Why Did Jesus heal?

By Brian Lowther

One day four prominent Christians met for breakfast with a secular journalist. The journalist was writing a story about faith and disease. She posed this question: “Why did Jesus heal? After all, healing people doesn’t get them into heaven. But Christ sure used up a lot of his time healing. Why?”

The first Christian said, “Jesus healed because he was compassionate. Like at the end of Mark 1, where the man with leprosy says, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’ And Jesus is filled with compassion and heals him. Jesus loved the people and didn’t want to see them suffer. It’s as simple as that.” 

The second Christian said, “No, no, no. That’s not why Jesus healed. I mean, it is to a degree, because obviously I’m not going to argue that Jesus didn’t care about people. But that wasn’t the ultimate reason. Jesus healed people as a means to an end. Like in Matthew 4, Jesus had to find his first followers. They didn’t come to him. He didn’t begin attracting a crowd until he started healing. So, he healed in order to get a following. After they got healed they’d hang around and listen to his teaching and that’s how he built the church.”

The third Christian said, “Yeah, I can see your point. But I think the ultimate reason that Jesus healed was to bring glory to God. As in John 9:2 where the disciples ask Jesus, ‘Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus replies, ‘Neither, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.’”

The fourth Christian said, “Well, I suppose there is truth in all of these answers. But to me, I’m uncomfortable saying that healing is merely a tool for the cause of evangelism. I'm all for evangelism obviously, but I personally think everything Jesus did was an act of war against Satan. As in 1John 3:8, ‘The son of God appeared for this purpose to destroy the works of the devil.’ When he healed people of a sickness, he was doing battle with Satan. Throughout scripture disease is one of the main ways Satan affects humanity. Yes Jesus had compassion on people and healed them because he was compassionate but also because they were his comrades in this war, his brothers in the fight. And in a sense he healed to empower his evangelism, his “recruiting efforts” if you will. But it is bigger than that. It’s about the war. And, yes, he healed to glorify his Father. What glorifies a king more than when his enemy is defeated? But he did all these things in the context of the bigger story.”

Posted on March 30, 2012 and filed under Top 10, First 30.