EDUCATING OUR WORLD

Question: Why Did Jesus Heal The Sick?

Answer: As we examine the healing ministry of Jesus Christ we find an assorted list of sicknesses, ailments, and infirmities which He healed. There is no doubt about this. Nobody denied His ability to heal. This included His enemies.

We also discover that there are a number of reasons as to why Jesus healed the sick. They include the following.

Jesus’ Healings Fulfilled Prophecies Of The Coming Messiah

The four gospels tell us that Jesus supernaturally healed people to fulfill biblical prophecies. Matthew records that Jesus took the infirmities of the people in fulfillment of Old Testament predictions. He writes.

That evening many people with demons in them were brought to Jesus. And with only a word he forced out the evil spirits and healed everyone who was sick. So God’s promise came true, just as the prophet Isaiah had said, “He healed our diseases and made us well” (Matthew 8:16,17 CEV)

These healings miracles of Jesus fulfilled the following prophecy of Isaiah.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:4 NIV)

Jesus, by healing the people during His public ministry, fulfilled this particular prophecy by Isaiah.

Matthew records another instance when Jesus Christ fulfilled a prophecy by Isaiah. He recorded the following episode.

Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah (Matthew 12:15-17 ESV).

Thus, one purpose of Jesus’ healing miracles was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

Jesus Did Healing Miracles So That People Could Know Their Sins Were Forgiven

On one occasion, Jesus said that He performed a healing miracle so that a person could know that their sins were forgiven. Again, we read about this in Matthew.

But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2:10-12 NIV).

This is another of the many purposes of Jesus’ healings; to be certain He had the authority to forgive sins.

Jesus Healed To Show John The Baptist That He Was The Promised Messiah

Jesus also performed miracles to show His forerunner, John the Baptist, that He was indeed the long-awaited Messiah. Matthew records the following.

When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me” (Matthew 11:2-6 NIV).

In this particular instance, Jesus performed a number of healing miracles to confirm to John the Baptist the He was indeed the genuine Messiah. John did not have to look for another person to come along.

Jesus Healed To Display The Works Of God

Jesus also said that His healing miracles were to display God’s works to the people and thus God would receive the glory. John records Jesus explaining as to why He was about to heal a certain blind man.

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3 NIV).

Jesus said that the infirmity that this man had was for a distinct purpose; that God’s works might be displayed in him.

In another instance, Jesus said the same thing about the death of Lazarus. John wrote.

But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this” (John 11:4 NLT).

The healing miracles were accomplished to publicly display God’s works. Thus, God would receive the glory.

Jesus Healed So That People Might Believe In Him

John tells us that Jesus performed these healing signs so that people might believe in Him. Indeed, this was the main purpose of the signs which Jesus did. John explained it in this manner.

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20:30-31 ESV).

These miraculous healings of Jesus Christ were for the purpose of causing belief in the people who witnessed them. This is the reason why the miracles are also called “signs.” Indeed, they were signs to the people that the Messiah, or Christ, had arrived.

There Was Always A Purpose For Jesus’ Healings

There is something else which we must appreciate. Whenever Jesus healed the sick there was always a distinct purpose for the particular healing. In other words, He did not heal just for the sake of healing. We can make a number of important observations about this.

Jesus Did Not Heal Everyone

For one thing, we find that Jesus did not heal everyone who needed to be healed. Indeed, on several recorded occasions we find that Jesus departed from sick and infirmed people without healing them.

Jesus Healed Only One Of Man Infirmed People At The Pool Of Bethesda

An example of this is found when Jesus healed a certain infirmed man at the pool of Bethesda. Scripture says.

In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years (John 5:3-5 NKJV).

There were many infirmed people at the pool of Bethesda on that day. Jesus only healed one of them. Therefore, the Lord left many people in their state of physical infirmity.

We most note that this passage contains variations in the text. It is not certain whether the description of the angel stirring up the water was what John originally wrote. The Greek manuscripts differ. Thus, many translations have the passage read as follows.

Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years (John 5:3,5 NIV).

No matter which reading of the text is accurate, it is clear that Jesus did not heal everyone who was at that pool.

Jesus Left The Town Of Capernaum Without Healing Everyone

Another example can be found at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry. After healing many sick people in Capernaum in the evening, Jesus left the town early the next morning. Mark explains why this took place.

That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons (Mark 1:32-39 NIV).

