December 13, 2010

NT Survey paper

Healings in the Gospels

This is the paper I wrote in NT survey

Healing: The Facts
What is healing? The definition of healing is to repair, to make thoroughly sound or whole. Healing takes something physically or mentally wrong, and restores it to perfect condition. Typically, when one thinks of healing, they think of doctors and the reconstructive instruments that they use. The healing that will be discussed here, however, is the supernatural healing.
Supernatural healing is unexplainable, not one man-made tool is used. No human evidence could possibly elucidate the way a man blind from birth can suddenly see; nor can it reason how a Canaanites demon-possessed daughter could be permanently set free. This unbelievable healing must come from something greater than mankind, something beyond naturalistic explanations. The only one who could possibly perform these miracles is God.
God, the Creator of mankind, sent His Son down to earth to liberate all of humanity. He came to free the captives and deliver the earth from sin. He walked about Israel, and performed innumerable miracles, some of which were healing. The Hebrew name for this attribute of God is Adonai Roph’ekha which means “the Lord who heals”
Though the Bible does not give a specific number of people who were healed by Jesus in His earthly ministry, the apostle John said in the very last verse of his book, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” That is a lot of changed lives! This paper will explore five lives that were changed by God’s healing power.
-The Woman with the Issue of Blood (Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48.)
A small, weak woman quickly walked through Galilee, hoping to squeeze through the crowds and see this Jesus she had heard about. She hid her face in her shawl, hoping that no one would recognize her; since she was unclean. She had been unclean for twelve years, which is why she must find Jesus; He was her only hope to get better. Numerous doctors had told her that her disease was incurable, and that she would keep growing weaker, and eventually die. She reached the edge of the crowd, her heart beating rapidly. The throng was huge, but over the shoulder of someone, she saw Jesus. She raced to get to Him, thinking to herself, “If I can just touch the hem of His garment, I will be healed!” When she reached the edge of the crowd, she stumbled, and she saw the edge of His coat. Her vision grew blurry, she could barely breath. She reached out her trembling hand, and touched His white robe. Instantaneously, she became whole, Jesus had healed her! She no longer felt dizzy, and her shaking had ceased. She cried tears of irremovable joy. Right then, Jesus turned around, and asked “Who has touched me? I felt power flow out of me.” She ran forward, and threw herself on His feet, and cried, “It is I Lord, and I am the one who touched you!” She then proceeded to tell Him her entire story. “Dear woman,” Jesus responded tenderly, “You are well because you believed. Go in peace.”
This miracle is found in all four Gospels, though it is told differently in each one. This woman had hemorrhaged for 12 years . She had spent all her money on doctors, and they had only succeeded in worsening her condition. One could imagine she lived in a somewhere extremely isolated, since she was unclean.
Being “unclean” meant that one was socially unacceptable, literally. In the Mosaic Law, there are many ways that once could be unclean; most of them were because of sickness and disease. Anyone who was pronounced “unclean” had to separate themselves from anyone who was “clean”, lest they contaminate the uncontaminated individual. If, say, a leprous man walked into town, he would be forced to yell, “Unclean! Unclean! Unclean!” everywhere he went. If he decided to not yell anything, he could be stoned to death. This “unclean” woman took an enormous risk by going to a city like Galilee.
She had heard about Jesus, and obviously she must have also heard that He healed people, and these testimonies had to be extremely convincing. She came into town, and she saw the throng of people. Amazingly, in a crushing mob of people, she managed to get to Jesus. When she touched His garment, “Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.”
When Jesus turned around and He said to His disciples, “Who touched Me?” His disciples probably thought He had gone mad. They replied, “You see the people crowding you? And You still ask ‘who touched me?’ ” One could imagine how sarcastic the disciples said this, as they saw hundreds of people around Jesus. However, He had felt power go from His body. When He asked who had touched Him, the woman came forward. She fell on His feet in holy reverence, and told Him the entire account of her suffering, and how she had been immediately healed. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease." In His final words to the woman, He said, “Go in peace.” The peace He meant is the Hebrew Shalom; nothing missing, nothing broken. She had literally been made, “Peace.”
