Healing in the New Testament

Oct 29, 2014

Christ Healing a Blind Man by the French artist Eustache Le Sueur- 1616-1655.

Christ Healing a Blind Man by the French artist Eustache Le Sueur- 1616-1655.

The New Testament provides many different examples of people being healed. The first four books of the New Testament, the Gospels, are four different accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry. While, in many cases, the Gospels recount some of the same miracles, it is clear that each writer also presents others in line with their reasons for writing their book. For example, John acknowledges that there are many more miracles that Jesus performed, but he has recorded the ones that he did to lead the reader to faith in Christ.

The next book after the Gospels is the Acts of the Apostles. This book details the first thirty years of the early Church. In Acts, it is Jesus’ followers who perform healings, following the same pattern that Jesus showed them. Acts primarily focuses on the ministries of Peter and Paul, and recounts some of the miracles that they performed. The writer of Acts also mentions the work of Stephen and Philip and makes clear that they also performed signs, miracles and healings.

After Acts, the rest of the New Testament is composed of letters to individuals and churches, with the exception of the Revelation. These writings do not really provide the reader with any other examples of healings. Paul does, however, mention in his letter to the church at Rome the fact that he has performed many miracles and healings through the course of his ministry.

The Gospels present several different types of healing. First of all, Jesus heals people who have some type of sickness. Peter’s mother-in-law, for example, was sick with a high fever. An account of this story is found in Mark 1:29-31. While this type of healing may not sound very impressive compared to healing a blind man, the modern reader must not forget that, in the first century, a severe fever was actually a life-threatening ailment.

Another interesting aspect of this story is the fact that one of Jesus’ first miracles was performed on a woman. Again, to the modern reader this might be easily overlooked. In Jesus’ day, however, especially in Palestine, women were regarded as little more than property. The fact that Jesus went out of his way to heal women, children and societal outcasts gives us a much better grasp of his heart for all of humanity.

The simplicity of this healing is also worth noting. Mark says that Jesus “took her hand and helped her up.” As she got up, the fever left her. In this case, Jesus did not even have to say anything. His presence and his touch were enough to bring the healing to someone who was sick.

To be continued…

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