Yesterday,Mary, a sister in Jesus that I have known for over 45 years, died. A year and a half ago, Nabeel died, All of us have similar stories of loved ones that we prayed for who died.
As I prayed for Mary I was again struck by the fact that anyone who asked Jesus to heal them lived. Peter’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever and Jesus touched her and she got up and served them. To Jesus, a fever is not easier to heal than cancer or blindness or even death.
I am not a dispensationalist. I believe, rightly or erroneously, that if Jesus was at my house yesterday, Mary would be healed. It seemed that Nabeel headed down that course, feeling that if Jesus asked if you wanted to be healed, you were then healed. He testified that Jesus could do what He wanted, but he chose to be healed, Yet he died.
So my question is why does it seem that healing is so different now than it was in Jesus times? I honestly feel that praying for people is like rolling the dice and we see where it lands.The issue isn’t healing per se or we’d pray and no one would ever die. Lazarus eventually died. But why is the healing issue so different than when Jesus was on earth? To me, He still is here but the dynamics of healing has vastly changed. God is always the same. So what gives?
@Tim_Ramey What do you believe was the purpose of Jesus healing? I think if we look at Scripture, Jesus healed as a sign that He was the Messiah sent from God - that we might believe on His name and have eternal life. Jesus was not healing simply to heal - though of course He has compassion on the broken and lowly. Our bodies will ultimately break down in this life, but our hope in Christ is ultimately more than healing - it is resurrection.
We live in a Romans 8:18 and John 16:33 world - Jesus and Paul warned us we would experience trouble, but there is glory on the other side!
Romans 8:18 - I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
John 16:33 - “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I think if we look at what Jesus told John’s disciples when John was languishing in prison, what Jesus said about Himself from the Book of Isaiah or what John said of Jesus in His Gospel - we see that Jesus’ miracles were signs so that all might believe upon Him and have life in His name.
Luke 7:18-23 - John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, 19 he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
20 When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”
21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 23 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
Isaiah 4:17-19 - and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
John 20:31 - But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
I’ve also linked your own thoughts from a thread on Nabeel earlier. I was curious if you have further processed those thoughts? You seemed to like something that Jolene said about trusting that God will work all out in the end.
Jolene pointed out, “Faith is not denying reality or refusing to accept the difficult things. It is knowing and believing that God can, but also trusting that if he does not, he has a reason and will make it right in the end. It is yielding and trusting, and that brings peace.” It is right on. I only desired to pray in faith because of what God wanted, not for what Nabeel or i wanted. The Holy Spirit abides within us. Why is it so hard for me to hear so that I can pray back to Him what He wills to do?
@SeanO You have some good thoughts and appropriate verses. Thanks for the reply.But I don’t think that either you are understanding my question or that I am understanding your answer.
I believer Jesus healed, among others things, because He is compassionate and to increase faith.
I bring these aspects up first because there are so many instances of Jesus healing but often He did so out of compassion. The Pharisees told Jesus in Luke 13 that He should wait one more day to heal a woman who had been bent over for 18 years so as not to be on the sabbath. Jesus asked how they could justify their thinking knowing that she would be hunched over for another day? He also is troubled by the Baptist beheading and goes off alone, but when the crowd comes forward, His compassion is seen as He views them as sheep without a shepherd and he teaches, heals and loves them,
Regarding faith it speaks of not being able to perform miracles because of the people’s faithlessness.Though Jesus is the One who heals, without faith in Him, He wouldn’t heal.
Miracles still are used as a sign of His Messiahship. When we heal in Jesus Name, it is done by Divine authority.
My question is one that I feel many Christians have and wonder themselves. It’s not a question of undergoing hard times or a matter of faith, as I believe Jesus still heals. But why is it different than in His time on earth? It’s not a matter strictly whether people are healed or not but why is it different than two thousand years ago? Why are there Cessationalists and Continuationalists? Because something is different? Why?
Are you saying that because you did not witness the healing that you do not believe it is possible that divine healings happen today as in the day of Jesus? I do not think you are discounting healings and miracles of people being raised from the dead that can happen anywhere else in the world. Perhaps we are not where the miracles are happening, or perhaps in passing, healing has been found. The moment we pass, we are immediately in paradise.