-The Severed Ear of Malchus (Luke 22:49-51, Matthew 26:51-53, Mark 14:47, John 18:10-11)
“I will kiss the one you are to arrest.” Said Judas wickedly. Malchus shuddered, something didn’t feel right. He was in a group of men on their way to arrest this “Jesus” Malchus had hear so much about. “Hey guys, maybe we should call off this arrest.” Malchus offered timidly. “Who are you to talk?” asked Judas, “You are nothing but a servant.” Malchus looked down, they were right, He was the high priest Caiaphas’s servant. They approached the Man who had just finished praying, and Judas kissed Him. Malchus saw the grieved look in Jesus’s eyes, He was pained beyond belief. Jesus said, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of man with a kiss?” One of the disciples of Jesus said, “Shall I strike?” and with that, He sliced off Malchus’s right ear. Searing pain shot through Malchus’s body as He fell to the ground screaming. Malchus began to pass out, but he could still faintly hear Jesus exclaim to the men, “No more of this!” Jesus reached out His strong, caring hands and touched Malchus’s ear. Relief came instantly, and the agonizing pain vanished. Malchus looked up at Jesus in awe, but the Soldiers and the Sanhedrin nonchalantly continued the arrest. Malchus felt his ear, and that it was perfectly whole; without one blemish. He shouted thank you to Jesus as they marched the Son of God away.
Though this is not one of the most popular healings in the gospels, it is still very impactful. No one usually ponders the many facts of this miracle, even though they are quite interesting. This is mentioned in all four gospels, but the only one that mentions Jesus healing the servant is Luke, whereas Matthew is the only one where Jesus says, “Those who live by the sword die by the sword.” John is the book that tells us the high priest’s servant’s name, Malchus, which means “Ruler” ; John also is the book that emphasizes that it was Jesus’s choice to be arrested, or rather, that it His cup to drink .
Peter is the one who struck Malchus in the ear. Since all of the gospels mention that He struck Malchus in the ear, it could not have been an accident. Though no one knows for absolute certain, this is probably meant as an attack on the high priest. Jewish law required that the high priest be free from physical deformities. Peter was most likely trying to show the illegitimacy of the high priest (High priests often used their servants to steal tithes directly from the temple). Another of the interesting points is that Peter did ask if he should draw his sword, but Peter didn’t wait for Jesus to answer. Malchus walked the rest of his days with two ears, knowing full well that Jesus of Nazareth had had miraculously healed him.
-The Centurion’s Servant (Luke 7:1-10, Matthew 8:5-13)
“It can’t be!” Said the Roman Centurion to one of his servants, “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” They had just informed him that his best servant was dying; this servant was the most honest, faithful servant he had ever owned. He hadn’t seen his servant in weeks, but had thought nothing of it. He knew immediately what he must do. The centurion had witnessed a Man known as “Jesus” performing miracles; He had even raised the dead. The centurion knew that Jesus was sent from God, and was the only hope for his sickly servant. The centurion’s first instinct was to go and beg Jesus to heal the beloved servant, but he thought better of it. The centurion was a gentile, and he knew he was not worthy to kiss the Jesus’s feet. He instead decided to dispatch some of the Jewish elders to ask Jesus for His healing.
The men arrived at the throng of people, and they saw Jesus talking among them. They asked him, “Sir, there is a centurion who loves the Jewish people dearly, but his servant is near death.” Jesus agreed to visit the servant, and so He followed the elders. When Jesus was not far from the centurion’s house, the centurion met Him on the road. The officer knelt down and said, “Lord, don’t trouble Yourself; I am not worthy to be in the same dwelling with You. This is why I did not come and get You myself. Please, if you just say the word my servant will be healed. I too am a man under authority, I say to one soldier ‘Go’ and he goes, I say to another, ‘Come’ and he comes.” Jesus stood there, amazed at the centurion’s lack of doubt. “I have not seen this great of faith in all of Israel! Surely your servant will be healed at this very instant!” Right then, one of the elders ran out of the centurion’s house, and shouted, “He’s healed! Your beloved servant is healed!’ The centurion thanked Jesus wholeheartedly, and with tears of unspeakable joy in his eyes.
This story is mentioned in both Luke and Matthew, though both tell it a little differently. In Matthew, the centurion approaches Jesus, while in Luke, the centurion sends elders in his place. Since Luke is the one who wanted to write a historically and chronologically correct gospel, his is the most probable way the story happened. Matthew wasn’t incorrect; He simply didn’t go into detail about the event.

