This week’s scripture reading – Matthew 4:23-25
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and [from] Decapolis, and [from] Jerusalem, and [from] Judaea, and [from] beyond Jordan.
Threefold Ministry of Jesus
It is often asked how many healings did Jesus perform and what does the Bible say about healings, so this will be a Bible Study on the miracles and healings of Jesus. Recalling the previous two studies, the focus was on the teaching and preaching aspects of the ministry of Jesus. The healing part of his ministry comprised a large part of his love and compassion for people. As noted above, it was no wonder that his fame went throughout all Syria given his threefold approach to ministry. He taught people how to live for God. He preached to them about the spiritual rebirth through belief in him for eternal life. He healed countless infirmities and ailments in people whom he encountered during his travels.
Never so Seen in Israel
What miracles did Jesus Perform? Well, unlike the many charlatan faith healers throughout history, nothing impeded Jesus from healing any and all, whether people suffered from extreme pain or anguish in body or soul, people with the loss of muscular movement or paralysis, those who were mentally disabled, or people with demons and evil spirits. Despite performing such amazing miracles though, the likes of which had never been seen before, the corrupt religious rulers sought to appropriate his divine powers with evil in Matthew 9:32-34, As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils. Talk about clearly missing the opportunity on how the healing of Jesus will comfort your faith.
This did not deter the multitudes from coming to him however as evidenced by the faith of one woman in Matthew 9:20-22, And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind [him,] and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. Twelve years of physical ailments healed at the touch of his garment is indeed how the healing of Jesus will comfort your faith!
Contempt of the Pharisees
A similar event occurred when the Pharisees continued to taunt him over the notion of healing on the Sabbath. This transpired in Matthew 12:10a, And, behold, there was a man which had [his] hand withered. After a brief discussion with the Pharisees, Jesus then showed compassion on the man in Matthew 12:13, Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched [it] forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Yet the Pharisees in their hardened hearts and ritualistic ways were incensed over this in Matthew 12:14, Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
Another incident of Jesus performing healing miracles occurred with similar consequences from the Pharisees in Matthew 12:22-24, Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard [it,] they said, This [fellow] doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. Clearly, this group of darkened souls caught up in their pious traditions were intent on maligning Jesus at every opportunity.
A Name above every Name
This was such a tragic portrayal of fallen humanity in rejecting the Son of God who was standing in their very presence who taught them, preached to them and healed them. With these false accusations, they failed to comprehend the broader picture of who Jesus was and the ultimate implications of his mission for the world as noted in Philippians 2:9-11, Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father. It would be this Jesus and his followers who would ultimately triumph over this spiritual darkness!
Regardless of the unbelief from the religious rulers, there were still some remarkably uncommon examples of individuals who demonstrated complete faith in the healings of Jesus. A perfect case of this was the centurion who was a commander in the Roman army noted in Matthew 8:5-8, And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
So Great Faith
This remarkable show of faith in Jesus was pronounced even by Jesus himself along with a contrast against the unbelief that prevailed among Israelites in Matthew 8:10, When Jesus heard [it,] he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. Finally in this event the outcome was most noteworthy as described in Matthew 8:13, And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. This was a man who understood how the healings of Jesus will comfort your faith.
Torment from Satan
There are many other miraculous examples recorded throughout scripture in reference to the healings of Jesus. Take for example his encounter with a man greatly afflicted with many physical, mental and spiritual challenges during his visit through the country of the Gadarenes. This story, though somewhat lengthy is important for proper context and starts to unfold in Mark 5:2-5, And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had [his] dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any [man] tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. *(fetters – chains or shackles on ankles) *(asunder – broken into several parts)
Here lies the most pitiful existence of someone so tremendously tormented from the effect of demons and yet there is hope and light in his seemingly chance encounter with Jesus as the story continues in Mark 5:6-13, But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, [thou] Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For he said unto him, Come out of the man, [thou] unclean spirit. And he asked him, What [is] thy name? And he answered, saying, My name [is] Legion: for we are many. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. Given that such a great herd of swine became afflicted by the legion of devils it is incomprehensible to fathom the ongoing pervasive misery this man encountered day and night.
The story concludes with the reaction from the people who tended the swine, literally fearing the miraculous power of Jesus in Mark 5:14-18, And they that fed the swine fled, and told [it] in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. And they that saw [it] told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and [also] concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.
No Mere Man
As this Bible Study comes to a close on the healing of Jesus, hopefully it has given readers a glimpse of his threefold ministry. To summarize, this was in teaching, preaching and healing the multitudes. Scriptural evidence shows that Jesus was no mere man who walked the earth. He brought people back from the dead such as his friend Lazarus as recorded in John 12:1. Lazarus was clearly dead, having been wrapped in burial clothes and contained within a cave-like tomb for three days.
Then there was the event from a ruler of the synagogue who appealed to Jesus as his twelve year old daughter had died. Mark 5:41 presents the miraculous return to life for this young person much to the amazement of his selected apostles Peter, James and John who witnessed the event. Jesus himself even affirmed his healing miracles in Matthew 11:5, The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
Fallen mankind is no doubt fraught with countless afflictions, be it physical, mental or spiritual. There is hope though for people through faith in Jesus; believing in his sacrificial death, burial and resurrection as redemption for their sins before the holy God of creation. This is where it all starts. As Jesus said to the father of the young girl noted above, it is also fitting to close with those same words for seekers of faith in this world, Mark 5:36, Be not afraid, only believe.
Bible Study Questions
- Why do you think the Pharisees did not give Jesus the proper honour and respect for his miraculous healings?
- Who did the Pharisees attribute the healings Jesus performed on people and why was this wrong?
- What can you learn from the display of faith from the Centurion when he asked for healing of his servant?
- Why do you think there were so many accounts of Jesus delivering people who were possessed by demons?
- Can you name the threefold ministry of Jesus during his earthly presence from this study on how the healing of Jesus will comfort your faith?
- It is noted that Lazarus was in the tomb for three days but who was the most notable person in the Bible who also was in a tomb for three days?
- Why is the very last word of this Bible Study on the healings of Jesus so important for starting a life of faith in God?
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