The Miraculous Healing of Mankind Is Near
“WE NEVER saw the like of it.” So said eyewitnesses of the miraculous, instant healing of a paralytic man by Jesus. (Mark 2:12) Jesus also cured the blind, the dumb, and the lame, and his followers did likewise. By what power did Jesus do it? What part did faith play? What light do these first-century experiences shed on miraculous healing today?—Matthew 15:30, 31.
“Your Faith Has Made You Well”
Faith healers of today are fond of citing Jesus’ statement to a woman suffering 12 years from a flow of blood who came to him for cure: “Your faith has made you well.” (Luke 8:43-48) Did Jesus’ statement indicate that her cure was dependent on her faith? Was that an example of “faith healing” as it is practiced today?
When we read the Bible record carefully, we see that on most occasions Jesus and his disciples did not require that the sick declare their faith before being cured. The woman cited above came and, without having said anything to Jesus, quietly touched his garment from behind and “instantly her flow of blood stopped.” On another occasion, Jesus healed a man who was among those who had come to arrest him. He even healed a man who had no idea who Jesus was.—Luke 22:50, 51; John 5:5-9, 13; 9:24-34.
What role, then, did faith play? When Jesus and his disciples were in the district of Tyre and Sidon, a Phoenician woman came and cried out: “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David. My daughter is badly demonized.” Imagine her despair as she pleaded: “Lord, help me!” Filled with pity, Jesus replied: “O woman, great is your faith; let it happen to you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed “from that hour on.” (Matthew 15:21-28) Clearly, faith was involved, but whose faith? Notice that it was the mother’s faith, not the sick child’s, that Jesus praised. And faith in what? By addressing Jesus as “Lord, Son of David,” the woman was publicly acknowledging that Jesus was the promised Messiah. It was not a simple expression of faith in God or faith in the power of the healer. When Jesus said, “Your faith has made you well,” he meant that without faith in him as the Messiah, the afflicted ones would not have come to him to be healed.
From these Scriptural examples, we can see that the healing performed by Jesus was far different from what is commonly seen or claimed today. There was no strong emotional display—shouting, chanting, wailing, swooning, and so on—from the crowds and no dramatic frenzy on the part of Jesus. In addition, Jesus never failed to heal the infirm on the pretext that they lacked faith or that their offering had not been generous enough.
Cures by the Power of God
How did the healings of Jesus and his disciples take place? “Jehovah’s power was there for him to do healing,” answers the Bible. (Luke 5:17) After one healing, says Luke 9:43, “they all began to be astounded at the majestic power of God.” Appropriately, Jesus did not direct attention to himself as the healer. On one occasion he told a man whom he had freed from demon harassment: “Go home to your relatives, and report to them all the things Jehovah has done for you and the mercy he had on you.”—Mark 5:19.
Since Jesus and the apostles healed by the power of God, it is easy to see why faith on the part of the one being cured was not always needed for healing. However, strong faith on the part of the healer was necessary. Hence, when Jesus’ followers were unable to expel a particularly powerful demon, Jesus told them the reason: “Because of your little faith.”—Matthew 17:20.
Purpose of Miraculous Healing
Even though Jesus did much healing throughout his earthly ministry, he was not primarily pursuing a ‘healing ministry.’ His miraculous healing—for which he never charged the people or solicited any donations—was secondary to his main concern, that of “preaching the good news of the kingdom.” (Matthew 9:35) The record says that on one occasion “he received them kindly and began to speak to them about the kingdom of God, and he healed those needing a cure.” (Luke 9:11) In the Gospel accounts, Jesus was frequently addressed as “Teacher” but never as “Healer.”
