Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tell how the Son of God lived on this earth for 33 years.
In his last three years on earth, Jesus preached and taught the people of Israel.
One of the most prominent features of His teaching was the way He consistently performed miraculous healings.
And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. Acts 10:38 (NLT)
This is how the Apostle Peter summarised the healing ministry of Jesus.
He makes no distinction between exorcisms and healing physical sickness.
Jesus saw demon possession, deafness, blindness and physical sickness as manifestations of evil.
When John the Baptist was in prison, he was tempted to despair of his faith. He sent his disciples to Jesus, seeking reassurance.
Mt 11:4-5 (ESV) And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see:
the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.
Clearly Jesus also saw Healing as a central feature of His ministry.
When Jesus appointed His Apostles, the first thing He did was to give them authority to heal.
And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. Mt 10:1 (ESV)
If we look at church history and examine the practices of many churches in the Western World, we see only some churches emphasise healings and miracles.
- Many other churches consider this unbalanced and yet they read the same Bible that shows Jesus was a healing evangelist.
For Jesus and the early church, healing the sick was an essential part of the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
Where did the Western church go wrong?
Why have we strayed from the ways of Jesus so clearly presented in the New Testament?
After the fall of the Roman Empire in the Europe, most people were poor and illiterate.
Faith the Word of God was replaced with faith in religious traditions including prayers to saints and bathing with holy water. Healing and miracles became associated with very unbiblical practices.
When Luther and Calvin restored the Bible as the only source of spiritual authority, they rejected the papacy. They also condemned faith in miracles obtained by prayers to saints or touching sacred objects. This was idolatry.
However they made the mistake of rejecting all healing miracles.
Calvin taught that the miraculous ministry of Jesus and the Apostles were not a model to imitate.
He taught they did miracles to prove that Jesus was the Son of God and to confirm the truth of the Gospel of salvation.
Once the church and the gospel were established, they considered miracles were no longer necessary but were counterfeit miracles associated with Roman Catholic idolatry.
Once the miraculous element was banished from much of Western Christianity, faith in scientific materialism was blended with biblical belief.
Faith in human reason began to supplement and then replace faith in the Word of God.
This is why many Christians in Britain, Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand find it difficult to receive divine healing or to exercise faith for miracles.
Our whole culture has been corrupted by systematic unbelief in God’s supernatural power.
Faith is a personal matter but it is also corporate. Faith is contagious but unbelief is also contagious.
Conservative Protestant tradition and academic theology have made unbelief respectable in in Europe and North America.
The result has been a catastrophic decline of faith amongst professing Christians and the abandonment of Christianity by the majority of Europeans.
But God has not changed and the Bible has not changed.
God loves you.
He knows you are broken and wounded in many ways. We all are.
We all emotional issues that cause us pain and prevent us from being all we could be.
We all get sick from time to time and many of us have bodily functions that don’t operate as they should.