Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Jesus Healed People

St Mary's Bridge in Monroe

News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.
- Matthew 4:24

Over the years I’ve seen people healed after praying for them. One of them was my grandmother. 

Grandma lived with us 6 months out of every year when I was growing up. When she was in her mid-80s she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She decided not to have it medically treated. The cancerous tumors in her breasts grew. My mother used to bathe her, and visually saw and physically touched the hard, growing tumors.

Grandma knew she was going to die. She had lived a long life, and was ready to leave this world for another one. She even bought the dress she wanted to be buried in.

Grandma spent what we assumed would be her last 6 months in our home. Still alive, she went to live with my aunt and uncle who cared for her during the other 6 months. One day my aunt called. She told my mother that, while bathing Grandma, she noticed the tumors did not appear to be there. My mother could not believe this, yet wanted to believe . Mom traveled 400 miles from Rockford, Illinois to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to visually inspect Grandma and confirm this.

Grandma lived for 12 more years. She bought three more dresses to be buried in. She died at age 97. What happened? How can we explain this? I, my mother, my aunt, and grandma concluded two things:

  1. Grandma once was cancer-filled.
  2. Then one day the cancer was gone.
  3. We all believed (I still conclude) that God healed Grandma (using inference to the best explanation).
Jesus, when he walked the earth, healed people. His healings were demonstrations of the main message he proclaimed, which was about "the kingdom of God." The idea is this: where the kingdom of God is, physical and emotional illnesses are not. When "this present age" finally gives way to "the age to come," followers of Jesus shall dwell with him forevermore. Eternal life is a tearless, non-suffering existence. How weird, how incomplete, how irrational would eternal life be if it contained things like cancer and mental illness.

When the Word became flesh and dwelt among us the age to come entered this present darkness. Light came into the world. Jesus's healings were demonstrations of that truth, which was: the kingdom of God is now in our midst.

Have I prayed for people who, as far as I can tell, were not healed? Yes. Have I seen people healed as a result of praying? Yes. Therefore I pray. 

Jesus came to heal. Jesus still heals. Bring your woundedness and infirmity to him today.


John Wimber's book Power Healing is still one of the best texts on this subject available. It was the forward by Richard Foster that convinced me to read it.

The work of University of Indiana scholar Candy Brown is important here. See Candy'sTesting Prayer: Science and Healing;  and Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing

See Candy's Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Proximal Intercessory Prayer (STEPP) on Auditory and Visual Impairments in Rural Mozambique. Candy traveled with Heidi Baker in Mozambique, bringing audiometric testing devices and visual acuity devices, testing persons before and after receiving "proximal intercessory prayer" for visual and hearing disorders.

See also Craig Keener massive, brilliant Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts
Here are some posts I've written on healing. 

Testing Prayer; Science and Healing, by Candy Gunther Brown

Prayer & Divine Healing
If Someone Doesn't Believe Jesus Healed People
Why Doesn't God Heal Everybody?
"Ordinary" Christians as Agents of Healing: Candy Brown on Randy Clark & Global Awakening
5 Key Aspects of a Pentecostal Worldview