Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 5 Study # 2
December 10, 2006
40 Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.
41 And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.
1901 ASV Translation:
40 And when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.
41 And demons also came out from many, crying out, and saying, Thou art the Son of God. And rebuking them, he suffered them not to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.
- I. The Significance of the Unrestricted Healings/Exorcisms.
- A. There is no focus upon the "spiritual condition" of those receiving the benefits.
- 1. There is no statement about whether the people recognized their lostness.
- 2. There is no statement about whether the healing/deliverance brought about salvation.
- B. There is no distinction made -- all are healed/delivered.
- C. The point is not what "later" conditions might be attached to the dispensing of these benefits; the point is that Jesus is absolutely capable.
- II. The Major Question for Our Understanding.
- A. At what point does Jesus' ability touch our desire for these benefits?
- 1. In Capernaum there was no distinction made between those who received these benefits, but there is no other record of Jesus healing/delivering everyone in a given city/town either.
- 2. This raises the issue of divine intent and attitude.
- a. The Scriptures are not silent about Jesus feeling compassion for those in difficult straits.
- b. But those same Scriptures do not give us any hope that Jesus is only moved by compassion so that anyone/everyone in difficult straits gets His provision. There were many wicked in Israel who got no special miracle to address their difficult straits.
- c. It seems that God characteristically accomplishes "initial" actions without regard for the later constraints that may be imposed. There is a rationale for this: if the "problem" is, at the root, "relational", and the "solution" is, at the root, "attitudinal", (i.e., if the real issue is my relationship with God and the real requirement of that issue is my trust of Him...), then there has to be something done at the "initiation" that cannot be done later because I cannot trust without evidence, but the evidence cannot later become simply "indiscriminate compassion" without destroying the "trust" (i.e., "indiscriminate compassion" produces a false view of the God in Whom I am to trust). What God is and how I see Him must come together or my view of God is warped and my expectations of Him are false.
- B. Thus, there is a reason that Jesus healed/delivered then and is not as "free" with His mercies now. He does not become "less" merciful over time; rather, He becomes more insistent upon solving the real problem and less willing to simply use the superficial issues as He initially used them -- to provide a basis for the required "faith". Once a foundation is laid, those who refuse to accept it cannot be treated as those who do accept it.
- C. So why, then, does Jesus not "heal/deliver" believers today with the same exceeding "coverage" as He once healed/delivered those who had no faith? The answer seems to lie in two realities. First, under the Covenant in place when Jesus was on the earth, the physical realm was the "test" of His identity. The question was: Can this Jesus actually produce Kingdom conditions on this earth? Thus, He acted in the material realm to answer that question. But, second, the "problems" have never really been "physical" so that solving them never really works if the real problem is not solved along with the physical solution. Since the real problems are two -- the true nature of "love" and the true nature of "faith" -- it is, in some ways, a contradiction of both love and faith to make "healing" an issue. If we learn one thing from "Israel" it is this: God's focus upon, and provision for, the external man (the "land" promises) did almost nothing to correct the heart. Blessings upon the corrupt typically lead to greater corruption as they take (as "Takers") and are not only not grateful, but actually are led by the "blessings" into thinking they "deserve" the good they are getting. This is the reason for Paul's question in Romans 2 about the self-righteous not being aware that "blessings" are not a statement of divine approval; they are an appeal for repentance...the "goodness of God seeking to bring repentance." Thus, it is more likely that an unbeliever will be "healed" than it is that a believer will be. It is, after all, the unbeliever who needs to come to repentance; the believer needs to learn to live effectively without the "physical props". This also provides a rationale for a distinction between the physical and spiritual in that though believers may not expect physical healing, they have every reason for expecting spiritual deliverance. Anyone with "faith" can live effectively with illness, but no one can live effectively "possessed by a demon". Fixing the body has not been shown to be effective in producing godliness, but not fixing the spirit can never lead to a life of godliness. So, if "believers" need to learn to live without the "props", why are more believers not "ill" -- to "fix" them? Most believers do go through the problems of physical weakness so that they may learn, but there is no particular point to maintaining the illness once the lesson has been learned unless there can be a greater spiritual impact because of the illness. For the one who has genuinely learned, physical wellness is simply not an issue -- it can be experienced with thanksgiving and it can be beyond experience with the same thanksgiving. It simply does not matter. Thus, since wellness is the norm, it can be experienced as the norm without creating problems or it can be withheld as abnormal also without creating problems.