A centurion was a military officer who had control over one hundred soldiers. The word centurion actually comes from the word “century” , meaning one hundred ships, soldiers, or years. Centurions were in charge of their soldiers, but they also ordered many Jews around. The Centurion could’ve easily ordered Jesus to come to his house; but He was too humble.
This man was obviously one of great character. He is one of the most humble people in the gospels. He, an officer of one hundred roman soldiers, did not feel that he was worthy enough to come ask Jesus to deliver his servant. This man was perceptibly a kind person, since he cared deeply enough for his servant that He called upon Jesus. Also, one can see this centurion was one of great faith; he believed if Jesus said the word, his servant would be healed. Jesus even offered to go to the man’s home, but the man refused. He was one of the two people that Jesus said had great faith.
This Centurion was not indifferent towards the Jews. In Luke 7:4-5 it says that “When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” A synagogue is only something that Jewish people usually care about, but this Roman Centurion cared enough for the Jewish people that he constructed it for them.
This healing was in Capernaum for a reason. Capernaum was a very strict Jewish sector, which viewed gentiles as enemies to be eliminated. When Jesus healed the centurion’s servant, He showed the uptight religious Jews that His love stretched far beyond their preconceived limits.
-The Canaanite Woman’s Faith (Matthew 15:21-28, Mark 7:24-30)
The stout woman meandered through the boisterous crowd, she had to find Jesus. Her daughter was possessed by a fierce demon, and it was killing her. She had brought her child to several hypnotists and doctors, none of whom could remove the evil spirit from her daughter. She had heard that Jesus healed many, and she dearly wished that He could heal her suffering daughter. She saw Him, and held her head down; since she was in the presence of many Jews. All the Jews hated people like her: a Gentile, and even worse, a Canaanite. She reached the face of the crowd, and humbly cried, “Lord, my daughter is possessed by a demon, and she is suffering horribly.” Over and over she repeated the plea. Jesus didn’t answer, the disciples, on the other hand did, “Master,” they said with annoyance, “This woman keeps asking for You, she is driving us crazy. Could You please send her away?” Jesus told the woman, “I was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman, undaunted by this remark, pleaded, “Lord, I beg you, please help me!” Jesus answered, “Why should I take the children’s bread, and throw it to the dogs?” The woman firmly spoke, “Because, Lord, even the dogs get the crumbs that fall from the table.” Immediately, Jesus responded, “Cherished Woman, great is your faith! Your daughter will indeed be healed.” With tears of joy the woman ran the entire way to her home. When she got there, her daughter was perfectly well.
This Story was mentioned in Matthew and Mark. The region where this woman lived was an area of Phoenicia, between Tyre and Sidon. Up to this point, Jesus had proclaimed the kingdom of God to observant Jews, Hellenistic Jews, and even a God-fearing Roman centurion.
In his book, Matthew mentions gentiles many times, whereas he only mentions a Canaanite in this story. Why was he more specific about this particular woman’s Canaanite heritage? When the Israelites had made the exodus from Egypt and entered the Promised Land, the Promised Land was already inhabited by seven nations, including the Canaanites. In Deuteronomy 7:1-5 Moses said,”
1 When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you—2 and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. 3 Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, 4 for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the LORD’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you. 5 This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire. “
Israel clearly didn’t care very much for the Canaanites. This consequently is why the woman was considered a “dog”.
Dogs were considered unclean by Jews and rarely were they kept as pets. One of the reasons Jesus said that the children’s bread should not be given to the dogs is because many God-fearing Jews believed that once you had blessed the food, it was despicable to give it to anyone or anything considered unclean.
This healing showed the Pharisees and other legalistic Jews how God’s love can stretch out to even the Jew’s most hated enemy. Out of the two people that Jesus declared had great faith, neither were Jews. 2 Peter 3:9 says,
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
-The Man Blind from Birth (John 9:1-41)
Cling, Clang! The young man heard two coins crash into his bowl. “May God bless you!” He said to the person whom He could not see, since he had been blind from the day he was born. It was the Sabbath, so he knew he might gain more gifts than usual today. He heard a large group of people coming towards him. “Master, who sinned; this man or his parents?” He heard a man with a firm, yet gentle voice answer them, “Neither sinned, this happened so that God’s works can be displayed in Him.” The beggar was astounded; no one had ever said that before. Everyone before had found sin in him, or iniquity in his parents. The man called “Jesus” then spit into the dirt, made a paste of mud, and rubbed it onto the beggar’s eyes. “Go to the pool of Siloam” Jesus ordered. The young man got up quickly, and felt his way to the pool. He knelt down by the water, and washed His eyes with the clear liquid. He slightly hesitated, but decided to lift his eyelids.
Hues of every kind rushed into his pupils; shapes of every size filled his eyes. He started crying from hysterical joy, he ran to tell everyone, his parents, his neighbors, and all of Jerusalem! When he got to his house, however, he realized that he wasn’t the first one there. Pharisees surrounded his home, questioning his parents. “We don’t know if our son can see; we do know, however, that he was blind when he was born. Why don’t you ask him? He is old enough to answer for himself!” with that, His parents slammed the door on the Pharisees. The young man’s heart cried out to them, wishing that he could tell them his miraculous account; but the Pharisees were starting to come up to the young man.
They strutted towards him, and he felt like running as far away as he could. “Give the glory to God; we all know that man is a hypocritical sinner.” they said arrogantly. The former beggar couldn’t believe this; they were saying his new eyes were from a sinner? “Well,” he tried to reply calmly, though tears were welling up in his newly formed eyes, “Whether or not He is a sinner, I don’t know. What I do know is that I was blind, but now I see.” The Pharisees huddled, and then asked the previously sightless man how the Healer had done it. The young man regained his strength, and proceeded to tell the prideful, ignorant men his wondrous story. The Pharisees quickly dismissed him, huddled into a circle, while conversing what must be done with the one called, ‘‘Master” and his young friend.
Jesus heard that they had thrown the man out, and when He found him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is He, sir?” the young man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in Him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen Him; in fact, He is the one speaking with you.”Then the former beggar said, “Lord, I believe. You have set me completely free of the blinded eyes I once carried.” and he worshiped the Son. Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were nearby overheard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”Jesus replied, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”
This story is singularly mentioned in the book of John; in fact, it takes up an entire chapter. The man was a beggar, was sent to the pool of Siloam. He perhaps begged in the lower city section of Jerusalem, since He did have to walk all the way to the pool.

