It has been said that faith begins where the will of God is known.
40And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
41And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.
42And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed
When the leper approached Jesus he declared his faith in God’s ability to heal, but expressed doubt in God’s willingness. Men sooner believe in miraculous power than miraculous love. Modern theology magnifies the power of God more than it magnifies His compassion; His power more than it does the great fact that His exceeding great power is exercised towards us, and for our benefit.
The Bible does not say that God is power, but it does say that God is love, (1 John 4:16). We are instructed to know and believe in His great love. It is not what God can do, but what He yearns to do that inspires faith.
We need to make a distinction between the ability of God and the will of God. Many have faith in His ability, but fail to receive healing because they are unsure of His willingness to heal them personally. They acknowledge that God is a healer, and even that He has healed others; but they cannot boldly answer the question: “will God heal me?”
When they hear testimonies of others who have received healing their faith shrivels and they feel isolated and alone. Instead of being uplifted and encouraged they are depressed and discouraged. Their doubts are based on a sense of unworthiness. Many people struggle with feelings of inadequacy and live with the consciousness of sin and failure. If they are honest with themselves they would say that they do not deserve to be healed.
Perhaps the leper looked at himself that way. His disease had made him an outcast of society. He was declared unclean, and according to Levitical law was forbidden to even approach people.
We can see that it was an act of faith just for this man to approach Jesus.
Jesus responded to the leper’s question about God’s will by showing His compassion. The love of God is the will of God in action. God’s will always reveals His love towards man. Jesus touched the man who was untouchable.
Jesus said to him, “I will; be thou clean,” and immediately the leprosy departed from him and he was healed. As soon as the will of God was expressed, and as soon as the man had an understanding of the love of God, he was healed.
What can you say about God’s love towards you? Has God made His will known concerning the healing of your body today?
God’s will made known
A man’s will is revealed by his words and by his actions. It is no different with God. Jesus acted in compassion toward the leper by touching him and He spoke without hesitation, “I will.”
God’s actions for the healing of your body have been no less, and His promises which clearly declare His will are just as sure and steadfast on your behalf. This same Jesus who touched the leper “took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” when He hung upon the cross, (Matthew 8:17) and it is “by his stripes ye were healed,” (1 Peter 2:24). This is God’s eternal “I will” spoken for all who will believe.
Remember, He has said,
3 JOHN 2
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
The heart of our Father is filled with compassion for His children. You are His beloved. We know that John was inspired by the Holy Spirit, (2 Timothy 3:16) and what he wrote was a revelation of God’s will for all. God’s will is for you to prosper and be in health.
Many go to great lengths and try to explain why a Bible promise such as this does not apply to them or is not valid for today. There are those who condemn themselves and even search for a reason why God’s promises do not work for them. Their vain reasoning is actually discussed in this one Bible promise. Their failure to receive and even their attempt to reject divine healing is explained when John said, “even as your soul prospers.”
Their soul has not prospered to see God’s willingness to heal them now.
God’s will can only be embraced as our soul prospers, or as our mind is renewed on the Word of God. Many fail to receive God’s will personally because they have failed to renew their thinking in line with Scriptural truth. After salvation, the most important thing for you to do is renew your mind on the Word of God.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
You cannot “prove” (the Greek literally reads, experience) the will of God until your mind is renewed. When Jesus touched the leper, and spoke His will, the mind of the leper was renewed to receive God’s promises. He had known of God’s power to heal but he was now confident in God’s eager willingness. He learned that God is good.
It is the goodness of God that leads to repentance, (Romans 2:4). Repentance means to change your mind, or to change the way you think. We often think of repentance in connection with receiving forgiveness, but repentance does not refer only to sin. It literally means to change your direction by changing the way you think. God’s goodness will change the way you think. It will renew your mind and enable you to experience His will.
With long life will He satisfy you
Some years ago I received a phone call just before beginning to teach in a small home group. My father had called to tell me that my grandfather had been taken to the hospital. He had suffered a severe heart attack and the doctors did not expect him to live through the night. He was paralyzed on one side, and then after suffering another stroke he fell unconscious.
