“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all.” 1 Timothy 2:5-6
“And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” - John 17:5
God with Us
The past few weeks, we have seen how Christ’s incarnation is the single most important event in history. Its implications stretch far and wide in terms of our salvation, our healing, how we live our lives, and how we interact with God the Father. Christ’s divinity frees us from the bondage of sin paying our debt and dying in our place. His divinity gives us hope in life and no fear in death. Christ’s humanity gives us someone to relate to and shows His love for us in coming to our level in order to save us. He demonstrated humility and He shows us what practical holiness looks like.
Part of Christ’s divinity that we must accept is his pre-existence. Christ existed before time existed (John 1:1,14), the whole world was created by, through, and for Him (Colossians 1:16-20), and Christ was fully aware of these things yet humbled Himself (Philippians 2:5-11). The subject of Christ’s preexistence is one that has generated significant controversy both recently and historically. The New Testament testifies about this fact in a number of places. Robert Culver states that “in the New Testament, long before any council or synod formulated any formal, written creed or definition, the eternal preexistence of the Word made flesh (John 1:14) was a [strong belief] in the church of the apostolic age.” The greatest argument for Christ’s preexistence is Christ’s own testimony about Himself. He is the one who would be the most qualified to speak about Himself, as John 8:14 tells us. There are many, many examples of this but we’ll touch on two here. He tells Nicodemus that His birth town of Bethlehem was a step down when he spoke of Himself as One who came from Heaven (John 3:13). Another instance is during the Passion Week when He prayed “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”(John 17:5)
God our Healer
In Matthew 9, we see a number of miracles being performed by Christ, five to be exact. Four of the miracles are healings of a physical nature and the other was the raising of a dead girl. This chapter is just a small microcosm of the healing ministry of Christ. Matthew states in v. 35 that Jesus went through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and affliction. Peter testifies of this as well in Acts 10:38 when he said “[Jesus] went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil.” Jerry Bridges points out “Of all Peter could have said about Jesus’ ministry he focused on His doing good and healing people. The ultimate purpose of Jesus’ incarnation was of course to give His life as a ransom for many (Matt 20:28), but His three years of public ministry were characterized by doing good and healing people.” We see a two fold purpose in Christ’s miracles: they were an authentication of His divine Sonship and His compassion for human needs. John calls Christ’s miracles “signs” (2:11; 2:23; 4:54; 20:30-31) and Christ used the healing of the paralytic man in Matthew 9 to prove that He had the ability to forgive sins. Christ doesn’t only heal as proof of Sonship, but He heals because He cares deeply about human needs. Christ loves people. We see numerous times throughout Scripture that Christ was moved with compassion. Matthew tells us that
He had compassion upon them because they were like sheep without a shepherd (Matt 9:36). Another instance is when Christ saw the only son of a widow being carried out for burial, He had compassion on the woman and raised her from the dead (Luke 7:11-14).
Christ’s healing abilities come directly from His mission to make things right. He came to seek and save the lost, to draw all men and women to Himself, and to heal the broken hearted. He does this through the healing of our hearts from sin and through glorifying Himself in our bodies through healing and our good works.
Christ’s Healing Work Matters
Practically, Christ’s healing power is seen in our lives on multiple levels. Before we talk practicality, we must examine briefly how we can learn from Christ’s example. We must affirm that Christ desires to heal - first spiritually and then physically. Christ’s mission first and foremost was to heal our souls. He desires to heal the sickness of sin in our hearts and set us free from sin’s power. This healing is the most important healing that we can ever receive. Healing the body but not healing the soul is not compassionate but rather it is damning. Christ’s desire to heal souls does not eliminate His desire to physically heal people. God is a loving Father and Christ is a loving husband to His church, so naturally He would be willing and able to heal the physical problems in our lives. Through Christ’s humanity we see that God is an immensely personal God. He is so personal that He came in the flesh so that we may identify with Him. He is so personal that He sent the Spirit to dwell in our individual hearts.
Practically, we need to focus first on the spiritual nature of healing. The goal of healing needs to be the glory of God and the transformation or nourishment of the souls of the individual. We must focus on the larger picture. This does NOT mean that we don’t ask God to heal. Physical healing can lead to spiritual healing and vice-versa. God moves in ways that we don’t understand. Conversion is not our job. God saves people through the Holy Spirit; we don’t save people through our works or through our words. Signs, miracles, and healings will not save people, but they can be the means by which God saves those He has worked in.
One last important note is that we must be sensitive to the context of our healing prayers. The situations and people we engage with have feelings and backgrounds. We must be sensitive to these people and explain to them well about Christ’s love for them and that their healing is not necessarily contingent upon the amount of faith they have. God works as He wills and He doesn’t work in formulaic equations. He works individually and personally because He is a personal God. Our approach to healing should be Christ’s approach to healing. We must seek the will of the Father, we must ask in faith, and we must be compassionate, ALL for the glory of Christ, who is blessed forever, amen.