26. Mass Healings

Short Meditations in Mark’s Gospel: 26. Mass Healings

Mk 1:32-34 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

A  number of years ago some people I knew went out to Africa to witness a healing campaign that was happening in one particular country. When they came back they testified to amazing things they saw but one particular comment stayed with me.  They said that for the first three days their minds struggled to keep up with what their eyes saw.  I think that that was how it must have been with Jesus.  See what the text says.

That evening after sunset – after the working day had ended. The people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon possessed.  Note the ‘all’.  His reputation had so spread that the people were in no doubt that he could heal whoever came to him, so they brought anyone who was sick – it was a lot of people.  The whole town gathered at the door!

And he healed ‘many’ and he also drove out ‘many’ demons.  Now this account doesn’t say ‘all’, just ‘many’ which suggests that were some who weren’t healed at this stage.  But don’t be put off by that, still ‘many’ were healed and delivered from demons.  This was a major healing event.  As we commented previously, Jesus had the power to bring literal physical change to bodies. One minute there was sickness, the next there wasn’t!

Now this account is a simple factual account of what happened but it doesn’t lay down any principles for healing. The difficulty for those of us who are sick or who have long-term illnesses or infirmity, is to grasp that it is possible for us to be delivered from whatever it is.  When we have such an illness it is very difficult, if not impossible to have faith to believe for healing, unless God turns up and speaks and generates faith. In every healing, faith is an ingredient – even if it only comes from Jesus. In the Gospels Jesus initiated healings and the fact of him healing people released faith in others for them to be healed. He alone is the healer and in him alone can we trust for our healing.

Lord, thank you that you do heal. Please speak to me to release faith in me for you to move how you want to move, whether it be in healing or in any other way.

46. God who Heals

God in the Psalms No.46 – God who heals

Psa 30:2,3 O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O LORD, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit.

If there is one thing that unites people in a common desire, it is the desire to be well. How many people do you know who enjoy having a headache, enjoy having tooth ache, enjoy having arthritis, enjoy having a sprained wrist? No we take pain killers, and go to the doctors. We want to get rid of these afflictions. When I was younger I thought how good it must be to be in a hospital bed, having time to think and to meditate on God’s word.  How unreal!

When you are ill, God feels a million miles away and you definitely don’t feel spiritual. Perhaps that’s why Jesus seemed to do more healing work than anything else: “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 (Mt 4:24). “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.” (Mt 8:16).  “Many followed him, and he healed all their sick” (Mt 12:15) “Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.” (Mt 15:30)  “The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.” (Mt 21:14). Do you see this? Matthew could hardly stop writing it! It was what, in later periods of church history, we call ‘revival’, God unleashed!

Yes, it does seem that at certain times in church history in certain places and through certain individuals, God pours out His healing power. There do seem other times when it is not so frequent and indeed, seems sporadic – but God does heal! David knew that. From what he says we see that he had obviously just been through a crisis where he thought he would not survive. It seems he had been in a place of pride (v.6) but then the Lord had allowed him to do into a place of despair (v.7-10). From there he cried out to the Lord and the Lord healed him. Then there was joy (v.11,12)

Yes, it does seem as if sometimes the Lord allows affliction to come upon us to humble us when pride threatens us. How soon we feel weak and frail and inadequate! How soon we cry out to the Lord to come close in a new way. Yes, sickness can have a chastening effect. But is also seems that there are times when for no apparent reason, affliction comes (see Job) and our only recourse is to cry out to the Lord, but even in those times there is purpose – testing!  How will be respond to sickness?  Will we remain true, will we remain faithful.  Job knew this. The enemy through his wife sought to get him to respond less than righteously and cried, “Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9).

That’s what the enemy tries to get us to do when we’re down in sickness.  But Jesus never rebuked anyone for coming to him to seek healing. If anything he rebuked people for coming with little faith. He seemed to want them to come boldly and expectantly. He taught us to pray and keep on praying.  Yes it is right to hold a gracious attitude while we are waiting for healing, and in some the Lord wants them to come to a place of surrender that even accepts the sickness before He brings the healing – but He does heal!  It’s never something we can force out of Him. It is always a gracious gift, not earned, just freely given by ‘the Great Physician’.  He heals.