Healing isn’t the gospel, but the gospel isn’t the gospel without healing. The Apostolic message has been, since the beginning, that Christ is risen and that the Presence of the Holy Spirit is proof. Of the messages recorded for us, of the teachings included in the narratives, of the epistolary literature we have, there is scant few didactic statements regarding healing. Healing is almost always contained within the construct of a narrative: included in an imperative from Christ, requested from someone in need, or simply recorded as part of the normal exercise of kingdom commission. It’s consistently part of the story, but rarely the content of the message. And yet we do, we should, we must emphasize healing as part of the ministry of the gospel. Why? A reasonable, quickly-read apologetic follows:
We emphasize healing:
- Because healing is an essential expression of Christ. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power and He went about doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s tyranny” (Acts 10:38). This was Peter’s one-sentence summary of the life and ministry of Jesus. It isn’t possible to adequately, accurately, express Christ without a profound emphasis on healing – for Jesus was (and is) a profound healer. If we are to be any sort of authentic expression of Christ in our community, we must emphasize Christ the healer.
- Because compassion is our commission: Each of the four gospels record one or more instances of Jesus sending out his followers to continue His work. For example, Matthew 4 and 9 both record, in the same words, the ministry of Jesus as going about “healing every sickness and every disease” (see 4:23 and 9:35). And when Jesus sends out his followers, he commissions them to continue His work, exactly (compare 10:1 – they were to do the same thing Jesus had been doing). When you consider this passage with Luke 9, Luke 10, Mark 16, and John 20 (as the Father has sent me, so I am sending you) – it is clear that the compassion that Jesus exercised is the commission that Jesus expects.
- Because if we don’t emphasize healing, sickness will emphasize itself. Sickness is a bully. It barges in. It takes over. It talks over. It interrupts. It’s stubborn. It’s rude. It shows up un announced, unwanted, and unwelcomed. It just keeps showing up. It shows up in the homes of the wealthy and the needy. It torments the kind and the cruel. It emphasizes itself in families, communities, epidemics, the elderly, the young, and everywhere. It is relentless. It doesn’t matter if you always wash your hands and only eat carrots. Sickness will seek a way into your life (it doesn’t have a right to, and it doesn’t have to, but it will try). Therefore, we emphasize healing like we’d emphasize a dam when facing a flood. We emphasize healing like we emphasize light when surrounded by darkness. We emphasize healing because sickness is a co-dependent drama-queen who never stops calling attention to itself. We emphasize healing because sickness doesn’t deserve the attention it demands. People aren’t diseases. People aren’t disabilities. People aren’t defined by their pain, their challenge, or their need. Healing reminds us that people are defined by their hope, their calling, their identity, and their destiny.
- Because the gravity of decay is constant. To overcome or resist gravity, it requires quite a bit of thrust. The g-force felt by lift-off is gravity’s protest of your defiance. And the decay of sin: darkness, disease, despair… is a gravitational constant. Without resistance it would pull us in and down. Therefore, we rejoice by faith; we hope; we love; we persevere; and we keep emphasizing healing.
- Because our ability to adapt may be one of our greatest assets, but it’s also an Achilles Heel. Adaptation is key to survival. We adapt to changes in climate, in circumstance, and routines. We adapt. It keeps us from going crazy or dropping dead. It also enables us to adjust, little by little, to the encroachment of sickness. It enables us to choose a path of lesser resistance, to cope, to accommodate, to adapt. Adaptation enables us to make room for the bully of disease in our lives, homes, churches and communities. We’re so good at adaptation that we are able to often and quickly redefine a new normal. But healing isn’t an adaptation to disease. Healing is a refutation. Healing is an insistence that we will draw a line, “this far, and no further.”
- Because we have real hope. Healing is a claim laid on the hope we have in Christ for today and for the future. We emphasize healing even in, and perhaps especially in, the face of delay or defeat. Disease does not have the final word, because not even death does. If death has lost its victory, then disease has certainly lost its bragging rights. Healing, as an in-breaking of the power of the world to come, is a reminder of the hope we yet have for eternity.
- Because Jesus paid for it. There was real purpose in the stripes on His back. There was real payment in the broken body of Jesus. Jesus deserves to get what He paid for.
- Because healing remains one of humanity’s greatest needs, one of Scripture’s greatest promises, and one of the greatest expressions of the Gospel. We emphasize healing because we need to. We will emphasize healing as long as hope allows. We will emphasize healing until we no longer have any need of it, until there is no more crying and no more tears. Until we are all healed, forever.
Thanks for reading. If you need healing, I welcome the opportunity to pray with you. Use the comment section below, and let me know.
Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,