It is daunting to think about the healing ministry of Jesus. As we read the words of Luke, a physician, I confess it has been hard to watch two women in my life plead for ‘full’ healing. First, my mother had pregnancy onset Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Immediately after giving birth to a set of twins, the crippling effects of MS forced her into a wheelchair. Second, my wife now has the crippling disease of MS. Modern medication has facilitated slowing of the disease. But, the pleading for full healing was evident by both.
An example of my mom pleading for healing included being willing to have her whole body periodically immersed in an ice bath. My wife pleads for healing by accessing new medications. One intravenous medication called Tysabri stopped her M.S. progression in its tracks. She recently transitioned to an oral drug called Tecfidera. These medications slow overactive proteins from breaking down the myelin sheath (the covering) of the spinal nerves. This pleading and subsequent amazing effect of modern medicine reminds me of Luke 4:41-At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Is that the end of the story? Was my wife ‘simply’ healed by the amazing effects of modern medicine? No, because there is a larger story Jesus wants to share about healing much more than physical infirmities.
Luke 4:41 shares the larger context of; 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. In reflecting on this second portion of healing, three thoughts come to mind.
Healing is Different in Humankind’s View than God’s View
Humankind’s view of healing often focuses on the physical. God’s view of healing focuses on a larger picture. When demons came out of many people, this is God’s illustration of his divine nature of healing as a longstanding trait versus being temporary. Human’s healing is temporary. God’s healing is eternal. God rebuked the demons and they weren’t allowed to speak. God’s response is firm and more than physical.
Conversion is Initial Healing While Adhesion is Deeper
Conversion is a spiritual change from sinfulness to righteousness. Adhesion is the glue of fully knowing Jesus Christ. Adhesion is intimately experiencing the power of Christ’s death and resurrection (Philippians 3:10). In tears, a friend of mine recently told me about the passing of her 18 year old son. She shared II Corinthians 4:17 (for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all) brought a full healing in that her light and momentary troubles (afflictions) were overcome by understanding the suffering and ensuing eternal glory of Jesus Christ.
True Healing is Holistic Transformation
In Luke 4:41, Dr. Luke describes various kinds of sickness needing to be healed. One could suggest that various kinds of sickness includes more than physical infirmities. We are created as whole beings. When we suffer, healing can come in various forms. Jesus frequently talked about body, mind, and soul. It is not ironic that after healing, Jesus encourages us to go and make a difference. I Peter 4:19 illustrates this: So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
My wife shared this with permission from her journal: My daily battles with MS seem insignificant compared to a cousin who lost his spouse at age 39 to breast cancer. Two teenagers yet to raise, there are daily battles this family faces. And yet one important similarity-God is in the center of it all. Our focus is not on our circumstances because God is greater than all earthly tribulations. Sometimes God says “Yes” and sometimes He says “Not Yet.” Our only requirement in healing for this life is to remain faithful (Rev. 14:12) regardless of our circumstances.
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Thanks for your insights, Eric. Healing is certainly a “bigger” thing that we often consider. Your wife’s insights are also helpful. Please share my thanks with her, too.