D147 - Sickness is normal even among believers and some may remain sick
God never promises Christians that we will always be in perfect health. God does heal but it does not mean that healing takes place all the time and that healing is the reason that we are Christians. In fact, Jesus’ main purpose on earth was not healing although that was part of his ministry.
Some Christians make out the Apostle Paul to be a superhuman. It is recorded in the Bible that he had the gift of healing but even he had a sickness which he called a ‘thorn in the flesh’ (2 Cor 12:7) and which we should not dismiss lightly as a non-physical ailment.
In Gal 4:13-14, he thanked the Galatia church that despise his bodily illness they did not despise or loathe him but instead ‘received him as an angel of God.’
Paul also shared about others with sickness including:
- Timothy, his spiritual son, who had a troubled stomach – Paul’s counsel to him was to ‘use a little wine’ (1 Tim 5:23),
- Trophimus was someone that Paul left for sick in Miletus (2 Tim 4:30). Could not Paul had laid hands on him to be well while he was at Miletus? The Bible does not say anything one way or the other but what we know is that Trophimus ‘was sick’,
- Epaphroditus, a highly respected and loved brother in Christ of Paul, was critically sick to the point of death but ‘God had mercy on him’ (Phil 2:27).
In the Old Testament, we have a few cases of people who died (or suspected to have died) of sicknesses including:
- Prophet Elisha – Yes, the great prophet died of a sickness despite performing miracles (2 Kings 13:14),
- King Hezekiah – He probably died of cancer (2 Kings 20), and
- King David – He probably died of cancer. We can speculate based on his symptoms. (1 Kings 1:1)
In our current days, we have also witnessed the premature death of a few young heroes of the faith –
- Evangelist Nabeel Qureshi – the author of New York Times‘ Bestselling book – Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus – who died of stomach cancer in Sep 2017, and
- XinWei Schroeder who founded the ‘House of Mephibosheth’ which serves the disabled children and abandoned babies in China and who succumbed to breast cancer in July 2015.
Christians are not immune to sickness, just like Christians do get wet when we walk in the rain. Jesus said in Matt 5:45 –
‘For he (God) makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.’
Without doubt, faith does play an important part in healing.
Jesus, for example, went back to Nazareth to minister but
‘he did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief’ (Matt 13:58).
Mark 6:5 said that he could only
‘lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.’
The Greek word for ‘unbelief’ is apistia or unbelief/ unfaithfulness/ distrust. Our faith can release or hinder the healing process.
Christians are to walk in faith, trusting the Lord in all circumstances. Even if we are not yet healed, we must stay in faith and continue praying.
See this short teaching video from Ps Kong Hee of Singapore. Click here.
- D157 – Jesus encouraged those who are not healed to continue believing, and
- D189 – Our faith towards God can do powerful things.
D148 - Sins may result in sickness
In various healing scenarios, Jesus would forgive their sins before he healed them. Like the case of the paralyzed man who was lowered to him by his friends from the roof (Luke 5:20), and a thirty-eight years’ invalid who was lying by the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-14). Jesus’ word to the latter was
‘See, you are well. Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you’ (John 5:14).
Does it not imply that the latter was engaged in some form of sin that resulted in his condition?
In 1 Cor 11:27-30, Paul explained that believers ought to examine themselves before they come to partake communion as if we drink the Lord’s cup ‘in an unworthy manner’, we could be bringing ‘judgment to ourselves’. 1 Cor 11:29 –
‘For this reason, many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.’
We know, from a medical perspective, that continuous engagement of a person with various sexual partners can bring about sexual diseases. In the same way, we know that continuous binge consumption of alcohol can bring about a damaged liver.
So, certain sins do bring about sickness. Nonetheless, the context of Jesus’ comments probably covered beyond these illnesses too.
D149 - Some sicknesses maybe linked to demonic possession
Jesus cast out many who were demon possessed. Here are some situations in order to recognize demon possession:
- The unclean spirit would throw the victim into convulsions or spasms (as defined by the Greek word sparasso) – Mark 1:26,
- A person could not talk because it had a mute spirit (Matt 9:33),
- In Matt 12:22, the person was both dumb and blind,
- In Matt 17:15, it talks about seizures (or epilepsy) and falling into the fire or into the water,
Demon possession is real. It was real during the time of Jesus and it is certainly real today. Some sicknesses may in fact be linked to demon possession.
Christians will have to discern before acting as unwise involvement can result in more problems than solutions. There is also the challenge of distinguishing between mental illness and demonic possession.
In our current situation, we have a modern world that does not believe in demons. Hence, exorcism is looked upon with disdain and a demonstration of superstition.
