Why Jesus Heals


John Hoole - June 13 & 20, 2010





For the last month we have begun to investigate what the Bible says about Divine Healing.  We understand from the Word of God that Jesus is the Great Physician.  He is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals you and me.  His surgery never closes and we don't have to wait for an appointment.


Three weeks ago, we examined five Greek words and one Hebrew word for healing.  Then I gave you ten biblical reasons why I believe in Divine Healing.  Last week we looked at the part that prayer has in gaining healing from God.  Near the end of class I gave you 15 biblical reasons why we should pray for the sick.


Divine Healing began centuries before God gave the Law to Moses.


Genesis 20:17 NKJV


17     So Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants.


God has always been in the healing business.  I believe in healing because I believe in the Word of God.  I believe in healing because of Scriptures like Hebrews 4:15-16.


Hebrews 4:15-16 KJV


15     For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

16     Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.


That's our Lord - our Healer.  It is my prayer that during this series each of us will understand more fully how much He love us.  When we are hurting, He is able to sympathize with us, because He knows, from personal experience, exactly what we feel.  He is prepared to have patience with our weakness, and because of his grace and mercy, give us help when we need it.  In these verses God gives us a glimpse into the heart of a compassionate High Priest.


Sixty-five years ago, at a time when our marriage was all but over, God had patience with my weakness as a husband.  By orders from the U.S. Air Force, I was sent to Eielson Air Force Base 26 miles from Fairbanks, Alaska.  When I went, I had no idea whether Paula would join me there.  The last time I talked with her prior to my going north, she had told me in no uncertain terms she would not follow me even if I was the last man on earth.  One could not really blame her because for the previous 15 months prior to that conversation, she had no idea where I was or what I was doing.  For all she knew, I could be dead.


But God was at work in each of our lives, and doing things that only He in His infinite wisdom could do.  I still marvel at how gracious He was to me.  He would tell me what to do and what to say, and equally important, what not to say.  I went to Alaska no knowing if I would ever see her again.  But God was still at work.


A few weeks after I left for Alaska, Paula went to visit my mother to tell her that she was going to divorce me.  They talked, and my mother invited her to an evening service.  This church is in a small farming town, about 10-12 miles north of Eugene, Oregon.  This church is one which Paula's father had been a pastor just a few years previously.  But at that time, my father was the pastor.  I won't fill in all the details of that evening, for that is a story for Paula to tell.  But that night God spoke to her personally, but also publicly, through a message in tongues and an interpretation.  He told her that if she did what she knew she should, then He would give her anything she asked for.


Paula did what God said, and she asked God for five things.  I don't remember the order, but among the 5 was, a good job, a personal friend, a Sunday School class to teach.  The last thing she asked for was a child.  This was a huge request, because she had already been told by doctors she could not have a baby.


On September 16, 1966, Jackie was born on Wainwright Army Base at Fairbanks.  It wasn't long for our joy to turn to anguish.  Jackie was born with a birth defect, and the prognosis of the doctors was that Jackie most likely wouldn't survive the operation she needed.  We prayed, and others were called to pray.  And in our grief, I said what none should ever say at a time like this.  I said to Paula, "if God takes Jackie, He can give us another child."  That was no solace to Paula.


The prospect of another child wasn't this child.  This girl was the one God had given her.  This was the promised child.  In her mind, losing this child would in no way be the blessing God promised.  She was ready to commit every resource she had to raise this child, no matter what birth defect she might have.  For her, the worst thing in all the world would be to lose this child.  Where did she get that kind of love - that compassion?  This child had been nothing but pain to her for months.


God was gracious to us, healing our daughter Jackie without surgery.  He performed it.


It wouldn't be until many years later I would finally learn how a mother gets that compassion.  I first learned it through some Old Testament scriptures.  Let me read a couple of them.


Psalms 86:15 NKJV


15     But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.


Micah 7:19 (NKJV) is a passage telling us what God does with our sins when we are forgiven.


19     He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.


The common thread with these two verses is the word COMPASSION.  Someone might ask, what have these two passages to do with child birth?  The major way to express God's compassion in the Old Testament was to use the Hebrew word, RACHAM.  This also is the Hebrew word for a woman's womb.  When I learned this, it literally stunned me.


It is used in verses like Genesis 30:22 (NKJV), which reads:


         22     Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb [Racham].


This link between a woman's womb and God's compassion is God's idea.  If you just think about this, you will understand other truths. The way Paula felt about our newborn girl is how He feels towards us.  Each of us are born with a defect - called sin.  And yet, He has compassion on each of us.  Like our daughter, we were helpless without Him.  We are totally dependent on Him, like a baby is to her parents.  Like a child in the womb, we have caused God pain.  And we, because of our sins, have taken the life of His only Son.  This isn't just how Paula felt towards Jackie.  This is how God feels towards us.


1.      Jesus heals out of His compassion for us


This lesson is meant to answer the question: "Why does Jesus heal the sick?"  And this is the first reason Jesus heals: Compassion.


