HEALING AS PREACHING
Lord, thank You for healing Your people.
Read LUKE 4:38–44
Jesus Heals Many
38 Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.
40 At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.
42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Cleanse me from my sin, Lord. / Put Your power within, Lord. / Take me as I am Lord, / and make me all thine own” (R. Hudson Pope, 1879–1967).
This section completes Luke’s presentation of Jesus as the fulﬁllment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa. 61:1)—his claim at Nazareth to be the Messiah, his power over evil spirits in Capernaum, and now the healing of all who come to him. To Isaiah, healing epitomized the one who “has borne our inﬁrmities” (Isa.53:4, NRSV)—the blind will see, the deaf hear and the lame leap (Isa. 35:5,6). Jesus uses these healings to reassure John the Baptist of whom he actually is (Matt. 11:5). Signiﬁcantly, Luke blurs the distinction between illness and evil spirits. Peter’s mother-in-law is suffering from a fever which Jesus “rebukes” (38,39). Later, Jesus will exorcise evil spirits simply by the laying on of his hands (40,41).
The gift of healing remains in the church. Some say the gifts of the Spirit were more powerfully present during the apostolic era. That is not my view, nor yet should we expect to be able to do everything Jesus could do. Sometimes we are healed—but not every time. God is not present in us in the same capacity that he was present in Jesus. However, there is a kind of well-being greater than physical healing: the spiritual wholeness that Jesus promises us so that we can take the Gospel into all the world (Matt. 28:19,20). Jesus’ last prayer for his disciples is not that God would heal their ailments, but that he would protect them from the evil one (John 17:15).
To Jesus, healings are not miracles but signs of the emerging kingdom of God, the imminent institution of God’s new covenant. In the end, that is all that matters to Jesus. That is his consuming passion. It would be an attractive temptation to stay in Capernaum as the popular local healer, but he feels compelled to travel on, proclaiming the Gospel. We too must feel that same passion. It is our calling, too.
Consider Paul’s passion: “I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16).
Lord, Your people remain in awe over Your unlimited power to deliver Your people from any and all adverse situations.