Over the last two weeks, the teaching at St Aidan’s has touched on the topic of healing. Last week Alpha focused on whether God still heals today and last Sunday Rev. Susan touched on this topic of healing in the sermon. This is a topic that can often lead us to more questions. Does God still heal today? Why are some healed and not others? If you are like me, then you have spent a lot of time praying and contemplating about these questions over the last week. Through my prayer and contemplation, I have found that the books of Isaiah and Matthew are good starting points to begin wrestling with this topic.
In his Gospel, Matthew tells his readers that the physical healings Jesus performed during his earthly ministry fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy found in Isaiah 53:4. We read in Matthew Chapter 8:
When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him. That evening many possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a single command, and he healed all the sick. This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet, who said “He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases.” (Matthew 8: 14-17)
Matthew clearly saw the connection between Isaiah’s prophecies of what the Messiah would do and what Matthew saw Jesus doing. To all who had eyes to see, Jesus’ ministry of healing was a sign of his deity, his authority, and a call to believe in him.
Yet while Jesus healed many who came to him, he didn’t heal everyone, and everyone he did heal still eventually passed away at some point. So, were the healing works of Christ during the three years of his ministry the essence of what Isaiah prophesied? Was this the sum of what Isaiah was describing when he said that Jesus “was whipped so we could be healed” (Isaiah 53:5)?
In reality, Isaiah saw something beyond the three years of Jesus’ ministry of physical healing. He saw into his eternal ministry of healing both body and soul. Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus demonstrated the character of the redemption he came to purchase on the Cross by forgiving sin and healing bodies. The physical healings Jesus performed give us a foretaste of what we can expect in the age to come when the curse of sin is finally eradicated.
Many readers of Isaiah’s prophecy attempt to force into this age what God has reserved for the next – the age when there is no sickness or death. In his first coming, Christ gave us a foretaste of what it will be like in his second coming when his healing will be pervasive and permanent, given to all freely. In short, some will be healed now but all who believe in Jesus will be healed when Christ returns.
With all that being said, perhaps it is good for us to desire to know more about this topic of healing. For this is something that will be fulfilled fully in the age to come, that all who believe in Jesus will come to experience. But in the meantime, the gift of spiritual healing (forgiveness of our sins) which is guaranteed to us through Jesus bearing our sicknesses on the cross should be more then enough to sustain us who believe, until He returns.
Prayer – Lord Jesus, I pray for your healing power to be at work in my life. But if you should see fit for me to experience a situation that I must endure, I know that you will also give me the grace I need to endure faithfully, waiting in hope for the redemption of my body to everlasting life.
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.