When I consider the earthly ministry of Jesus, I am most encouraged by the reassurance that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). St. Luke gives a verbatim report of Peter’s first speech, where Peter emphatically states that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; and He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him (Acts 10:38). The healings that took place in Jesus’ earthly ministry will happen even now because He is the same, yesterday, today and forever.
Who Does Jesus Heal?
In those days, people came to Him from all over. St. Matthew says they came in great crowds from Syria, Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan, and followed him (Matthew 4:24-25). St. Luke says they were from everywhere – from village to village ( Luke 9:6). And Jesus healed all who came to Him (Matthew 21:14); every single one of them was healed ( Luke 4:40-41). Clearly, the first group of people to receive the healing of Jesus are those who came to Him. In these days, people need to come to Jesus for healing, from all over; from everywhere, from village to village. He will surely heal every single one of them who comes because He does not reject any who come to Him (John 6:37).
According to Isaiah, Jesus was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, and the punishment that brought us peace was on Him so that by His wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). People simply need to come to Him for healing and He will do what He knows to do best (Acts 10:38).
Of note is that St. Mark claims Jesus healed many (not all) that were brought to Him (Mark 1:34), and as many as touched Him received their healing (Luke 6:17-19). This reveals another group of people who receive healing from Jesus, as those who were brought to Him, and those who touched Him. We must cultivate the practice of bringing people to Jesus so that many are likewise healed. When we bring them, we must certainly tell them to ensure they touch Him. This way, many amongst us will also be healed.
It is interesting that Jesus healed even those who did not ask Him for healing. Malchus, whose ear was cut off by Peter (John 18:10), the demoniac of Gadarene ( Luke 8:26-39), and the man who was born blind (cf. John 9) were all healed without asking for it. St. Peter says they were (and we are) healed because it was (and is) the will of the Lord that we are healed (1 Peter 2:24).
What Does Jesus Heal?
In St. Matthew’s account of the good works of Jesus, we see Him go throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and heal every disease and sickness among the people. As news about him spreads all over Syria, people bring to Him all who are ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, those who are demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed. And He healed them (Matthew 4:23-24)! There is no disease, sickness or illness that He did not heal.
If today, someone has an issue of haemorrhage – be it physical, emotional or financial, remember that Jesus healed the one with haemorrhage (Matthew 9:20-22). If it is a matter of every kind of disease and sickness, Jesus healed them (Matthew 15:30). If it is about being crippled – physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually, Jesus healed the crippled (Mark 2:9-12). Some feel rejected, isolated, abandoned, and discriminated against, just as the lepers did; Jesus healed lepers (Luke 17:12-16). Some are blinded in so many ways; Jesus healed the blind (John 9:6-7). Some are burning from high fevers; Jesus healed the febrile (Mark 1:29-31). Some are silenced in different ways; Jesus healed the mute (Luke 11:14).
What Does Healing by Jesus Involve?
Jesus Himself sets the conditions for being healed (Mark 2:17). The first thing is to acknowledge that there is a problem. Unless one is sick, they will not seek a physician. Unless one recognizes oneself as a sinner, they will not respond to the call to repentance (Luke 5:27-32). If one sees themselves to be righteous, they will not experience Jesus. We cannot experience the touch of Jesus based on our preexisting premises. We must follow His lead.
The second thing Jesus points out is that healing depends upon the faith of the people concerned. For some, it was the faith of the sick person; for others, it was the faith of those who asked on behalf of the sick. In the case of the woman with the hemorrhage, Jesus says her faith saved her from all her miseries (Mark 5:34). For us today, Jesus repeats the message that our faith will save us, bring us peace and cure our afflictions. In the healing of Jairus’ daughter, Jesus tells him not to fear but to just have faith (Mark 5:36). For us today, Jesus speaks the same encouraging words in spite of all the discouraging messages we receive from others, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” In the case of the healing of a boy with a demon, Jesus admonishes the disciples for their little faith that could not cure the boy (Matthew 17:14-20). For us today, Jesus encourages us to have faith the size of a mustard seed, so that we can command a mountain to move, and it sure moves! He assures us that with such faith, nothing will be impossible for us.
As for the paralytic who was brought to Jesus on a stretcher through the roof, Jesus saw their faith in their actions and forgave the paralytic of his sins (Luke 5:20). Jesus teaches us today, that the paralysis we face is many a time as a result of our sinful state. It is the forgiveness of our sins which releases us and sets us free from the paralyzed state. We see this in the physical healing of the paralytic (Matthew 9:2) and the spiritual healing of the sinful woman (Luke 7:47-48). Healing also involves liberating and freeing from the spirit of infirmity as recorded in the cure of the woman who had been crippled for eighteen years by a spirit (Mark 1:27). The point is that Jesus heals the afflicted, inflicted, obsessed and possessed alike.
When Does Jesus Heal?
Records show that the healings of Jesus happened any time of day. It could happen in the evening (Matthew 8:16), at sunset (Luke 4:40), or after sunset (Mark 1:32). It could be in the afternoon, such as happened with the son of the royal official in Capernaum (John 4:46-54) and at the pool at Bethsaida (John 5:1-15). What we need to know today is that Jesus is not limited by space or time. He heals at any time. Neither does the day matter since Jesus healed even on the Sabbath. The woman crippled for eighteen years was cured on a Sabbath (Luke 13:10-17), so was the man with a withered hand (Matthew 12:9-14).
Remember the Sabbath when Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing Him carefully to see what He would do about the man with dropsy, who was strategically put in front of Him (Luke 14:1-6). For Jesus, it does not matter who is plotting what, when or how. He simply asks a question on the legality of healing on the Sabbath, and no one is able to answer Him. Then, there was that man who had been ill for thirty-eight years and was lying by the pool even though he had no means of getting into the pool ahead of others. Jesus heals him without being asked to do so, on the Sabbath (John 5:5-9). It is important for us to understand that when the Father is at work, Jesus also, is at work (John 5:17).