1 When Jesus had finished these words, He departed from Galilee and came into the region of Judea beyond the Jordan; 2 and large crowds followed Him, and He healed them there.
One of the things that I think we tend to gloss over too much throughout the bible is Jesus’ continued healing of afflicted people. Jesus didn’t turn anyone away who came to Him for healing. Whether it was demonic influence, sickness, or spiritual enlightenment; He came and set the captives free just as was foretold throughout the Old Testament. Today, however, we tend to “dumb down” this part of the gospel and think that He might save us from eternal condemnation but He certainly won’t heal us physically or emotionally. Why have we fallen into the trap of believing only part of the gospel instead of the whole gospel?
We struggle with this concept because we see so much pain and suffering and sickness and death around us that the enemy has us convinced that it is a result of God’s lack of love for us or that it is “His will” that we suffer. While God does use our suffering and pain to grow us, He would rather us not have to suffer at all. So then, is it God’s will that we suffer? It is an interesting concept as we try to figure out what God’s will really is. Here is what I have seen so far throughout the bible.
In all of Jesus’ one-on-one interactions that are recorded in the bible, He always claims that “your faith has made you well.” We see time and again that people trusted in God to heal through Jesus and as a result, either they or their loved ones were healed. But what happens when we try to trust in God for healing and it doesn’t come? We need to ask for more faith! In Hebrews 12 we read:
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Jesus overcame all of the sin in the world which causes our pain, suffering, and death. So, when we are struggling to believe in His conquering of these things and His work in our lives or the lives of others, let us consider the story of the unbelieving father who trusted Jesus in Mark 9:
22 “It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” 23 And Jesus said to him, ” ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”
Note that Jesus said all things are possible to him who believes. So then, if we believe He will heal us, He will heal us! There is no exception or “way out” of this. Jesus didn’t say, “if you believe and if it is the Father’s will.” It is the Father’s will that we believe! The Apostle Paul wrote this in 1 Timothy 2:
3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.
The testimony has been given by Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. He has overcome the world and has sent those who believe to share that victory with the world. Let us cling then to what is written in 1 John 5:
4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world -our faith.
It is with our faith through and in Jesus Christ that we see people set free. If it were the will of God that we be sick, dead, and oppressed by demonic influence, then why were these things not in the Garden of Eden (the picture of God’s perfect harmony and will)? Furthermore, if it isn’t God’s will that all be healed, then why in the end of time do we look forward to a day where there is no more pain, death, and suffering? To say that God doesn’t want all to be healed is to reduce the love of God and give us excuses not to believe in it.
We might not understand exactly why one person gets healed immediately, another doesn’t get healed for years, and yet another dies while still afflicted. Let us not confuse our lack of knowledge of God’s process with His will. The scriptures show us that God over and over again heals those who trust in Him and that He wants all to trust in Him. The Greek word sozo is the word used for “salvation” in the New Testament, but time and again it is also used for describing people being healed and set free from demonic influence. God’s salvation (sozo) isn’t just about eternal life, but about being set free from the ramifications of sin. When sin entered the world, it brought pain, suffering, and death. If Jesus saved us from sin, He not only saved us from hell (eternal death), but from suffering and pain as well!
There will be a day when no one of these things afflict us, there will be no unbelief, and pain, death, and suffering will only be a memory. If we are working towards that perfect day, then we will continue to see glimpses of that process until that day. What’s more, we will see more and more of it as the day nears.