Our heavenly Father can still be touched by our pain and sickness.  Matthew 18:6 tells us He still hates the loss of even one of his "little ones."        Because God is compassionate, he has an intense longing for his people, and desires to help them in all of their difficulties.  And that includes sickness and diseases.


Why does God heal?  Because He has great compassion towards us.  In fact, the compassion God feels to the very core of His being is much more than the compassion that we could ever experience.


Notice that God's compassion is also involved in removing our sins.


Psalms 103:8-12 NIV


 8       The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

 9       He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;

10     he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

11     For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;

12     as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13     As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

14     for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.


Understanding the true essence of the compassion of God, as presented in the Old Testament, me thinks is an awesome thing.  But I had not, until the last couple of weeks, asked if something similar occurs in the Greek also.  The compassion of Jesus is often mentioned in the New Testament.


For instance, take Matthew 14:14 (NKJV).


14     And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.


While there are three Greek words which are translated "compassion," the word used in this verse is the only Greek word used of Jesus.  The root word in Greek used in this verse is SPLANCHNIZOMAI.  That is the word when used as a verb.  When it is used as a noun, it is SPLANCHNOS.


Look at how the same word is used in Colossians 3:12 in the King James Version.


12     Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;


What word or phrase is translated from the Greek word, Splangchnos?  It is the phrase, "bowels of mercy."  In the King James Version, this Greek word is translated "bowels" nine time.


In the New King James, it is translated as "tender mercies."


12     Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;


While the Greek word for "compassion" is not synonymous with a woman's womb, it is most definitely aligned with the lower part of our abdomen.   It describes deeply felt affection for the people.  It is a word used by the apostle Paul, in his letters, eight time.


But this word is most used of Jesus, and His compassion for the people he saw.  Let's look at a few of the verses showing this compassion.  And keep in mind that Christ's compassion was felt very deeply by Him.


Matthew 15:32 NKJV, speaks of feeding the 5,000.


32     Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, "I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way."


                  As a result of this deep seated compassion, Jesus fed the multitude of people that day.


Matthew 20:34 NKJV, speaks of Jesus in Jericho where He heals two blind men - one is Bartimaeus.


34     So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.


Mark 1:40-41 NKJV


40     Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, "If You are willing, You can make me clean."

41     Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed."


Mark 6:34 NKJV


34     And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.


These are only a few of the verses speaking about the compassion Jesus had for the people.  In every example where Jesus felt compassion for someone or for a mass of people, there was such a movement of compassion from deep within Him that surged out.  His compassion led to His desire to meet the need of the people.  In some cases, his compassion caused Him to provide food, raise the dead, to deliver the demon-possessed, to heal the sick, and to provide teaching for those who were like sheep without a shepherd.


This is the reason that every time Jesus was moved with compassion, it always resulted in a healing, deliverance, resurrection, supernatural provision or some other action that changed someone's life.  Compassion always produces action.


In 1 John 3:17, we find the only use of this word by the apostle John.



1 John 3:17 KJV


17     But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?


         The NKJV renders that phase as, "shuts up his heart."


The word, SHUTTETH, is from the Greek,    kleio.  It literally means to lock up or to tightly shut up.  It pictures a believer who is deeply moved by someone else's need.  But instead of letting that compassion move him to action, this believer deliberately puts up a barrier and shuts off the flow of compassion.  Our Lord never shuts up his compassion for us.  He bears the feelings of our infirmities.


To bring our lesson to a close, let's take a look at Psalm 145.


Psalms 145:8-9 NKJV


8       The Lord is gracious and full of compassion [rachuum], slow to anger and great in mercy.

9       The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies [racham] are over all His works.


When I look at the compassion of our Lord, it seems to me that we are given a complete revelation of the Lord's willingness to heal.  And it is "this same Jesus" who, after saying, "It is expedient for you that I go away," (John 16:7) is now seated at the right hand of God the Father (Hebrews 1:3) - Why?  "That He might be a merciful (compassionate) and faithful High Priest" for us (Hebrews 2:17).


And because of that compassion, He still heals today.


2.     Jesus heals to bring glory to God


The second reason why Jesus heals is to bring glory to God.  That was one of the primary purposes in raising Lazarus from the dead.  In John 11:4, Jesus told the disciples, "This sickness will not end in death.  No it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it."  And then, later in the same chapter, Christ tells Martha:  "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"  Of course, this miracle also demonstrated that Jesus is the resurrection and life, but the stated purpose is that God might be glorified.


The same purpose is also seen in healings by the apostles.  Peter explained the healing of the lame man that took place at the Gate Beautiful this way:


Acts 3:12-13 NKJV


12     So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: "Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?

13     The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.


The healing achieved its intended effect, for Luke later says that "they were all glorifying God for what had happened [Acts 4:21].  The response of glorifying God after a healing seems to be the normal attitude.


Matthew 15:30-31 NKJV


30     Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus' feet, and He healed them.

31     So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.


This is also the major theme following the healings of:


                   •  The paralytic lowered through the roof - Luke 5:24-26.


                   •  The widow of Nain's son from the dead - Luke 7:16.


