Acts 17:11 Archives

Healing and Miracles

In answer to the questions: "Does God still heal people?" and "Why did Jesus heal the blind guy twice?" by Dean VanDruff.

I take the underlying "point" of physical miracles as sermons or parables.

John 20:25,37-38 (NIV) Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me... Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father."

If we question whether God can heal physically, which even a good doctor or nature can do occasionally, then there is no way that we will believe He can heal us spiritually.

John 3:12 (NIV) "I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?"

Jer 13:23 (NIV) Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.

The problem with physical healings, joyous as they are, is that they are temporary. I, for example, had an eye injury which was miraculously healed, for which I was very grateful. But a mere 70 years from now (short of the Lord's return) my eyes will have maggots eating them. The way of all flesh is decay, although if it is my eyes, or someone I love, that are temporarily healed then I will dance a jig of happiness--you can be sure. My point is that physical healing miracles are only an eddy current in the general current of the way of all flesh.

2Cor 4:18 (NIV) For we are looking all the time not at the visible things but at the invisible. The visible things are transitory: it is the invisible things that are really permanent.

Jesus healed then, and He does so now as well; but this is not His ultimate work since all flesh stands ultimately condemned in His sight. So why physical, healing miracles? Well, because at a human level "He had compassion" (Mt 20:34), and at a spiritual level not all will understand a spoken sermon, but some will "get it" if a leper's skin is made whole (spiritually symbolic of being purged of the judgments of sin) right in front of their eyes, or a crippled man is all of a sudden able to walk upright (symbolic of being able to stop sinning), or a blind person is able to see again (symbolic of healed from hypocrisy and pretense). The miracles "speak for Him" long after a sermon might be forgotten.

John 10:25,37-38 (NIV) Jesus answered, "...The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me... Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father."

Again, the lame man is only given a few more decades to use his legs if he is healed and then they will fail him again, and the leper's healed skin is a temporary fix till it will rot again, and so forth. But hopefully he--and others--will get the message that "Jesus saves" via this physical sermon, and receive the real deal: spiritual, eternal salvation. I am not making light of physical healing, but rather pointing out that it is temporary, ephemeral, like a shadow of something else that is more real than it. Physical healing is like a sign-post pointing the way towards spiritual healing.

Mark 8:23-25 (NIV) He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?" He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around." Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

This particular partial, then full healing, is instructive of the occasional dynamic of spiritual healing. Occasionally, it is not all at once, but successive. If this happens to us, then we can relate to this blind man. It is not as if Jesus couldn't have done it all at once, but he had some purpose in doing it in stages. And so it is with us, on occasion. It is like all of a sudden I have some spiritual insight (knowledge), but have no idea what the meaning of it is (understanding) or what I should do about it (wisdom). "Lord, they look like trees walking around!" A second touch is needed. More often, God heals fundamental flaws in us "suddenly" with His "rushing wind" (Acts 2:2). But if not all at once, we need not despair as this particular miracle gives us hope that it may take more than one treatment.

Consider the following verse by the beloved John in this light.

1Jn 3:5 (NIV) But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

Now I heartily agree with this verse, as I am living proof that it is true, and not by my own strength or righteousness--that is for sure. But there was a time that such verses "looked like walking trees" to me. I saw them as only condemning, convicting, showing me up as a spiritual cripple, leper, and fraud. Well, that is a what Scripture is for, to "rebuke" all in me that is worthy of condemnation, such as my flesh (1Tm 3:16). But there was more than this, and I was letting myself be "led astray" by demonic doctrine that said, in effect, "God was only kidding about all the righteousness stuff, just 'claim' to be saved and don't worry about really being saved". Against such unbelief, John prods us on to realize that God does not save halfway; that His salvation is not a mental delusion; that He really does heal and save. He is able to do it, and He will do it. Thus, rather than ignore such verses or be "led astray" by those who have yet to grow into them or who reject the truth; we ought to see them as a lifeline of faith, a "word of faith" to encourage belief that God really can and will save ME (unbelievable, without the quickening of the Spirit by faith) and make ME a completely new person/creation. For this, in practical effect, is what it means to be a "believer" or not.

Mt 9:28 (NIV) When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?"...

Most often, healing comes all at once, as God wants us not to confuse His power and life with fallen-nature processes. But occasionally, He will heal in stages. If this is us, and Paul or John or Peter are speaking of a "normal Christian life" that is way over our heads, then rather than despair we can simply ask for another touch.

1Peter 5:6 (NIV) Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

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