I told my father that I would leave immediately and come to the hospital, but he said “No, finish your bible study and then call us here.”
We gathered in our small group and began to pray. I found myself praying a very religious prayer. It went something like this: “Lord, you’ve given my grandfather a good life. He’s over seventy years old. If it’s your time to take him Lord, let him go quickly.” I’m sure I was just saying phrases I had heard before by others in similar situations.
While I was praying my spirit within became heavy and with every additional word I felt more and more uncomfortable. I knew this to mean that I had grieved the Holy Spirit. I felt like I had done something terribly wrong. We are not led by our feelings; what I felt was the reaction of my spirit within me to what I was saying. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit (Romans 8:16) not with our mind or our emotions. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God are one and they agree, (1 John 5:7). When we disagree with the Word we are disagreeing with the Spirit. When we walk or speak contrary to the Word we are walking contrary to the Holy Spirit. The more time you spend meditating in the Word and communing with the Spirit the more sensitive you will become to His presence.
I knew what the Word of God had to say about my grandfather’s condition. I had read it many times and had even committed it to memory. I had renewed my mind to think God’s thoughts after Him. What were God’s thoughts about this situation? These Scriptures came to my mind:
10There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
16With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
In my heart I knew my grandfather was not satisfied, and I knew it wasn’t right that he die sick, nor that he go to heaven without saying goodbye to his family whom he loved.
I stopped speaking right in the middle of my prayer. I made everyone open their eyes and look up. I said, “I apologize. Please forgive me, but I have been praying wrong. It’s not God’s will that he die sick. Let’s pray again.”
We joined our hands again and prayed. “Father,” I asked, “forgive me for my unbelief. I know it’s not your will that my grandfather die sick. If it’s his time to die, heal him first, and then let him go home happy. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”
I realized the people in that small group thought my actions were a little out of the ordinary from what they had experienced in the past. They weren’t sure what to think about my simple approach to what God has said in His Word. I have always thought that God shouldn’t have promised anything if He didn’t mean to back it up. I have known God to always honor His Word.
Within the hour my grandfather sat up in bed completely healed.
Do you see how renewing the mind changed the way we approached the prayer? If we had prayed a traditional prayer, and not given the priority to the Word of God to change the very way we think, then he would not have been healed.
The next day he was discharged from the hospital and he went home in better health than he had experienced for many years. In fact, some years before this incident he had lost his equilibrium and could not walk without a cane. He left the cane in the hospital room and walked confidently from that time on. He had lost most of his hearing, but when he rose from that hospital bed God had restored his hearing, also.
He told my father an amazing story. While he lay on the hospital bed unconscious, machines keeping him alive, his spirit went to heaven to be with God.
He said that he had been walking down a beautiful forest path when he came to a large gate. A man of huge stature opened the gate and greeted him. My grandfather said that he was the tallest man he had ever seen. He told my grandfather that he could enter and enjoy this wonderful place of paths and lakes and streams. My grandfather had lived his life as a farmer and spent much of his time in the forest hunting and fishing. I am sure this would have been heaven for him.
He also said that there were many people there and everyone was praising God. My grandfather had spent his life in a very traditional Church singing traditional hymns. He said to my father, “They are just like you, you know. Everyone there was raising their hands in the air and worshipping the Lord!” He spent some time walking beside beautiful lakes and worshipping the Lord. He said it was an indescribable experience.
While he was enjoying this place of wonder, the tall man from the gate approached him again. I am sure that he was an angel. He said to my grandfather, “You have to go back. You will go back for two weeks and then you will return here.”
Like waking from a dream, my grandfather sat up in the hospital bed completely well. God had answered prayer, and for the next two weeks he spent his time saying goodbye to his many friends. He settled his financial affairs and made arrangements just like he was going on a long journey.
And exactly two weeks later he died in his own bed, lying on his side with his hands folded under his cheek. There was a smile on his face and the peace of God in the room. He had passed during his sleep and returned to his reward.