Could it be that we ask because Jesus was around, people were never sick and no one died? I do not believe we think that either. The Bible gives us a tiny glimmer of Jesus’ work in a very small part of the world, but there were many other people who got sick and died while Jesus was alive, likely in the very same city.
Sometimes when I feel as though Jesus is not present in a way that we read about in the Bible, I find that it is not Jesus that is missing from my present, but that I’m not where He is doing His work. I must go seek Him in these times.
Then again, sometimes there is no explanation. We have had two sudden deaths in our family in the last couple of years where we prayed for God to do a miracle and bring them back. I think it’s perfectly natural to do so. I guess I have to ask what are we going to do next? I have not lost any faith that Jesus works the same today as in the Bible.
My beloved ballet teacher died of cancer last year, I kept praying for her healing, asking the Lord, “Jesus, what a testimony it would be for her, her family and the hospital”. Sadly, she passed away and I hope she remembered my witness before the end. I’m coming to agree with John Macarther that public miracles were used during Jesus time as impetus to belief. There were no Bibles, televangelists, libraries or computers all sharing the Gospel message, first century Palestine had only Jesus and His Disciples walking around. In John 9 when Jesus was about to heal the blind man, the disciples asked, “Lord, who sinned, this man or his parents?" Jesus replied, "Not this man, nor his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” When Jesus raised Lazarus he said, “Father, I know You always hear Me, but because of the people standing around, I said it, so that they may believe that you sent Me.” I’ve heard testimonies in church about cancer going into remission, spinal injuries healed, and I believe that corporate prayer and being imbued with the Holy Spirit is how God graciously heals his followers personally today, but that’s done to reassure believers, it doesn’t serve the same purpose or have the same compassionate radiance or impact on the unbelieving crowd that the public miracles Jesus performed did. And how many in that crowd DID NOT come to faith even when they saw such wonders?
I also agree that Jesus was COMPASSIONATE, He loved us and that’s why we love Him. Of course, His miracles served to show who He was and Why He came, but He DID want to heal the temporal pain he saw, another reason that He is our perfect High Priest.
@SeanO Before I answer your question, I need to ask you one. Do you consider yourself a dispensationalist? That may be the crux of our issue. I am not and to answer your question, I see Jesus the same today as when He walked the earth. Thus, if I asked Him to heal when He walked the earth, I feel that He would give me the same answer today. His glory, majesty and authority is at stake today as it was then.
@andrew.bulin Thank you for your insightful response. In answer to your first question, no I believe the opposite of how you phrased the question and that is I DO believe that divine healing SHOULD happen as in the day of Jesus. You thought perhaps that we are not where the miracles are happening but if the same Spirit of Jesus who walked this earth now resides in us, should not miracles still happen everywhere because He is everywhere in believers? I wonder if that is not what He meant when He said that greater things would happen in us because He is “multiplied”.
I do not feel that He wants everyone healed when we ask or no one would die. However, He does live inside me and when I ask Him to heal, I sense that He would if He was on earth so where is the rub? We do not need to look for Him as He abides within us. I don’t tell Him what to do but live for the praise of His glory. As when He walked the earth, He would be praised as He raised the sick.
@carmen I so appreciated your honesty. I was so mystified by Nabeel’s death as, besides having a wife, a one year old daughter, & a Muslim family, he was such a wonderful apologist in every respect. I can understand that my ways are not His ways, but why is it so incredibly different than when Jesus was on earth? You mentioned that John Macarther said that miracles were used in Jesus time for an impetus to believe but is that not true today as well?
Carmen, you bring up many good points and questions. I liked your comment on the importance of corporate prayer, which is another subject because I feel that it is the single most important ingredient in the church missing today.
I KNOW that many who saw His miracles still didn’t believe. How would I know? Because mankind calls truth whatever he makes it. That is why we are miracles because we saw His Truth and believed Him.
Compassion is a huge issue that you mention too Carmen and that love for us prompted His touch. That same loving Jesus resides in us. That’s why I am mystified.
Do any of you readers of this post see what I am saying or do you feel that was then and this is now?
@SeanO You bring up a good valid point to consider.
