Healing is a facet of God's plan. His plan for Abram was to "make you into a great nation" (Ge 12:2). In addition, God said "'To your offspring I will give this land'" (:7). The location was at Shechem and the Canaanites were there (:6). The Lord confirmed it by making a covenant with Abram (:18). "Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness" (:6). Many years later God said to Abram "'I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers'" (Ge 17:2). He even changed his name to Abraham (:5). God again promised to give Canaan to his descendants (:8). Furthermore he said "'my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you'" (:21).
Another part of God's plan unfolded when he brought "the Israelites out of Egypt" (Ex 12:51). Moses reminded them that Canaan was their destination because it was "'the land he swore to your forefathers to give you'" (13:15). After they crossed the Red Sea "the Lord made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them" (15:25). Not only did he deliver them from Egypt but he became "'the Lord, who heals you'" (:26). However, their responsibility was to "'listen carefully . . . [and] pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees'" (:26). If they were disobedient he would not protect them against the diseases the Egyptians suffered (:26). Healing was one of God's provisions for the Israelites but it was conditional. "'Worship the Lord your God, and . . . I will take away sickness from you'" (Ex 23:25). "'The Lord will keep you free from every disease. He will not inflict on you the horrible diseases you knew in Egypt'" (Dt 7:15). "However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees . . . all these curses will come upon you" (Dt 28:15).
God's choosing and leading Israel is valuable history. "These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come" (1Co 10:11). Old Testament content is meaningful to Christians even though "Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant" (Heb 7:22). Are we permitted then to copy-and-paste only what we feel applies from the Old Testament to the New Testament? You can only be selective if the New Testament states that something has been superceded. We must realize that "I the Lord do not change" (Mal 3:6). "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb 13:8). Therefore, his desire to heal continues.
The Psalms confirm this. The Lord "forgives your sins and heals all your diseases" (Ps 103:3). Some ills are your own fault. They "became fools . . . and suffered affliction" (107:17). Then they called for help and "he sent forth his word and healed them" (:20). Was this physical or spiritual? It was partly the former since they "loathed all food and drew near the gates of death" (:18). Is it strange that God's word was involved in the healing? Not scripturally. God's words are "life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body" (Pr 4:22). If you follow the instructions you can be healed. Then you must profess the advice because "the tongue of the wise brings healing" (12:18). "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit" (8:21).
Is the healing manifested in the Old Testament in effect today? "Christ is the mediator of a new covenant . . . to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant" (Heb 9:15). How are the old and new connected? The new cites that he "healed all the sick . . . to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: 'He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases'" (Mt 8:17). Isaiah 53 is quoted. The word "diseases" used by Matthew refers to Isaiah's "sorrows" (:4). That fulfillment occurred when "Jesus went throughout Galilee . . . healing every disease and sickness among the people" (Mt 4:23). "The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed" (Isa 53:5). The meaning is that it applies currently. At the Last Supper regarding his crucifixion Jesus said "'This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you'" (Lk 22:20). Those wounds cover our healing today.
Jesus "stood up [in the synagogue] to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him" (Lk 4:17). He read the prophetic message about the Messiah which includes "the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me" (Isa 61:1). It prophesied that "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power" (Ac 10:38). "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you" (1:8). "He went around doing good and healing all who were under power of the devil, because God was with him" (10:38). Jesus said, "'it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work'" (Jn 14:10). God's "power had gone out of him" (Mk 5:30). Jesus acknowledged "'the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing'" (5:19).
Jesus also read, "'He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind'" (Lk 4:18). To Isaiah this was "release from darkness for the prisoners" (Isa 61:1). This happened literally since Jesus directed them to tell John "the blind receive sight'" (Mk 11:5). For others "'these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name . . . they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well'" (Mk 16:17,18). "'Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father'" (Jn 14:12). "The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people" (Ac 5:12). "People brought the sick into the streets . . . so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them" (:15). "Stephen . . . did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people" (6:8). "God did extraordinary miracles through Paul . . . and their illnesses were cured" (19:11).
Is there a method to follow for healing? There is usually a point of contact through which God's power flows. A woman in a large crowd thought "'If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed'" (Mk 5:28). Then "she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering" (:29). "She [had] heard about Jesus" (:27) and approached him from behind in the crowd. Others had heard also. "When the men of that place recognized Jesus . . . [people] begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed" (Mt 14:35,36). Also Paul's "handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured" (Ac 19:12). Did God impregnate the cloth with supernatural energy? That would be science fiction. God is omnipresent. In his omnipotence he knows when to personally manifest his power. "'I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled'" (Jer 1:12).
Another point of contact is touch. "Jesus put forth his hand and touched him . . . and immediately his leprosy was cleansed" (Mt 8:2,3). "He touched her hand and the fever left her" (Mt 8:14). He "put fingers into his ears . . . and touched his tongue" (Mk 7:33) and his "ears were opened . . . and he spoke plainly" (:35). "They brought a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him" (Mk 8:22).
