8:14–17;
demon possessed man, 8:28–34;
paralytic at Capernaum, 9:1–8;
raising Jairus' daughter 9:18–26;
woman with 12 year bleeding, 9:20–22;
two blind men, 9:27–31;
mute demoniac, 9:32–34;
withered hand, 12:9–14;
blind and mute demoniac, 12:22;
Syro-Phoenician girl 15:21–28;
boy with demon, 17:14–20;
two blind men, 20:29–34.
II Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, than will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
(For other verses which refer to healing a people collectively, see II Chronicles 30:18c-20; Isaiah 6:10; 19:22; 30:26;57:17,18; Jeremiah 30:17; 51:8,9; Hosea 7:1; 11:3; Revelation 22:2).
(Note II Kings 2:19–22 and Ezekiel 47:8–11 refer to healing water. Compare Genesis 3:17–19 to Romans 8:22, which finds the curse on the earth due to the fall of Adam as a sickness).