God’s will for you is good. What He has done for one, He will do for all. As you meditate on His promises, and discern His character as revealed in the Bible, you will begin to think differently about your personal ability to receive from God.
Only when we think God’s thoughts and speak God’s Word do we experience God’s will in every way.
You know that you are loved by a faithful Father. You know that you have a right to receive what He has abundantly provided. You know that He loves you more than any earthly Father. He wants you to prosper and be in health. You know that it is the will of God to heal you now.
Jesus healed them all
Notice several important passages from Matthew:
23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all.
The four Gospels are filled with account after account of Jesus’ healing ministry. Whenever faced with a great multitude of sick persons, Jesus “was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick,” (Matthew 14:14). Many crowded around him in order to “touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole,” (Matthew 14:36) On one occasion, he asked “that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him. For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues,” (Mark 3:9-12).
He was given little rest and was often exhausted from this ministry of preaching, teaching and healing. Many times, after a day of teaching, he would pray for the sick long into the night for they often “brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him,” (Mark 1:32-34).
There were so many needs and the people carried “those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them,” (Matthew 15:30). “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,” (Luke 4:40).
When news began to spread, people “ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole,” (Mark 6:55,56).
The crowds grew until “great multitudes followed him; and he healed them,” (Matthew 19:2) Even when He entered Jerusalem, “the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them,” (Matthew 21:14). Always the people “followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing,” (Luke 9:11).
You can clearly see that throughout His ministry Jesus healed all those who came to Him for healing. There is no record of His ever denying even one.
We cannot say how many miracles or miraculous healings Jesus ministered, as the majority are described taking place among the masses of people who came to Him. There are approximately twenty-eight references to healings en masse where large groups of people came to Jesus and where multitudes are recorded as having received healing. In some cases, the healing power of God was so prevalent that the sick were being thrown at His feet.
John wrote, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book,” (John 20:30).
The healings of Jesus, those mentioned individually or in greater detail, number twenty-seven. For example, we refer to cases such as the woman with the issue of blood, or blind Bartimaeus. These types of accounts reveal the nature of the sickness, the desperation of their situation, and often reveals the faith that received God’s healing power. We can gain many insights into the methods of healing that Jesus used when we observe these individual cases.
These are seventeen specific accounts of healing in the ministry of Jesus, along with seven cases that deal with deliverance from demons. The remaining three accounts describe the raising of the dead. Among the dead we find a child, a young man, and an adult.
We have reason to believe that more than three people were raised from the dead. Jesus implies this in His answer to John the Baptist, (Matthew 11:4,5 and Luke 7:22) where He speaks in a plural sense. Chronologically, at this point in His ministry, only one had been raised. Literally, it reads, “Blind people are seeing, lame people are walking around, leprous people have been cleansed, deaf people are hearing, dead people are being raised up, and poor people are hearing the good news!”
Jesus healed those with fevers, epilepsy, and dropsy. He opened the ears of the deaf, loosed the tongue of the mute, restored the paralyzed, straightened the deformed, cured lepers, the lame, the blind, the impotent, delivered those stricken with insanity or possessed of demons, commanded withered hands to be made whole, stopped the flow of blood, and restored maimed and amputated limbs by creative acts. With great compassion He even laid hands on those with “minor ailments” constantly and everywhere healing “all that had need of healing.”
Jesus often dealt with sickness and sin at the same moment, forgiving sin before He spoke His word of healing power. He demonstrated that there is no distance in the spirit, healing many who were far away from His physical presence. He depended upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit as He ministered in various ways: putting mud on a blind man’s eyes, spitting on a deaf man’s tongue, or simply leading an afflicted soul away from an atmosphere of unbelief. In some cases He hastened to pray or deliver while at other times He purposely delayed. He allowed two blind men to suffer as they followed Him over a great distance, provoked a sorrowing mother by using harsh words, and often threw the responsibility of healing back upon the desperate individual. At other times he was enraged against unbelief and brought persecution upon Himself to deliver one “daughter of Israel,” or endangered Himself by traveling through stormy seas to deliver one demon possessed man; only to return to where He had formerly been.