Box 14-079 THE HEALING MINISTRY OF JESUS
Jun 19 1956
What interest has the Healing Ministry of Jesus for us today? Is it merely part of the proof of His Divine Sonship? Or is Healing of Mind and Body in response to the prayer of faith still available today as part of the continuing ministry of our Risen and Living Saviour?
Our Lord Himself refused to work miracles as "signs" of His Divine authority. And He condemned the demand for such in no uncertain terms.
"A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign," he cried.
And thoughtful Christians today regard His miracles of healing rather as an expression of His love and compassion for suffering humanity than as evidence of His Divine Sonship.
But was this expression of His love and compassion limited to the three years that He walked and talked with people in visible form? Both scriptures and experience definitely contradict this. That there are unquestionable instances in our day of persons being healed in mind and body in answer to the prayer of faith cannot be denied by open-minded people.
It is not the main purpose of the present writer, however, to adduce a mass of evidence of such cases, but rather to marshall the support of the New Testament for the belief that the power of the Living Christ to heal mind and body is still available for those who believe and expect it. And it is his profound conviction that the chief obstacle to the more general experience of this healing power is the fact that Christian communities do not as a body believe in it or expect it. As far as an individual can estimate it, it would seem that most cases of spiritual healing occur among religious denominations which as a body believe in it and expect it, such as the Roman Catholic Church and the Tabernacle and Pentecostal people. Episcopalians are making important contributions, e.g., R. A. R. Spread and Mrs. Sanford. The United Church is lagging far behind, apparently utterly indifferent.
And it is the earnest hope and eager desire of the writer that he may contribute something to wider and stronger belief that the Healing Power of the Risen Christ is available today if the Christian Church will belive in it and expect it.
The writer was for more than thirty years a Chaplain at the Mountain Sanatorium for the treatment of tuberculosis at Hamilton, Ontario. Most of what follows was delivered from time to time to the patients there over a public address system with head-phones at every bed.
The first thing that goes to convince me that Healing was no merely temporary features of our Saviour's ministry is the sheer bulk of the accounts of His healing deeds in the Gospel narratives. If you will take a coloured pencil and draw a line down the margin opposite the passages in which these are related, I do not think you can fail to be impressed by the extent of it.
Would Jesus have given so much time and the Evangelists so much space to something that was merely incidental and transitory, when there was so much priceless spiritual truth to be presented and so little time in that too-brief ministry for its presentation?
Nor was our Saviour's bodily presence necessary to the exercise of this healing power. Even during His earthly ministry the healing of the Centurion's servant(Mathew viii, 5-13) and that of the Nobleman's son(John iv, 46-54) make this clear, as do the cures wrought by the Twelve Apostles and the Seventy when He sent them out by themselves on special missions during His incarnate life.
Healing was part of the commissions and powers given to the apostles in preparation for His physical departure, and not only to His apostles but to all believers. For He said (Mark xvi, 17-18), "These signs shall follow them that belive; In my name shall they cast out devil's;... They shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover."
How that commission was carried out and the promise fulfilled is related with irrefutable frequency all through the Book the Acts of the Apostles. Paul lists healing among the gifts of the Spirit (I Corinthians xii, 28) recognized and exercised by the Christian Church of his day. And James makes clear what was the common practice of the Apostolic Church when he writes (James v, 14-15) any sick among you? 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 shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up."
1 Only selections from manuscript are available on this site. The full manuscript can be located in the archives at Whitehern.
For title page and table of contents for full manuscript, see Box 14-078.
For chapter I, see Box 14-080.
For a selection from chapter II, see Box 14-081.