Just out of curiosity, do you ever wonder, as you consider how things are so different now, if there is any part we play in its outcome? I won’t keep stringing you along as I perceive, as we often do, that we don’t see eye-to-eye on this matter but I’m grateful that we agree on what truly matters. In real-life situations I just often scratch my head wondering if things are meant to be this way or could it be ineffective prayer, sin or something else that interferes with Jesus potentially wanting to heal someone?.This is not asked with a spirit of condemnation but rather, if the Lord is wanting us to grow from these incidents.
@Tim_Ramey I think that our prayers can be hindered by sin, but I think every single case is different. I would never presume to understand why any specific prayer is not answered. All of our stories are a great tapestry that God is weaving together and God is working out His purposes in every single life. So I think there is no way of generically saying why God does not heal ‘today’ vs back then - every person’s story is unique and God knows their name and the number of hairs on their head.
I like what Aslan says in one of C. S. Lewis’ Narnia books:
“Child,’ said the Lion, 'I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.” Aslan, The Horse and His Boy
@Lauri I think one thing we must remember is that God is a Person. He has a will and He chooses to heal or not to heal. Healing is not a magic power that Paul possessed. Rather, Paul, just like us, was completely reliant on God’s power to heal. Healing is not power we wield, but decision on the part of God to intervene. I’m sure @Tim_Ramey has some great thoughts on this question.
@SeanO Here I said that I wouldn’t string you along and I won’t. I do feel that we can generally say that Jesus healed all of those who asked and today, when we make our prayer requests known at church, which usually deals with the physical realm, we rejoice when one of the requests is answered but say nothing about the other 10 that weren’t. So I agree that every story is unique but the stories seem that we pray for the cancer victim and it seems that they usually are not healed. It’s the tendency today. There is healing today, but why so seldom? Jesus is the same today as yesterday.
@Lauri Yes it is hard to understand why some are healed and some not. I don’t have difficulty with that as that is up to the Lord. But even the dynamic of people being healed by Peter’s shadow or the fact that a beggar wants money but they give healing so he can walk, in the Name of Jesus is unlike today. Why was healing so common? Paul seemed fed up with a woman who could foretell things so he casts out that spirit in her. As Sean says, it’s not the magic or power any of the apostles had as we are told that we can do nothing apart from Jesus. So it is the Lord that does the healing as we can’t. But why are people healed so infrequently?
@Tim_Ramey You know, I have always really struggled with the fact that God let Cain kill Abel. It seems so unjust. God even warned Cain - but not Abel. He warned the person about to commit murder, but not the victim. What’s up with that?
You know, I came to realize that God was concerned for Cain’s soul. Abel was okay, but Cain was on the path to self-destruction.
I really don’t think God’s main concern is our physical healing. Yes, he has compassion on us when we are in pain - which is way not cool. I struggle with bad stomach viruses, much less something more severe. But I think that all along God’s main concern is our soul - who we are becoming rather than what we are experiencing. This life is so short compared to the eternal life God desires for us.
Of course Jesus wants people to be well - of course He has compassion on the sick. But I think His primary concern is the healing of our souls.
Why did Jesus heal so much while He was on earth? In my opinion as a sign to everyone that He was the Messiah - He was the Savior - He was healing from God for the soul. And one day, after this brief life, we will receive new bodies and live in a place where the sorrows of this world are no more.
Why does God heal less often today? Because now we have God’s Word and God’s Spirit and the Gospel.
I fully believe they healed only through the power of Christ. But along what I think I understand as your train of thought, why was the power so much stronger at the beginning of Paul’s ministry that even an article of his could heal; yet later on he had to leave his brother in Christ sick?
I used to wonder if it was a lack of faith on my part or on the other persons part when praying for healing. But even the amount of faith we have is a gift from God. Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God…
@Lauri Christ is just as powerful today as He was during His time on earth and in the life of Paul. The issue is not power. The issue is God’s will. God is always powerful enough to heal. But He does not always choose to do so.
Our faith does not result in power. The only one with power is God. We have faith in a powerful God. But it is His choice when to exercise that power.
Paul himself possessed no power. Paul was just a servant. The power belongs to God. All that Paul could do was ask God to heal.
Consider Peter’s words when he met Cornelius:
Acts 10:25-26 - As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”
Peter did not say ‘I am a mighty apostle’ or ‘I am an anointed one, is there anyone here that needs healing’ or ‘I have the gift, stand aside’. No - Peter knew he was just a man like any of us. It is Christ who is able to save.
