Jesus as Healer
The Biblical World
THAT Jesus considered the healing of disease an important, or even an essential, feature of his work is apparent both from his practice and from his words. His practice again and again elicits from the evangelists the remark that they are unable to record every individual cure. They content themselves with such summaries as we find in Luke 4:40: " 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." The prominence
... ." The prominence which these physical cures had in his ministry is convincingly reflected in his fear lest the Messianic function should come to be associated, or even identified, with this form of ministry. And yet he found himself constrained more than once to draw attention to his works of healing and to their significance. When Herod's threat was reported to him, he almost gave the impression that his whole work was to heal: " I will perform cures today and tomorrow: and the third day I will be perfected." Still more significant is his explanation of his reason, or one of his reasons, for exorcism, which may be reckoned among his works of healing. His justification is that the strong man armed who guards his own house, that is, Satan, must be bound, if the contents of his house are to be spoiled. The casting out of devils was the binding of the strong man, the necessary preliminary to the taking possession of the spirit of man and the abolition of all Satanic results therein. It was the sign that the kingdom of God had really begun among men (Luke 11 :20). Why, then, did our Lord perform miracles of healing ? Not to convince people that he was the Messiah, but because he possessed that divine love and power which made him the Messiah. He wrought no miracle for the purpose of convincing men of his Messiahship. From the first, indeed, this constituted one of 169 This content downloaded from 129.