How Disabilities Will End
IMAGINE the eyes of the blind seeing, the ears of the deaf hearing every sound, the tongue of the speechless singing out with joy, and the feet of the lame being firm and able to walk about! We are talking, not about breakthroughs in medical science, but about the results of God’s own intervention in behalf of mankind. The Bible foretells: “At that time the eyes of the blind ones will be opened, and the very ears of the deaf ones will be unstopped. At that time the lame one will climb up just as a stag does, and the tongue of the speechless one will cry out in gladness.” (Isaiah 35:5, 6) But how can we be sure that this truly amazing prophecy will be realized?
To begin with, when Jesus Christ was on earth, he actually did cure people of all forms of disease and disabilities. Furthermore, most of his miracles were seen by many witnesses—even by his enemies. In fact, in at least one instance, skeptical opposers thoroughly investigated a healing in order to discredit Jesus. But much to their chagrin, all they did was confirm his miracle. (John 9:1, 5-34) After Jesus performed yet another undeniable miracle, they said in frustration: “What are we to do, because this man performs many signs?” (John 11:47) The common people, however, were not as insensitive, for many began to put faith in Jesus.—John 2:23; 10:41, 42; 12:9-11.
Jesus’ Miracles—A Preview of Global Healing
Jesus’ miracles did more than prove that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God. They furnished a basis for faith in the Bible’s promises that obedient mankind will be cured in the future. These promises include the prophecy in Isaiah chapter 35, mentioned in the opening paragraph. Isaiah 33:24 states concerning the future health of God-fearing humans: “No resident will say: ‘I am sick.’” Similarly, Revelation 21:4 promises: “[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 [today’s trials and suffering] have passed away.”
People regularly pray for the fulfillment of these prophecies when they repeat Jesus’ model prayer, which says in part: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10, King James Version) Yes, God’s will includes the earth and humankind. Disease and disabilities, although permitted for a reason, will soon have had their day; they will not blight God’s “footstool” forever.—Isaiah 66:1.*
Healed Without Pain or Cost
No matter what affliction people suffered, Jesus cured them painlessly, without delay, and without cost. Inevitably, word of this spread like wildfire, and soon “great crowds approached him, having along with them people that were lame, maimed, blind, dumb, and many otherwise, and they fairly threw them at his feet, and he cured them.” How did the people respond? Matthew’s eyewitness account continues: “The crowd felt amazement as they saw the dumb speaking and the lame walking and the blind seeing, and they glorified the God of Israel.”—Matthew 15:30, 31.
Note that those who were cured by Jesus were not carefully singled out from the crowd—a trick employed by charlatans. Rather, the many relatives and friends of the ailing ones “fairly threw them at [Jesus’] feet, and he cured them.” Let us now review some specific examples of Jesus’ ability to heal.
Blindness: While in Jerusalem, Jesus gave sight to a man who had been “blind from birth.” This man was well-known in the city as a blind beggar. So you can imagine the excitement and hubbub when people saw him walking about seeing! Yet, not all were happy. Stung by Jesus’ earlier exposure of their wickedness, some members of a prominent and influential Jewish sect called the Pharisees were desperate to find evidence of trickery on Jesus’ part. (John 8:13, 42-44; 9:1, 6-31) Hence, they interrogated the healed man, then his parents, and then the man again. But the Pharisees’ inquiries merely confirmed Jesus’ miracle, which angered them. Puzzled by the perversity of these religious hypocrites, the healed man himself said: “From of old it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of one born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing at all.” (John 9:32, 33) For that honest and intelligent expression of faith, the Pharisees “threw him out,” which implies that they expelled the once-blind man from the synagogue.—John 9:22, 34.
Deafness: While Jesus was in the Decapolis, a region east of the Jordan River, “the people there brought him a man deaf and with a speech impediment.” (Mark 7:31, 32) Not only did Jesus heal this person but he also revealed deep insight into the feelings of the deaf, who may be embarrassed in crowds. The Bible tells us that Jesus took the deaf man “away from the crowd privately” and healed him. Again, eyewitnesses were “astounded in a most extraordinary way,” saying: “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the speechless speak.”—Mark 7:33-37.
Paralysis: While Jesus was in Capernaum, people approached him with a paralyzed man lying on a bed. (Matthew 9:2) Verses 6 to 8 describe what happened. “[Jesus] said to the paralytic: ‘Get up, pick up your bed, and go to your home.’ And he got up and went off to his home. At the sight of this the crowds were struck with fear, and they glorified God, who gave such authority to men.” This miracle too was performed in the presence of both Jesus’ disciples and his enemies. Observe that the former, not blinded by hatred and prejudice, “glorified God” for what they witnessed.