Why did Jesus send the man to that specific pool? As one can see, there are various other pools that Jesus could have sent the man to. In John 9:7, John mentions that the word “Siloam” means “sent”. Jesus “sent” the man to the pool before he was healed. The man could’ve disregarded what Jesus said, and not gone to the pool to wash off. However, he took heed of what Jesus said, and took action upon what he believed for. He obeyed the precise instructions of Jesus, and because of the man’s absolute faith in Him, the man was able to see his world the length of his days.
This healing is interesting because in the previous chapter, John had talked about Jesus being the light of the world. The man who was blind had never seen light! It is quite ironic then that “the Light” gave the once blind man light!
The Pharisees seem to miss the point; they were too busy focusing on the Sabbath, and that Jesus had done work on that day. They cared little for the man’s feelings, they didn’t care that he had been delivered from blindness. The Pharisees constantly questioned him, his neighbors, and his parents. They didn’t care whatsoever for his happiness.
This healing was particularly impactful to the Jewish faith because Jesus Himself said that the man’s blindness was not caused by sin. In that time, a common misconception connected physical and mental disabilities to either a person or his parents. Jesus removed this misconception, and the Pharisees saw His legitimacy. This was important because the Pharisees were determined to disprove His Messianic authority.
John 8:12
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
-Healing: The Conclusion
From a God-fearing Centurion to a weak woman with an incredible belief, Jesus healed hundreds of thousands of people on His earthly mission. When He died on the cross He completely liberated humanity from oppression, Jews and gentiles alike. He had such an unquenchable love for mankind, that He came and healed heart, mind, and body alike. He truly is Adonai Roph’ekha, the marvelous, spectacular, majestic, wonderful, Lord who heals all.
Matthew 9:35
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness.”

Dockrey, K., Godwin, J. C., & Godwin, P. (2000). The student Bible dictionary: a complete learning system to help you understand words, people, places, and events of the Bible. Uhrichsville, Ohio: Barbour Pub..
Manser, M. (2004). Bible Stories:Over 200 Beautifully Illustrated Stories from the Old and New Testaments with Artifacts, Maps, and Illustrations. Queen Street: P3 Publishing.
Martin, J. C., Beck, J. A., & Hansen, D. G. (2010). A visual guide to Gospel events: fascinating insights into where they happened and why. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.
Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., & Harrison, R. K. (1995). Nelson's new illustrated Bible dictionary . Nashville: T. Nelson
Bible translations used: NIV and ESV

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