Is the blessing of healing real?

SHARE

By BibleAsk Team


God’s gift of healing is very real. The blessing of healing is a significant and deeply rooted concept in Christian theology, supported by numerous biblical references.

Biblical Foundation for Healing

1. Healing in the Old Testament

The Old Testament contains several accounts and promises of divine healing, illustrating that God’s willingness and ability to heal are longstanding.

a. God’s Covenant with Israel

One of the earliest mentions of healing is found in God’s covenant with Israel. In Exodus 15:26, God promises the Israelites that He will be their healer if they obey His commandments:

“and said, ‘If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.'” (Exodus 15:26 NKJV)

This passage establishes God as Jehovah-Rapha, “the Lord who heals.”

But healing was conditional on the people’s obedience to God’s law.

“But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:” “every sickness and every plague, which is not written in this Book of the Law, will the Lord bring upon you until you are destroyed.” (Deuteronomy 28:15,61)

b. Healing in the Psalms

The Psalms frequently acknowledge God’s healing power. Psalm 103:2-3, for example, encourages believers to remember God’s benefits, including healing:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases.” (Psalm 103:2-3 NKJV)

This verse clearly links the forgiveness of sins and the healing of diseases, indicating that both are aspects of God’s redemptive work.

c. Healing Prophecies

The prophetic books also speak of healing, often in the context of the coming Messiah. Isaiah 53:4-5 is a critical prophecy regarding the suffering servant, interpreted by Christians as referring to Jesus Christ:

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5 NKJV)

This prophecy foretells the atoning sacrifice of Christ, which brings both spiritual and physical healing.

2. Healing in the New Testament

The New Testament continues and expands upon the theme of healing, particularly through the ministry of Jesus Christ and the apostles.

a. Jesus’ Healing Ministry

Jesus spent more time in healing the sick than in preaching. His ministry demonstrated His divine authority and compassion. One such example is found in Matthew 4:23-24:

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.” (Matthew 4:23-24 NKJV)

Jesus’ healing acts not only alleviated physical suffering but also confirmed His identity as the Messiah. Jesus gave His life so that His children would be delivered from the curse of sin and sickness. It’s God’s desire that we have good health (3 John 1:2).

b. Specific Healing Miracles

The Gospels recount numerous specific instances of healing, each illustrating different aspects of Jesus’ power and compassion.

  • The Healing of the Leper: In Matthew 8:2-3, Jesus heals a leper who demonstrates faith by approaching Him:”And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” (Matthew 8:2-3 NKJV)
  • The Healing of the Centurion’s Servant: In Matthew 8:5-13, Jesus heals a centurion’s servant, emphasizing the power of faith:”And Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.’ And his servant was healed that same hour.” (Matthew 8:13 NKJV)
  • The Healing of the Woman with the Issue of Blood: In Mark 5:25-34, a woman with a long-term illness is healed by touching Jesus’ garment:”And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.'” (Mark 5:34 NKJV)
c. Apostolic Healing

The apostles continued Jesus’ healing ministry, empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Book of Acts records numerous healings performed by the apostles.

  • Peter and John Heal a Lame Man: In Acts 3:6-8, Peter heals a lame man at the temple gate:”Then Peter said, ‘Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’ And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.” (Acts 3:6-8 NKJV)
  • Paul Heals a Crippled Man: In Acts 14:8-10, Paul heals a man who had been crippled from birth:”And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, ‘Stand up straight on your feet!’ And he leaped and walked.” (Acts 14:8-10 NKJV)

Theological Perspectives on Healing

1. Healing as Part of the Atonement

Many theologians argue that healing is included in the atonement of Christ, as suggested by Isaiah 53:4-5 and confirmed in the New Testament. Matthew 8:16-17 directly links Jesus’ healing ministry to Isaiah’s prophecy:

“When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.'” (Matthew 8:16-17 NKJV)

This indicates that Jesus’ sacrificial work on the cross addresses both sin and sickness.

2. The Role of Faith in Healing

Faith is consistently highlighted as a crucial component of healing. Jesus often credited the faith of individuals as a key factor in their healing, as seen in the healing of the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:34) and the centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:13).

However, faith is not merely a human effort; it is a response to God’s grace. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as:

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV)

Faith involves trust in God’s character and promises, including His willingness to heal.

3. Healing as a Sign of the Kingdom

Jesus’ healings are signs of the inbreaking Kingdom of God. In Matthew 12:28, Jesus explains that His miracles indicate the arrival of God’s reign:

“But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matthew 12:28 NKJV)

Healing, therefore, is a foretaste of the ultimate restoration that will occur when God’s Kingdom is fully realized.

4. Obedience to the Laws of Health

Those that are seeking healing must be also walking in compliance to God’s moral laws and His health laws and not breaking them. The believers are to glorify God by taking good care of their minds and bodies.

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19,20, NKJV)

Contemporary Implications of Healing

1. Prayer for Healing

The practice of praying for healing continues in the Christian community, following the biblical model. James 5:14-15 instructs believers to pray for the sick:

“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” (James 5:14-15 NKJV)

This passage highlights the communal and sacramental aspects of healing prayer.

2. The Role of Medical Science

While divine healing is a reality, Christians also acknowledge the role of medical science. God can use medical professionals and treatments as instruments of healing. This holistic view does not diminish the reality of divine healing but recognizes that all healing ultimately comes from God.

3. Suffering and Healing

Not all prayers for healing are answered in the way we expect. Paul’s experience with his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9) illustrates that sometimes, God’s grace is sufficient, and His power is made perfect in weakness. Healing, therefore, must be understood within the broader context of God’s sovereign will and redemptive purposes.

Conclusion

The blessing of healing is undeniably real, as evidenced by numerous biblical accounts and theological affirmations. From the Old Testament covenants and prophecies to the New Testament ministry of Jesus and the apostles, the Bible consistently presents God as a healer. The atonement of Christ, the role of faith, and the signs of the Kingdom further underscore the reality of divine healing.

Contemporary Christians are encouraged to pray for healing, seek medical help, obey the health laws, and trust in God’s sovereign will. Whether healing comes through miraculous intervention or medical means, it is ultimately a testament to God’s love and power. Thus, believers can confidently affirm that the blessing of healing is indeed real, rooted in the character and promises of God as revealed in the Scriptures.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

We'd love your feedback, so leave a comment!

If you feel an answer is not 100% Bible based, then leave a comment, and we'll be sure to review it.
Our aim is to share the Word and be true to it.