Disease: “There also came to [Jesus] a leper, entreating him even on bended knee, saying to him: ‘If you just want to, you can make me clean.’ At that he was moved with pity, and he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him: ‘I want to. Be made clean.’ And immediately the leprosy vanished from him.” (Mark 1:40-42) Note that Jesus did not heal this person begrudgingly but out of genuine compassion. Imagine that you were a leper. How would you feel if you were cured instantly and painlessly of a dreaded illness that progressively had disfigured your body and made you an outcast from society? No doubt you can understand why another leper who was miraculously cured “fell upon his face at Jesus’ feet, thanking him.”—Luke 17:12-16.
Injury: Jesus’ last miracle before he was taken into custody and impaled was an act of healing. In a rash move against those who were about to take Jesus away, the apostle Peter, “as he had a sword, drew it and struck the slave of the high priest and cut his right ear off.” (John 18:3-5, 10) The parallel account in Luke tells us that Jesus “touched the ear and healed him.” (Luke 22:50, 51) Again, this humane gesture was performed within sight of Jesus’ friends as well as his enemies—in this instance, his captors.
Yes, the closer we examine Jesus’ miracles, the more we discern the distinguishing marks of authenticity. (2 Timothy 3:16) And as mentioned earlier, such study should strengthen our faith in God’s promise to heal obedient humans. The Bible defines Christian faith as “the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.” (Hebrews 11:1) Clearly, God encourages, not blind credulity or wishful thinking, but solid faith built on evidence. (1 John 4:1) As we acquire such faith, we find ourselves becoming spiritually stronger, healthier, and happier.—Matthew 5:3; Romans 10:17.
Spiritual Healing Must Come First!
Many physically healthy people are unhappy. Some even attempt suicide because they have no hope for the future or because they feel overwhelmed with problems. They are, in effect, spiritually disabled—a far more serious condition in God’s eyes than a physical disability. (John 9:41) On the other hand, many who are physically disabled, like Christian and Junior mentioned in the preceding article, live happy, fulfilling lives. Why? Because they are spiritually sound and are energized with a sure hope based on the Bible.
Referring to our unique need as humans, Jesus said: “Man must live, not on bread alone, but on every utterance coming forth through Jehovah’s mouth.” (Matthew 4:4) Yes, unlike the animal creation, humans need more than material sustenance. Created in God’s “image,” we need spiritual food—the knowledge of God and how we fit into his purpose as well as the doing of his will. (Genesis 1:27; John 4:34) Knowledge of God infuses our lives with meaning and spiritual vigor. It also lays the basis for eternal life in a paradise earth. “This means everlasting life,” Jesus said, “their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”—John 17:3.
It is noteworthy that Jesus’ contemporaries did not address him as “Healer” but as “Teacher.” (Luke 3:12; 7:40) Why? Because Jesus taught people about the permanent solution to mankind’s problems—God’s Kingdom. (Luke 4:43; John 6:26, 27) This heavenly government in the hands of Jesus Christ will rule the entire earth and fulfill all the Biblical promises concerning the complete and lasting rehabilitation of righteous humans and their earthly home. (Revelation 11:15) That is why Jesus, in his model prayer, tied the coming of the Kingdom to God’s will being done on earth.—Matthew 6:10.
For many disabled individuals, learning about this inspiring hope has caused their tears of sadness to change into tears of joy. (Luke 6:21) In fact, God will do even more than eliminate sickness and disability; he will obliterate the very cause of human suffering—sin itself. Indeed, Isaiah 33:24 and Matthew 9:2-7, quoted earlier, link sickness to our sinful condition. (Romans 5:12) Hence, with sin vanquished, mankind will at last enjoy “the glorious freedom of the children of God,” a freedom that includes perfection of mind and body.—Romans 8:21.
Those who enjoy reasonably good health can easily take their situation for granted. But not so with those who suffer the trauma of disabilities. They know just how precious health and life are and how suddenly and unexpectedly things can change. (Ecclesiastes 9:11) Hence, it is our hope that the disabled among our readers will give special consideration to God’s wonderful promises as recorded in the Bible. Jesus gave his life in order to ensure their fulfillment. What better guarantee could we have?—Matthew 8:16, 17; John 3:16.
For a detailed discussion on why God has permitted suffering, see the brochure Does God Really Care About Us?, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.