• Christ as a Healer in the New Testament

    And Modern-Day Applications
  • Christ as a Healer in the New Testament

    And Modern-Day Applications
  • Christ as a Healer in the New Testament

    And Modern-Day Applications

The Master Healer

Healing During His Mortal Ministry

The day starts like any other as you slowly make your way to your usual spot for begging on the corner. With years of experience, you read the nearby crowd and petition the passersby for money. So far it has been a pretty slow morning, but this all changes when you hear a commotion in the distance. As a man hurries by, nearly tripping over his cloak, he excitedly tells you to come and see; it is the miracle worker, Jesus. You wonder if it could really be Him. Could he really heal me? Followed by His disciples, Christ rounds the corner, and you feel yourself crying out to Him in a daze. He walks over, asks if you believe you can be healed then simply and quickly removes the biggest burden of your life, your debilitating condition. From that point on, you are a transformed individual, and not only do you have a renewed body, but you have dedicated your life to the man who healed you.

Throughout the New Testament, Christ completely converts the lives of the disabled in an unforgiving era. He spends a large part of His mortal ministry healing what seems to be hundreds of people, and for Him to dedicate so much of His short mortal experience to it, it must have been critical to God’s work. Christ’s healing powers go hand in hand with His divine mission, saving God’s children. His miracles hold both literal and metaphorical value, showing us His power over the mortal condition and demonstrating His focus on individuals and converting their lives.

In the latter-days, we use Christ miracles as parables, direct examples of how He can heal us, and testaments of His divinity. They teach us about why He came and how we can better be like Him. But what did they mean to the people of the time?

To the Jews of Christ’s time, His miracles gathered attention and set Him apart from other philosophers or teachers of the time. He would draw large crowds, who expectantly brought Him their sick to be healed. According to Four Portraits, One Christ by Mark L. Strauss, even non-Christian literature of His time mentioned Him as a healer or miracle worker (p. 458). This attention set the stage for his ministry and the beginning of His church. It gathered people together, primed them to believe in His divinity, and manifest His role to them as their Savior.

Something can be learned from all of Christ’s miracles, but below are just a few particularly powerful examples of His healing power.

Examples

Scriptural Characters

The Man with Palsy

The story of Jesus healing the man with palsy in Matthew 9 contributes significantly to the portrait of Christ as a healer. Not only does He cure someone who was completely disabled, He also tells him that his sins are forgiven. As Jesus lets the skeptical scribes know, this encounter reaffirms that He has power to heal the physical body and establishes that He has the power to forgive. He is a healer of the spirit in addition to the body.

The Faithful Woman

By simply touching Jesus' cloak, the suffering woman in Matthew 9 set an wonderful example of what is required of us when seeking His healing. The woman's blood disorder, which had plagued her for twelve years, was gone in an instant because she put her faith in Him. Jesus' responded to her trust with His powerful, often-used response, "Thy faith hath made thee whole" (Matthew 9:22), which gives all we need to know about our simple part. Jesus' power is available to those who trust in Him.

Mary and Martha

John 11 is phenomenal source when comparing 's roles of mending broken bodies with comforting hurt or broken minds. In the chapter's most obvious miracle, Christ demonstrates power over the most universal bodily ailment, death, by resurrecting Lazarus. However, in the verses before, he also shows His perfect ability to comfort the mourning. His ability to comfort Martha and Mary, each receiving words catered to her needs, expresses his power over our minds and emotions in addition to the body.

Quotes

All-Encompassing Healing

Matthew 4:24

"[T]hey 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 lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them."

Alma 15:8

"If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed."

Dallin H. Oaks

"The healing power of the Lord Jesus Christ—whether it removes our burdens or strengthens us to endure and live with them like the Apostle Paul—is available for every affliction in mortality" (He Heals the Heavy Laden, Oct. 2006).

Broken

A World That Needs Healing

All Chronic Disease
All Chronic Disease
40%
Disability
Disability
13%
Mental Illness
Mental Illness
20%
Substance Addiction
Substance Addiction
9%

Roles

Physical

This aspect of Christ’s power is heavily emphasized during His mortal ministry. The physical miracles were concrete, something that the audience could put a finger on. This allowed Christ demonstrate the pattern of faith followed by the power to be healed. It acted as a precursor to the other forms of healing, allowing people to get a grasp of healing power. As seen when Christ healed the man with palsy, He used these miracles to talk about how His power extended beyond the physical body and allowed Him to forgive sins. It often seems this form of healing has taken a back seat to emotional and spiritual healing in the Latter-day church, but General Authorities and individual experiences maintain that it is still very much alive. It is not as large of a part of the gospel as in Christ’s ministry, but that may be a cause of God communicating with His children in a way that they will best understand based on their culture.

Mental

Peace and joy are words used time and again to describe Jesus’ good news. True joy can only be found in Christ, so He is the ultimate mental counselor. Some of the New Testament examples of Him casting out demons or similar things are often interpreted as Him curing mental illnesses like epilepsy or schizophrenia. He manifests His power to heal the mentally ill and comfort the emotionally injured. This further witnesses of the all-encompassing nature of His power. Even things which seem innate and ingrained into someone’s very character can be healed by Christ.

Spiritual

This seems to be what all the other forms of healing are either symbols of or indirectly leading to. Just like the other two, it requires faith. Several times, Christ forgave someone at the same time as healing them physically, showing that the same faith that gives Him the power to heal physically allows Him to help us spiritually. Some physical or mental conditions have to be suffered for a lifetime, only to be healed in the resurrection, no matter how strong someone’s faith is, but spiritual healing is surefire. If we come to Christ sincerely, He can and will always forgive.

Overlap

The forms of healing power all overlap. The all just fall under the category of a tool Christ uses to help us return to God and have everlasting happiness. This is what determines how and when his power is used. Ultimately, all three will be used in the end on the faithful to help them receive glorified bodies and become more like God.

Application

Why It Matters

As Latter-day Saints, it is essential to understand these healing powers. If viewed on a shallow level, Christ’s miracles could just appear as a show of power just to prove He was the Son of God and amaze his disciples. However, by seeking deeper understanding, we can see the beauty of the miracles and how they help us understand the Atonement.

A beautiful way to view the atonement is as a continual process of Him healing us. Fiona and Terryl Givens explain it gracefully in their book, The Christ who Heals: “[H]ealing signals the beginning of a glorious journey now unfolding, while saving implies its end. And we are all very much in eternity’s morning” (pg. 64). As mortals, we are all broken, sick, and in desperate need of a Savior. Christ’s miracles show us that He is this Savior; he is the healer we all need. All we need to do is trust Him.

Sources and Further reading:

About

The Designer/Author

Jubal Rasmussen

Freshman

Brigham Young University

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