D150 - Sicknesses may represent a trial
Even the Apostle Paul had a sickness that did not go away. In 2 Cor 12:7, he explained it as something that prevented him from being conceited. In effect, it was a personal trial. Paul asked for relief three times and yet each time, the Lord assured him that
‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness’ (2 Cor 12:9).
Sickness may be a trial for some of us. Hence, do not be arrogant even if we are doing fine. We will never know the purpose of sickness for the other person.
See D128, The Lord will cause us to grow through test.
D151 - Continuous sinning despite healing can put a person in a dire straits
Luke 11:24-26 talks about a case of a person who has been healed of an unclean spirit and how it returns to its original house (the person) and brings even more spirits to go alongside with him. How is that possible?
It is a consistent instruction from the Lord that once a person is rescued by the Lord, that person should not carry on sinning.
Continuous sinning opens believers up to other forms of spiritual attacks, including severe spiritual possession.
B152 - Jesus healed
The Bible writes and declares unequivocally that Jesus healed:
- Peter’s mother-in-law (Matt 8:14-15),
- He healed people who came to him (Matt 19:2),
- He healed someone who was possessed by an evil spirit (Mark 1:21-28),
- He healed a woman with hunchback (Luke 13:11-13).
These were but a few of his supernatural healing.
Of course, it was reported that he raised the following people from the dead:
- Lazarus (John 11:38-44).
- The daughter of Jairus (Luke 8:49-56),
- and the son of a widow at Nain (Luke 7:11-17).
Healing was part of his ministry although it was not his primary purpose for being on earth. For more information, see the following:
- D34 – Jesus’ purpose on earth was to reveal the Father,
- D37 – Jesus came to save that which was lost, and
- D54 – Jesus is the healer.
D153 - Jesus healed to prove his divinity
If Jesus could bring about a healing miracle, would it not prove a point that he could possibly forgive sins or that he could be divine?
That was what happened when he healed a paralytic and declared,
“Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?” (Mark 2:9).
Hence, Jesus could exclaimed,
‘Even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father’ (John 10:38), as
‘The works that I (Jesus) do in my Father’s name bear witness about me’ (John 10:25).
D154 - Jesus healed out of compassion
Jesus healed because he was compassionate.
Matt 14:14 says,
‘When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed the sick.’
The Greek word for compassion is splagchnizomai or be moved in the inward parts/ feel compassion/ have pity on/ am moved.
Again, in Matt 20:34, he healed a blind man because ‘Jesus in pity (moved with compassion) touched their eyes.’
Jesus showed the compassion of God; God is not a cold, unbending and righteous judge but one who can be moved with compassion.
See D62, Jesus had great compassion for more information.
D155 - Jesus healed because of our faith
To the lady with an issue of blood, Jesus healed and commended that her faith had made her well (Matt 9:22). A little later, he said the same thing to two blind men who were seeking Jesus’ healing (Matt 9:29).
It was similar with a Canaanite woman who sought for miraculous healing of her daughter from being oppressed by a demon (Matt 15:28).
Our faith is a very big deal.
Jesus could not do any healing in Nazareth because
‘he did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief’ (Matt 13:58).
Mark 6:5 said that he could only ‘lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.’
- D147 – Sickness is normal even among believers and some may remain sick.
D156 - Jesus healed people who sought him desperately
In Matt 9:27-29, there were two blind men who followed him while crying out,
‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!’
It was a reflection of their desperate faith. In Matt 20:30-34, we see another two blind men, crying out to Jesus as well.
Who can forget blind Bartimaeus, who, went told by others to be silent, decided to raise his voice even more with his desperate cry of ‘Son of David, have mercy on me’ (Mark 10:48)?
Jesus healed people who sought him desperately. But Jesus may not heal all the time.
Please see D150 – Sickness may represent a trial; for despite Paul’s request for healing on three occasions, he was not spared his sickness (2 Cor 12:9).
- D34 – Jesus never imposed and
- D147 – Sickness is normal even among believers and some may remain sick.
D157 - Jesus encouraged those who are not healed to keep believing
When people came to Jairus and told him not to other the Teacher, Jesus’ reply was simply,
‘Don’t be fear, only believe’ (Mark 5:36).
As Christians, we are to continue believing and praying unless the Lord had specifically told us otherwise.
B197 explains why we must pray unceasingly. See also B198, Pray and persist always.
D158 - Jesus healed even when others intercede for the sick
There were many people who made requests of healing for others. And Jesus healed them.