Why, then, did Jesus perform miraculous cures? Principally it was to establish his identity as the promised Messiah. When John the Baptizer was jailed unjustly, he wanted assurance that he had accomplished what God had sent him to do. He dispatched his own disciples to Jesus and asked: “Are you the Coming One, or are we to expect a different one?” Note what Jesus told John’s disciples: “Go your way and report to John what you are hearing and seeing: The blind are seeing again, and the lame are walking about, the lepers are being cleansed and the deaf are hearing, and the dead are being raised up, and the poor are having the good news declared to them.”—Matthew 11:2-5.
Yes, the fact that Jesus performed not only healing but also the other miraculous works recorded in the Gospels firmly established his identity as “the Coming One,” the promised Messiah. There was no need for anyone to “expect a different one.”
Miraculous Cures Today?
Should we, then, expect God to prove his power today through cures? No. With the miraculous works he performed by the power of God, Jesus had established beyond any doubt that he was the Messiah that God had promised would come. Jesus’ mighty acts are recorded in the Bible for all to read. There is no need for God to prove the point by repeating such acts to every generation of people.
Interestingly, cures and other miraculous works were convincing only to a certain degree. Even some eyewitnesses of Jesus’ miracles did not believe that he had the backing of his heavenly Father. “Although he had performed so many signs before them, they were not putting faith in him.” (John 12:37) That is why, after discussing the various miraculous gifts—prophesying, speaking in tongues, healing, and so on—that God had given various members of the first-century Christian congregation, the apostle Paul was inspired to say: “Whether there are gifts of prophesying, they will be done away with; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will be done away with. For we have partial knowledge and we prophesy partially; but when that which is complete arrives, that which is partial will be done away with.”—1 Corinthians 12:28-31; 13:8-10.
Of course, having faith in God is vital for our well-being. However, basing one’s faith on false promises of cures will only lead to disappointment. Moreover, regarding the time of the end, Jesus gave this warning: “False Christs and false prophets will arise and will give great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones.” (Matthew 24:24) Besides quackery and frauds, there would also be manifestations of demonic power. As a result, claims of unexplainable events should not surprise us, and these are certainly no basis for genuine faith in God.
Since no one today performs cures as Jesus did, are we at a disadvantage? Not at all. Actually, those healed by Jesus eventually could become sick again. They all grew old and died. The healing benefits they received were relatively short-lived. Yet, Jesus’ miraculous cures have lasting meaning in that they foreshadowed future blessings.
Hence, after examining God’s Word, the Bible, Alexandre and Benedita, mentioned before, no longer put their faith in modern faith healing and spiritistic cures. At the same time, they are convinced that miraculous healings are not things of the past. Why so? Like millions worldwide, they look forward to blessings of healing under God’s Kingdom.—Matthew 6:10.
Sickness and Death No More
As we have seen earlier, the main objective of Jesus’ ministry was not to heal the sick and perform other miracles. Rather, he made the preaching of the good news of God’s Kingdom his main work. (Matthew 9:35; Luke 4:43; 8:1) That Kingdom is the means by which God will accomplish the miraculous healing of mankind and undo all the damage that sin and imperfection have wreaked upon the human family. How and when will he accomplish this?
Looking centuries ahead, Christ Jesus gave his apostle John a prophetic vision: “Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ!” (Revelation 12:10) All the evidence shows that since 1914 the great opposer of God, Satan, has been cast down to the vicinity of the earth, and the Kingdom is now operating as a reality! Jesus has been installed as the King of the Messianic Kingdom and is now ready to make big changes on earth.
In the very near future, Jesus’ heavenly government will rule over a righteous new human society, in effect “a new earth.” (2 Peter 3:13) What will conditions be like then? Here is a glorious foreglimpse: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away . . . And [God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”—Revelation 21:1, 4.
Can you imagine what life will be like when the miraculous healing of mankind comes true? “No resident will say: ‘I am sick.’ The people that are dwelling in the land will be those pardoned for their error.” Yes, God will accomplish what faith healers could never do. “He will actually swallow up death forever.” Indeed, “the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces.”—Isaiah 25:8; 33:24.
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Under God’s Kingdom mankind will be miraculously healed