Hi Everybody, after reading all of your posts, I started thinking about predestination, see Romans 8:28-30, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." So whether we are healed miraculously, through modern medicine, or not at all, God is using it for Good, for His purpose. Now here is my main point, “_for those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the first among many brethren. And those whom He predestined, He also called, He also justified, He also glorified.” God KNOWS what will bring each and every believer to faith, whether it is experiencing or seeing miraculous healing or finding joy despite infirmities. As you all have pointed out, Jesus and the disciples performed many types of healing, some required the faith of the sick person, i.e., the woman with the issue of blood, those who were healed by Peter’s shadow or Paul’s handkerchiefs. Sometimes Jesus would ask, “what do you want Me to do?” As He asked the blind man. But one thing I noticed, the disciples didn’t usually PRAY for healing, they SPOKE, “In the Name of Jesus.” Now, are there any reports of such healings today?
@carmen This is not said to with a spirit of false humility but I think that I must be the most horrible communicator because I don’t adequately convey what I wish to.
The issue that I raise is not that we have to see miracles or we have to understand what the Lord is doing. Rather, as I look at the early church, when miracles were common, the gifts of the Spirit were rampant, the church acted as a community, sharing together what they had etc.and what it looks like now, why the vast difference? I’m not asking why we don’t sing hymns rather than choruses but instead, why aspects of the early church that seemed to be a bedrock to it and because of those foundations, many came to Christ - why is it so different today? Why are the healings usually in some other place but not in our churches. We ask prayer for so many miracles that usually don’t take place.
Now this is paramount: This is not said with a sense of the Lord not being faithful. Rather it is asked where we may be not faithful because He always is so it has to be us.
Why does it have to be the same, you may ask and that is valid. Many things do and should change but the aspects that bring glory to His Name and people to Him should be as central to Christianity as Jesus is because only Jesus can accomplish this. I’m not wanting pomp and power - I can do nothing apart from Him. But through us does He want to convey glory and power and majesty? How He heals and brings glory to His Name is not comprehensible to us but however He desires to do it, should it not be happening? Would Peter’s shadow healing someone ever been Peter’s idea? Probably far from it, but Jesus was glorified by the occasion.
Is Jesus all He wants to be and accomplish through His church today? Neglect, sin, prayerlessness (which is sin) can all interfere with a revived church. Through a group of precious brothers and sisters such as we have in Connect, can we be shaken in such a way as to bring about a revival, such as the early church displayed as thousands joined daily? I know there are countries where many are coming to Him in droves. But in the west, I believe that revival will start with a repentant church. I am not being deceitful when I ask the Lord to start the work in me.
Dear Tim, loved your line, “with a spirit of false humility”. Almost like Spanish captain’s line from 1936 film Captain Blood as he addresses governor of city he’s just taken, “At the risk of boring you, Port Royal is now in the hands of His Majesty King Philip of Spain. For a small consideration, I could be persuaded from reducing it to ashes.”
Sadly, many of our Western churches, yes, even the true believing churches are rather complacent, maybe even ‘Laodician’?’ We rarely spend time together other than Wednesday nights for 90 minutes and Sunday morning after which people can’t leave fast enough to go home. Couldn’t we start celebrating holidays and leisure time with other believers? Are we to be reduced to communicating from the solitariness of our cell phones? The first century church ate, prayed, worked and no doubt, played together. And the church grew. There are many mega churches in the Tampa, FL area, but I’d venture to say that even though small groups are encouraged, most parishioners don’t really become close friends. Some churches even suspend group meetings for the holidays so everyone can be with their immediate families. Just as football teams “fire each other” up before a game, we need to be in constant fellowship, building each other up as Paul exhorted. “How can the hand say to the foot, I have no need of you?” Each of us has something with which to edify the rest. Even if the ‘power and glory’ of Jesus healing miracles are not being performed, how are we energizing each other to continue ‘the great commission’?
I am SO GRATEFUL that I saw connect.rzim mentioned in the latest publication. Maybe we’re confined to our PC’s for now, but I second the motion, let the repentant church, let the revival start with me.