You might say the official method for healing is "the foundation of . . . the laying on of hands" (Heb 6:1). People were aware of this because "they begged him to place his hand on the man" (Mk 7:32). Jairus "pleaded earnestly with him . . . come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live" (Mk 5:23). Laying on of hands is doctrine because it was part of the Old Covenant and used in the annual festivals. The priests were to "lay their hands on its head" (Ex 29:10). This transferred the sins of the people to the sacrifice which was a type of Christ.
"Jesus put his hands on the [blind] man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored" (Mk 8:25). In the synagogue where he was teaching Jesus saw a crippled woman. He said to her "'you are set free from your infirmity'" (Lk 13:12). "Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God" (:13). Then after the resurrection Jesus told them "'these signs will accompany those who believe'" (Mk 16:17). "'They will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well'" (:18). The father of the chief official of Malta was ill. On Paul's visit "after prayer, [he] placed his hands on him and healed him" (Ac 28:8). We can surmise that the miracles God did through the apostles (5:12), Stephen (6:8), and Paul (19:11) were accomplished by the laying on of hands.
Healing is a two-way street. It is available to everyone because Jesus "went around doing good and healing all" (Ac 10:38). "The people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all" (Lk 6:19). But you have to be open to accept the healing. You can't have a closed mind. For example, Jesus made a trip to the town where he was born and raised. The people remarked "Isn't this the carpenter?" (Mk 6:3). Then "they took offense at him" (:3). Consequently "he could not do any miracles there, except lay hands on a few sick people and heal them" (:5). It is more than just a lack of cooperation. "Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of the miracles had been performed, because they did not repent' (Mt 11:20). Few allowed miracles in Nazareth. Jesus was saying "it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you" (:22). He was "amazed at their lack of faith" (Mk 6:6) of the people in his hometown.
You've heard "necessity is the mother of invention." If you are sick you have a motivation to become well. If there is hope for a cure you optimistically take advantage of the opportunity. "A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "'Lord, if you are willing you can make me clean'" (Mt 8:2). A centurion asked for help saying, "'Lord, . . . my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering'" (:4). "A ruler came and knelt before him and said, "'My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live'" (9:18). "Two blind men followed him, calling out, 'Have mercy on us, Son of David!'" (:27). "Ten men who had leprosy met him . . . and called out in a loud voice, 'Jesus, Master, have pity on us!'" (Lk 17:!3). Notice that they all had confidence in who he was and that he was capable of healing them.
It requires a commitment on the part of the recipient to receive healing. It had to be ascertained verbally or in some way spiritually substantiated. Jesus asked the blind man ""Do you believe that I am able to do this?'" (Mt 9:28). A Canaanite woman even had to provide proof by saying "'even the dogs eat crumbs that fall from their masters' table'" (15:27). Although Jesus said he'd go to the centurion's house to heal his servant, the centurion had confidence in orders and said, "I am a man under authority . . . [and] say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it" (8:9). Therefore he said to Jesus "'just say the word, and my servant will be healed" (:8).
The result of being healed was predicated on the petitioner's belief. When the blind men answered "'Yes, Lord'" (Mt 9:28) Jesus said, "'According to your faith will it be done' . . . and their sight was restored" (:29-30). To the Canaanite woman "Jesus answered, 'Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.' And her daughter was healed from that very hour" (15:28). In reply to the centurion Jesus said, "'I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith'" (8:10). Then he directed the centurion, "'Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.' And his servant was healed at that very hour" (:13).
Jesus is willing to heal, for when the leper asked, he said "'I am willing, . . . Be clean!'" (Mt 8:3). But you have to be ready to receive. When the blind man said he was ready Jesus replied, "'According to your faith will it be done to you'" (9:29). You have to have faith to believe. "It is with your heart that you believe" (Ro 10:10). "Faith comes from hearing" (:17) so you must have input. But it is with your inner self and not exclusively with your intellect that you believe in spiritual things. "'Everything is possible for him who believes'" (Mk 9:23).
Jesus said, "'Have faith in God'" (Mk 11:22). To believe is having faith. "'If you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer'" (Mt 21:22). "'Therefore all things which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you'" (Mk 11:24). Verse 24 beginning with "therefore" is predicated on the preceding one. Jesus explained "'if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him'" (:23). The person commands something to happen and then believes he has already received it. Also he does not doubt it will be done. When Peter "saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink, cried out" (Mt 14:30). Jesus caught him saying, "'You of little faith . . . why did you doubt?'" (:31). Peter had the faith because Jesus said, "'Come'" (:29), but doubt cancelled faith.
The centurion knew that all Jesus had to do was "'just say the word'" (Mt 8:8). "He drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick" (:16). Faith is released by words. "By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned" (12:37). "The tongue has the power of life and death" (Pr 18:21). "The tongue of the wise brings healing" (12:18). Jesus taught "'out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks'" (Mt 12:34). The faith you have is expressed in speech. "What he says will happen" (Mk 11:23). It works because of the characteristics of the communication. Jesus said "the words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life" (Jn 6:63). He also reveals "'I am in the Father . . . [and] the words I say to you are not just my own'" (14:10).
