WHY DID JESUS HEAL THE SICK?

why Jesus healed the sickThe 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; (Isaiah 61:1)

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed. (Luke 4:18)

Certainly healing the sick was a central part of the ministry of Jesus. When he referred to the prophecy about himself, in Isaiah 61, he specifically mentioned healing of the brokenhearted, liberty to the captives, restoration of sight to the blind and liberty to the oppressed (Luke 4:18). In addition, in the Gospels, the majority of the references to His ministry declare that, together with his teachings and sermons, he healed the sick and cast out demons.

WHY DID JESUS EMPHASIZE HEALING IN HIS MINISTRY?

He did not specifically say why he emphasized healing, however we can come to several conclusions from the Scriptures.

Jesus gave His life and ministry to fulfil the Scriptures

The prophets of the Old Testament clearly declared that he would heal the sick. Jesus knew that His Father sent him on a mission to the earth. Several times, he commented that His Father had sent him, for example:

In the case of demonic oppression, this means casting out demons:

But I have a greater witness then John’s: for the works which the Father has given me to finish – the very works that I do – bear witness of me, that the Father has sent me. (John 5:36)

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me. (John 6:37-38)

I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent me. (John 7:33)

Approximately 12 times, as in John 6:38 and 7:33, Jesus referred to His Father as “he that sent me”. This idea had already been expressed previously by the prophet Isaiah that Jesus was “the sent one”, when Jesus mentioned in Nazareth that He had come to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah.

The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. […] And he began to say to them, “today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:18-19, 21)

Jesus knew that He was fulfilling a prophecy, and Matthew recorded this in his gospel account:

Do not think that I come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or one title will by no means pass from the law until all is fulfilled. (Matthew 5:17-18)

As we have noted in John 7:33, mentioned above, Jesus knew that when His mission on the earth was fulfilled, he would return to His Father in heaven.

Someone always asked for healing

In the cases that have been recorded for us, Jesus healed because someone asked him to, or because the sick people came to him when he was preaching or teaching, in other words because people asked for healing.

As far as the Scriptures show us, Jesus healed as a response to those who asked for healing, or to the requests of friends and relatives. The recorded incidents are too numerous to be listed. Some examples are:

  1. The healing of the centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13) – He pleaded
  2. The healing of the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:22-24, 35-43) – He begged Him earnestly
  3. The cleansing of a leper (Matthew 8:2-3) – he worshiped
  4. All of those who came to Him whenever He would preach (Luke 4:40)

Jesus healed because He always did what His Father told Him to do

God’s heart is to heal. This is evident when He revealed himself to Moses, a little after the Israelites left Egypt:

(God) said, “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.” (Exodus 15:26)

The name of the Lord has not changed He is still Jehovah-Rapha! The Bible suggests the level of God’s mercy to heal in the passage in Exodus, and in Psalms 103, in which David writes:

Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is in within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all of your diseases. (Psalm 103:1-3)

Jesus himself healed constantly, and said of His works:

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me. (John 6:38)

For I have not spoken of my own authority; but the Father who sent me gave me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore whenever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” (John 12:49-50)

Since Jesus always did what His Father commanded, and since he himself healed all of those that came to Him for healing, His Father must have commanded Him to do so. It is also evident that the heart of the Father is to heal!

Jesus gave His power to heal the sick as a proof that He was the Messiah

The Scriptures not only show that healing is part of Christ’s work on the cross, but that the Lord Jesus also used it to prove that He was the Messiah. In the beginning of His ministry, Jesus announced in the synagogue of Nazareth, that He came to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 61, concerning the coming of the Messiah. The prophecy included healing of the brokenhearted, sight to the blind, freedom of the captives; therefore, it was proper for the Messiah to minister healing.

Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on him. And He began to say to them, “today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:20-21)

Even though John the Baptist was already convinced that Jesus was the lamb of God that took away the sins of the world, he sent two of His disciples to ask the Lord: “are you the one that was to come or should we wait for another?” The men arrived when Jesus was preaching to a multitude and healing those who were sick. Luke wrote the following account of this meeting:

And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight. Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (Luke 7:21-23)

Jesus healed the sick to prove His authority to forgive sins.

Luke recorded a familiar event: Jesus was teaching in an overcrowded room and some men brought a lame man in a cot to the house, believing that Jesus would heal him. Unable to enter because of the multitude, the men removed part of the roof and lowered the paralytic with ropes down to Jesus. Luke describes this meeting in the following way:

When He saw their faith, He said to him, “man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier to say, your sins are forgiven you, or say rise up and walk? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” – He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “we have seen strange things today!” (Luke 5:20-26)

Jesus healed the sick to prove that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, or in other words, on the earth and among men

Jesus believed that two kingdoms were at war on the earth – the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. He referred to Satan as the enemy. In the parable of the wheat and the tares, He spoke about the one who planted the tares in the field: “an enemy did this.” (Matthew 13:28). He considered sicknesses as being works of Satan. When the Jewish leaders criticized Him for healing a crippled woman on the Sabbath, He said:

So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound – think of it – for 18 years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” (Luke 13:16)

Peter expressed what he certainly had learned from Jesus, in his message to the people at Cornelius’s house. Peter commented that God had sent the Word:

The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ – He is Lord of all – that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. (Acts 10:36-38)

John wrote of Jesus’s mission on the earth:

For this purpose the son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)

Jesus saw this conflict as the reason for preaching the message that the kingdom was at hand, saying:

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17)

So then He demonstrated that the kingdom was at hand, casting out demons and healing sickness. Concerning the same subject, when the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub he said:

But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Luke 11:20)

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