Healing in the New Testament- Part Two

Oct 31, 2014

healing-of-the-blind-man-cropped

Another type of healing that the Gospels record are those people with some kind of serious medical condition or disease. This story can be found in Mark 5:24-34. The woman in the story had had some kind of menstrual disorder for over twelve years. She had spent her life savings on going to doctors who had not been able to cure her.

Because of the Jewish Law, this woman’s condition would have rendered her ceremonially unclean and would have banned her from attending any public events. Because of her medical condition, she had lost her health, her wealth, and her place in society and the religious community. The unnamed woman had evidently heard enough about Jesus that it caused faith to grow in her heart.

The woman felt that the large crowd that was pressing in around Jesus would give her the perfect cover to approach him unnoticed. There was a common belief in the ancient world that a healer’s clothes also contained healing power. As Jesus walked by in the middle of the crowd, the sick woman pressed through the throng and reached out to touch Jesus’ robe. She did not want him to know that she had touched him. Her touch would make Jesus unclean, and she also did not want to be humiliated in a public setting.

As her hand touched Jesus’ robe, the bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was healed. The interesting thing was that Jesus “realized that power had gone out from him.” He felt something as well. The Gospel writers paint a humorous picture of Jesus stopping suddenly after the woman touched him, forcing the entire crowd to stop, as well.

Jesus’ question of “Who touched my clothes?” was met by derision from his disciples. With the large crowd around Jesus, many people were touching and pressing up against him. When the woman realized that Jesus knew something had happened, she fell on her knees in front of him and told her story. Jesus had some very kind words for her: “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:34) A better translation of this would be, “Your faith has saved you.” This is a much more literal translation from the Greek.

Jesus actually seems to be telling this woman that she had not only been healed. Her faith had also led to her salvation. Jesus only uses this phrase a few times in the Gospels. It seems possible that many other people were healed but did not necessarily experience salvation.

Still another type of healing that Jesus performed was where someone had been born with some type of disability. He healed people who were lame from birth, deaf, mute and blind. John provides an excellent example of this in John 9. This was a man who had been born blind. When Jesus encountered him, he spat on the ground, made some mud and rubbed the mud on the blind man’s eyes. Jesus then told him to go wash the mud off in the Pool of Siloam.

Presumably, the man had someone lead him to the pool where he washed the mud out of his eyes. When he opened his eyes, he could see for the first time in his life. For the man who was healed, he became the center of controversy. The religious leaders questioned him closely and eventually excommunicated him from the synagogue because he believed that Jesus was a prophet. Jesus had performed this healing on the Sabbath. According to the strictest interpretation of the Jewish Law, the only healings that could be performed on the Sabbath were if someone was dying. This was clearly not the case with a blind man, so the religious leaders felt that Jesus was breaking the Sabbath.

As John so often did in his Gospel, he uses this healing as an opportunity for Jesus to use it to share a deeper spiritual truth. Jesus drew a contrast between this man who had been born blind but could now see with the religious leaders. They had their physical sight but were spiritually blind.

These are a few examples of different kinds of healing found in the New Testament. Each Gospel should be studied closely to see which miracles and healings the author includes. These often provide one of the keys to understanding that Gospel.

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