This passage gives further evidence that Jesus did not come to earth mainly to heal people. Indeed, according to His own testimony He came to preach. The healing miracles provided evidence that His teaching did originate from God. The crowds were looking for Him because they wanted to bring their sick to be healed. However, Jesus had more important things to accomplish; preaching the message that God’s kingdom had arrived in the Person of the King.

Jesus Did Turn Perform Miracles Upon Request Or Demand

Jesus Christ did not heal everyone who was ill. Neither did He perform healing miracles whenever they were requested or demanded.

Jesus Would Not Give The Religious Leaders A Sign When They Demanded One

Indeed, He refused to perform signs to convince the religious leaders of His identity. We find that the religious leaders were demanding some type of sign from Jesus. However, He would not give them a sign except the sign of Jonah. Matthew records their question as well as His response.

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:38-40 ESV).

Their request for a sign was not genuine. Indeed, Matthew records that previous to this question Jesus had healed multitudes of sick people in their presence. This includes those who were blind, mute and deaf. They had witnessed these healing miracles. Consequently, to ask for a sign from Jesus was intellectually dishonest. Indeed, they had seen plenty of signs.

Jesus Would Not Perform A Miracle For Herod

When Jesus was arrested and brought before King Herod we are told that the king wanted to see some sign from Him. The Bible says.

When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer (Luke 23:8,9 NIV).

However, Jesus did not perform a miracle merely because some godless king demanded it. His miracles were done only when He had a distinct reason to do them. Otherwise, He would not perform them.

In sum, we note that each and every healing had to do with Jesus’ identity as the Messiah as well as His mission. Never do we find a person being healed merely to benefit them physically. Indeed, there was always a greater purpose for the healing miracles of our Lord.

Summary To Question 8 Why Did Jesus Heal The Sick?

As we examine the healing ministry of Jesus Christ we find an assorted list of sicknesses, ailments, and infirmities which He healed. There is no doubt that He miraculously healed the sick. This being the case we must ask ourselves the question as to why He did it. Why did Jesus heal the infirmed? There are a number of reasons which the four gospels provide for us.

For one thing, Jesus healed the sick and infirmed in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Indeed, the predictions about the coming Messiah in the Old Testament include predictions of supernatural healing. The credentials of the genuine Messiah would include the miraculous healing of the sick.

Another reason Jesus healed also had to do with His identity. When Jesus healed a certain paralyzed man He said that it was to demonstrate that people could know that He had the authority to forgive sins. Thus, Jesus not only made claims about Himself, He backed up these claims with miraculous healings. Unlike other religious leaders, Jesus Christ supported His divine claims with supernatural deeds.

John the Baptist had some concerns about Jesus. He sent messengers to Christ to ask Him if they should be looking for another Messiah to come. To let John know that He was indeed the promised Messiah Jesus healed the sick in the presence of these messengers. The Lord then told them to tell John what they witnessed. Therefore, Jesus’ healings were a testimony to John.

Scripture also says that Jesus’ healing were a display of the wonderful works of God. From the many healing miracles of Jesus, we find that the God of the Bible has the ability to heal the sick.

The main reason that Jesus healed the sick was to authentic Himself as the genuine Messiah. In other words, it was to show that the claims He made about Himself were true. Indeed, nobody could do these sorts of miracles which Jesus continually did unless He had come down from heaven above. Therefore, the healing miracles testified that He was the One whom He claimed to be; God the Son.

Thus, we find that there was always a purpose for Jesus miracles. This is why we discover that there were certain people which Christ did not heal. In point of fact, Jesus did not merely heal anyone and everyone who was ill. The healings always furthered the message that Jesus was the promise Messiah.

Consequently the main reason for the miraculous healings was not for the personal benefit of those who were infirmed. While they certainly did benefit from Jesus’ healing signs, this was not the main reason as to why He did it.

This explains Jesus would not produce some healing miracle on the request or demand of others. The religious rulers demanded a sign from Jesus. Yet He would not produce a sign on their mere demand. When Jesus was brought before Herod, the evil king wanted to see Jesus perform some miracle. Yet He would not do this.

Again, we stress that the healings only took place when it was necessary to further the message of Jesus about the kingdom of God. Otherwise the healing miracles were not necessary.

This question is from my forthcoming book “Divine Healing”

ABOUT DON STEWART

Don Stewart is an internationally recognized Christian apologist and speaker. He graduated cum laude from Talbot Theological Seminary and the International Seminar in Theology and Law in Strasbourg, France, as well as from Biola University. Don is also a best-selling and award-winning author/co-author of over seventy books. [ read more ]

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