- A well spoken centurion man of great faith made a request of healing for his servant (Matt 8:6, Luke 7:3-4),
- A synagogue leader, Jairus, sought healing for his daughter who had just died (Matt 9:18, Mark 5:23, Luke 8:41),
- A Canaanite woman requested healing for her demon-possessed daughter (Matt 15:22),
- Four men who assisted their paralyzed friend by removing the roof in order to lower him down to Jesus (Mark 2:3-5),
- A group of friends who brought a deaf and speech impeded man to ask for Jesus’ healing (Mark 7:31-35),
- A group of friends who brought a blind man and begged Jesus to heal him (Mark 8:22),
- A father who pleaded on behalf of his son who had a deaf and mute spirit (Mark 9:24),
- A government official whose son was gravely ill (John 4:47-50).
We can request healing on behalf of other people. Please see
- D147, Sickness is normal even among believers and some may remain sick, and
- D157, Jesus encouraged those who are not healed to continue believing.
D159 - Jesus used unorthodox healing methods
In Mark 7:33, while healing a man with impeded speech and deafness, Jesus said:
‘Taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue.’
In another incident, while healing someone who was blind, he spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him (Mark 8:23). At another time, he spat on the ground, made some mud, and applied it on the eyes of a blind man (John 9:6-7).
In the Book of Acts, we saw the use of Paul’s handkerchiefs in performing healing (Acts 19:11-12).
Jesus could have spoken to these people to heal them. But he chose a few, unhygienic unorthodox methods.
Why? We will never know. But unorthodox methods are not to be dismissed because God is oftentimes unconventional and we cannot keep him within our mind-box.
D160 - In some healing situations, only his closest disciples were allowed to be with him
When Jesus raised the twelve year-old daughter of Jarius back to life, he only had his three closest disciples (Peter, James and John, the brother of James) to be with him (Mark 5:37).
It was a very tight inner circle. Prior to that, we know some people were suggesting that it was too late to heal her anymore as she was already dead.
Some Christians proposed that Jesus had limited the number in accompanying him in order to maintain the element of faith in the room. Or it might be just a simple explanation – as there was not enough space in the room occupied by the girl. We will never know as there is not enough clarity here.
All we learn is that all times, Jesus sometimes only allowed his closest disciples to follow him.
D161 - Jesus rebuked the sickness
D162 - Jesus rebuked the devil when conducting healing
In Matt 17:18, we have a situation of a boy who kept having seizures and falling into various dangerous elements. When brought before Jesus, he rebuked the demon and healed him.
Jesus must have discerned that it was a devil that was in each of them. Jesus used different approaches to heal the sick.
D163 - Jesus commissioned his disciples to heal the sick
In Matt 10:1, Jesus called his twelve disciples and commissioned them with authority to go out and drive out impure spirits and to heal all sickness. This was a specific ministry.
Again, he did the same with seventy-two of his disciples, getting them to go two by two into towns and places ahead of him and healing the sick (Luke 10:9).
In Acts, the Apostle Peter healed a man named Aeneas who was bedridden for eight years as well as he raised Dorcas (Tabitha) from the dead. Both incidents brought tremendous attention to the power of God so much as that ‘many believed in the Lord’ (Acts 9:42).
Healing was so much a part of these disciples even as they bring the message of Jesus to the people. Healing causes people to sit up and take notice (Acts 9:35).
D164 - Some healing/ exorcism requires prayer and fasting
Some healing cases may require more than a declaration of faith. We might involve faith with prayer and fasting.
D165 - Jesus' healings were verified
Jesus healed a leper. Lepers were considered outcasts and they had to live away from the main population. After the healing, Jesus said to the leper,
‘Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them’ (Mark 1:44).
In today’s terminology, go get an MRI or a blood test to verify that all is well.
Objective verification of healing is endorsed by Jesus.
D166 - Healing happens when the healer has 'power'
In Mark 5:30, while moving among a crowd, Jesus suddenly realized that ‘power had gone out from him.’
In Luke 5:17, it reiterates a day when Jesus was teaching in a village and ‘the power of the Lord was with him to heal.’ It was the same in Luke 6:19 where it described how the crows sought to touch him because ‘power came out from him and healed them all.’ There was power that followed Jesus’ healing.
The Greek word for ‘power’ is dunamis or physical power/ force/ might/ energy. People could feel it.
D167 - God can heal supernaturally even in a non-Christian environment
In John 5:3-4, the Pool of Bethesda was known for its ability to heal. It is reported that an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water. Some biblical versions do not include the part regarding the angels (v4). But we do know that healing took place there as
‘a multitude of invalids – blind, lame, and paralyzed’ waited for that moment.
Does God heal beyond his followers?
In his sovereignty, we have biblical evidence that shows God heals supernaturally beyond the walls of the church and his followers.
Why does this take place? We will never know.