Healing – #COVID19SERIES
Welcome to the 1st part of the series on God’s sovereignty and Healing during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journey with me as we discover what the word of God has to say this topic.
The healing power of Jesus Christ remains one of the most outstanding aspects of his ministry here on earth. Throughout the 4 gospels, we see records of various miraculous healings that Jesus did in those 3 years that he ministered. I finished reading the book of Luke a few months ago and one of my greatest takeaways was the fact that healing was very prominent in Jesus’ ministry. I concluded that since Luke was said to be a physician he intentionally highlighted the miraculous healings in Jesus’ ministry more than anything else – or maybe not. There are certain details about Jesus and his walk here on earth that are found in one gospel or the other and not all 4 of them. When it comes to his healing ministry, the writers of the 4 gospels did well to record many of them in their writings. I would say again, in my estimation that Luke does a very outstanding job at documenting the healing ministry of Jesus – better than the other gospel writers.
I believe strongly that the season we find ourselves in is the reason God highlighted the healing ministry of Jesus to me a few months ago. If Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, then how do we reconcile this truth with the COVID 19 pandemic that has taken the whole world by storm? I will deal with this topic in more detail in the subsequent post. But now, I want to lay the foundation of the healing power of God and how he works through men. More importantly, how Jesus laid the foundation of the healing ministry of God.
Anyway, back to the book of Luke. Jesus’ ministry as recorded in the book spanned 19 chapters, from chapter 4 to 22. These chapters are documentation of how Jesus began his ministry, the selection of his disciples, his many miracles, his parables, etc. In 11 out of these 19 chapters, there is a story of either Jesus or his disciples healing sick people. This means 58% of the chapters in the book of Luke on Jesus’ ministry were on stories of Jesus’ healing ministry.
Jesus’ mandate on this earth is clearly spelled out in Luke 4:18. Amongst the numerous things he came here to do, he mentioned that the Spirit of God was upon him to enable him ‘heal the brokenhearted’ and bring ‘recovery of sight to the blind’. He also mentioned that he was sent to earth to set those who are being oppressed free. This is the reason why Jesus treated sickness the way he did in the days of his flesh. Sicknesses either have their roots in the spiritual realm or in the physical. Some of the sick people who were brought to Jesus were actually demon-possessed. Hence, he cast demons out of the sick and their health was restored. Take, for example, the story in Luke 10:14 where Jesus cast out a demon from a dumb person and after the demon had left, the man began to speak to the astonishment of all who were gathered there. Healing the sick was very important to him to the extent that anytime he sent out his followers to go and preach the gospel in various cities, he added that they should heal the sick as well:
“ and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal”. Luke 9:2
“Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” Luke 10:9
In the first verse, Jesus had sent his 12 disciples to go through the villages “preaching the gospel and healing everywhere” (Luke 9:6). In the second one, Jesus had sent out 72 of his followers to go and preach the gospel and heal the sick. Why was it so important to him that the sick were healed? As I have already stated, some sicknesses and diseases are caused by evil spirits, hence it was only right to deliver the sick from the oppression of demons in their physical beings either before or after they receive the gospel.
I would like to state two important facts about sickness. Firstly, we are never told sickness is one of the things Christians are to suffer for the sake of the gospel. As such, I do not regard sickness as ‘Christian suffering’. I see it as Jesus saw it, a thing to be dealt with no matter how long the person has lived with it. Once, Jesus and his disciples met a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him whose sin it was that had caused the man to be blind: was it that of his parents? Jesus answered and said, the man was blind so that the glory of God would be revealed then he proceeded to heal him. The glory of God was revealed through healing, end of story. Anytime I encounter sickness, as a follower of Christ, I must do what he did when he found himself in the same situation, that is to pray against it.
Secondly, not every sickness has its roots in the spiritual. Sickness is a physical condition that sometimes renders some parts of the body or the entire body dysfunctional. It is important for us to understand that the operation of the healing anointing does not imply that medical science is useless. Neither should we allude every sickness to spiritual forces working against us. The bible says that if there be any sick among you, let them call the elders of the church to anoint the person and pray over the person. The prayer of faith will heal the person (James 5:14-15). This again tells us what Christians are expected to do when they are faced with sickness in their own bodies or the ill health of a brethren. Pray against it!
Also, we see Paul in his letter to Timothy advising his spiritual son to mix water with a little alcohol for the sake of a stomach condition he had. This in no way contradicts what was said earlier. There is nothing wrong with using some prescribed medicine or concoction when you are sick. It is actually proof that not all illnesses have spiritual roots. Furthermore, in one particular case in the Old Testament, we see God speak through the Prophet Isaiah to recommend the use of a physical remedy to help cure King Hezekiah’s disease. In 2 Kings 20 he ordered for a cake of figs to be applied to the boils on Hezekiah’s skin so that he could recover. All this had to be stated because i have come across some Christians who are opposed to any form of medical intervention when they are sick. To them, God heals hence they are not prepared to have their recovery any other way than a supernatural intervention. This idea is not consistent with the teachings of the bible. The bible does command us to lay our hands on the sick and pray for them and they will recover. We are also told that sick people in the church should inform the elders of the church to pray for them. However, in some cases, we see the prescription of some medical remedy to sickness too. There is nothing wrong with that. God gets the glory still.
When I set out to write this article, my goal was to prove how integral healing was (and still is) in the ministry of the gospel. Jesus sent out his followers not to only preach, but to heal the sick as well. When we are hit with a global pandemic, as believers, it is our duty to call on God to heal our land. God heals; I believe so because this statement is consistent with scripture. God is sovereign, yes. And God is good. He doesn’t have to be either sovereign or good. Sovereignty and goodness co-habit in our God.
(Thanks for reading. This is the first of a 3-Part series. The second one will be released on Monday, 15th June,2020)