God gave Jesus "the name that is above every name" (Php 2:9). He had "the highest place" (:9). "At the name of Jesus every knee will bow" (Php 2:10). By this authority he commissioned the disciples to spread the Good News (Mk 16:15). They would manifest this power "'in My name'" (:17) and "'signs will accompany'" them (:17). Their efforts would be "'greater things . . . because I am going to the Father'" (Jn 14:12). This would "'bring glory to the Father'" (:13). Jesus said "'I will do whatever you ask'" (:13). He had said "'in that day you will no longer ask me anything'" (Jn 16:23). When he was with them their questions were posed to him. But with Jesus in heaven "'my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name'" (:23) "'so that your joy may be made full'" (:24).
Peter knew because he told the cripple "'what I have I give you'" (Ac 3:6). He had the faith because he understood that "by his wounds we are healed" (Isa 53:5). Peter got the man's attention by looking "straight at him" (Ac 3:4) and the man was "expecting to get something from them" (:5). Peter transmitted the faith because he gave (:6) it. It was a heavenly request because he expressed "'in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk'" (:6). The Father "will give you" (Jn 16:23) the response and Jesus "will do" (14:13) what you ask. So when Peter "helped him up . . . the man's feet and ankles became strong . . . and [he] began to walk" (Ac 3:7,8). The people "were filled with wonder and amazement" (:10).
There is liberal permission for what to ask of God. "'Ask, and it will be given to you; . . . for everyone who asks receives'" (Mt 7:7,8). Your Father will "give good things to them that ask him: (:11). "In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Php 4:6). "You do not have because you do not ask" (Ja 4:2). "You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives" (:3). "'Your Father knows what you need before you ask him'" (Mt 6:8). Paul "implored the Lord three times that it might leave me" (2Co 12:8) but God said 'My grace is sufficient for you'" (:9). "If our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him" (1Jn 3:21-22).
Therefore "if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know we have the requests which we have asked from Him" (1Jn 5:14-15). Then do like Paul who said "I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told" (Ac 27:25). "We who have believed enter that rest" (Heb 4:3). "'Do not fear or be dismayed . . . for the battle is not yours but God's'" (2Ch 20:15). However we are to "fight the good fight of faith" (1Ti 6:12) because "for without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Heb 11:6). But to fight doesn't mean self-effort. "Are you now being perfected by the flesh?" (Gal 3:3). God works miracles among you by hearing with faith (:5).
Years ago a "name it and claim it" doctrine surfaced. It sounded like guarantying something on your gift list or getting money to miraculously materialize as in winning the lottery. "'Your heavenly Father knows that you need'" (Mt 6:32) provisions to eat, drink and wear (:31). If you seek God first "all these things will be added to you" (:33). The Bible says this and Jesus is "the Word" (Jn 1:14). He said "'if you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you'" (Jn 15:7). The deceptive doctrine says that you can speak anything into existence you wish. But it doesn't consider that it has to be in accordance with God's words "in you" (:7). The words are there if you meditate on the book of the law (Jos 1:8). They are there because "Your word I have treasured in my heart" (Ps 119:11). "Jesus answered, 'It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God''" (Mt 4:4). Being written is reiterated in verses 7 and 10. "If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa 8:20).
God officially established healing in the church. "To each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good" (1Co 12:7). One is "gifts of healing" (:9). In this case the gift is a ministry through the one assigned. We know that you need faith to receive healing. "Faith by the same Spirit" (:9) is provided so you possess it to receive healing. You might say the gifts are interactive. Faith to operate and receive the gift of "miraculous powers" (:10) is necessary. "God has appointed . . . workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing" (:28). "Do all have gifts of healing?" (:30). "He gives them to each one, just as he determines" (:11).
In the church if anyone is sick he should call the elders (Ja 5:14). They should "pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord" (:14). It will heal him and "the Lord will raise him up" (:15). It is a collective endeavor to "pray for each other so that you may be healed" (:16). "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (:16). This is illustrated in the case of a fig tree (Mt 21:18-20). Jesus told them they could "'do what was done to the fig tree'" (:21). Furthermore "'if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer" (:22). "'Believe you have received it, and it will be yours'" (Mk 11:24). "By his wounds you have been healed" (1Pe 2:24). It has already been done and just needs to be manifested. Jesus instructed the centurion, "'Go! It will be done just as you believed it would'" (Mt 8:13). He told the woman, "'Go in peace and be freed from your suffering'" (Mk 5:34). Healing is the "'children's bread'" (Mt 15:27). Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.' And her daughter was healed from that very hour" (:28).
Your faith heals you (Mk 5:34). You have faith because "'My words abide in you'" (Jn 15:7). Paul said "the word is . . . in your heart" (Ro 10:8). "Let the word of Christ richly dwell in you" (Col 3:16). It "comes from hearing" (:17). Its "by the word of Christ" (:17). Its "the word of faith which we are preaching" (:8). Faith is confidence built on the trust that the word is "forever . . . settled in heaven" (Ps 119:89). Faith is inspiration because the "unfolding of Your words gives light" (:130). Therefore "walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light" (1Jo 1:7) and it will work out.