                   •  The woman bent over double by a spirit - Luke 13:13. 17.


                   •  The blind man - Luke 18:42-43.


Luke brings this theme to a fitting conclusion at the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.


Luke 19:37 NKJV


37     Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen,


Like God's compassion, this purpose is not rooted in some temporary historical circumstance.  God has always been concerned to bring glory to himself and to His Son.  Healing today ought to serve the same function.  If God gives any of us here today a healing ministry, we need to always remember who gets the credit.


One final point to make on glorifying God for healings.  There is no biblical record where people glorified God for the sickness.  They gave glory to God when the sickness was healed.  God did not put sickness on you just so He would be glorified in it.  Rather, when we are sick, we are told to pray to be healed. And when the healing comes, then God is glorified.


3.     Jesus heals to prove His mission


Christ revealed His mission to the Jews, showing that He was their Messiah, even the Son of God (John 10:36).  But many were slow in accepting His claims.  Therefore, Jesus said, in John 10:37-38 NKJV


37     If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;

38     but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him."


It was the miracles that Jesus did that convinced Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, that God was with Him (John 3:2).  The same should be true today.  God is still on a mission to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).  He still provides physical and spiritual relief from the devil.


4.     Jesus heals to fulfill the Scriptural Type


In John 3:14-15, Jesus said:


14     Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

15     that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.


Christ recognizes that the Brazen Serpent that Moses raised in the wilderness was a type of Himself.  The children of Israel had broken the Law of God, and the fiery serpents were biting the people. As a result, many of them were dying from the poison.  God commanded Moses to raise a Brazen Serpent on a stick, and then promised healing for all who would look at the serpent.  If they did, they would not die of the serpent's poisonous bite, but would live.  Would it not be strange if the type (brazen serpent) provided healing, but the One to Whom the type looked forward, even Christ, did not have power to or did not choose to heal His people?


5.     Jesus heals as a response to faith


A woman who had a hemorrhage for 12 years sneaked up behind Jesus, touching the hem of his cloak.  She was immediately healed from her disease.  Jesus, feeling that power had left his body, turned to find the woman.  He said to her: "Take heart, daughter, your faith has healed you" (Matthew 9:22).


Earlier in the same chapter, we find the story of the four men who brought their sick friend and lowered him through a hole in the roof.


         Verse 2 says, "When He saw their faith (the four men)", He healed the man.


We will have another lesson on the importance of faith in Divine Healing.  Let me provide one more example here.


When Jesus passed through Jericho for the last time, two blind men called out to Jesus.  Jesus asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" (Matthew 9:28).  This question by Jesus not only underscores the importance of faith for healing but also tells us something about the nature of faith.  Faith in God for healing means believing that He has the ability to heal.


6.     Jesus heals because He is asked to heal


Sometimes the Bible gives no other reason for the healing of Jesus than simply he was asked to heal.  One example of this happened in the region of Decapolis, where a man who was deaf and could barely speak was brought to Jesus.  The biblical text says that "they begged Jesus to put his hand on the man" (Mark 7:32).  Jesus healed both his deafness and his speech impediment simply because he was asked.  No other reason was given in the text.  No mention is made of faith, or the compassion of Jesus or the glory of God.


In the following chapter in Mark's Gospel, similar thing happens in Bethsaida.  A blind man was brought to Jesus and the people begged Him to touch the man (Mark 8:22).  Again, Jesus heals the man, but no reason is given except that He was asked.


This ought to encourage each of us to be more free in our requests for healing from our loving Lord.


7.     Jesus heals to remove hindrances to ministry


After Jesus had left the synagogue in Capernaum, he went immediately into Peter's home.  He found Peter's mother-in-law lying sick with a fever.  We read: "He took her by the hand and helped her up.  The fever left her" (Mark 1:31).  As soon as she was healed, Mark says that "she began to wait on them."


In this case, her sickness was a hindrance to her service to the Lord Jesus, so the Lord healed her.  If an illness is an obstacle to your service to the Lord Jesus, the Bible gives you complete permission to ask him to remove it.


8.     Jesus heals and performed miracles in order to teach us


Theologians call this the pedagogical purpose of miracles.  That comes from the Greek word, Paideuo, meaning "to bring up, educate."


John had this in mind when he called the miracles of Jesus "signs."  A sign is something that points beyond itself to something greater.  Of course all of the miracles Jesus did teach us something about his nature and ministry.  They also teach us something about the nature of the kingdom of God.  When Jesus turned the water into wine, he was not just demonstrating his power over nature.  He was showing us a common characteristic about his kingdom.  In his kingdom the extraordinary would be turned into the ordinary.  The fact that the steward of the wedding comments specifically that the best wine had been saved to the last may tell us also something about the way in which the kingdom will culminate.  Jesus did not hesitate to draw lessons from his miracles.  He used many of them to teach his followers about prayer and faith.


9.     Jesus heals to bring people salvation


Earlier I mentioned the healing by Christ of the man in Decapolis who was both deaf and mute.  You can read the account in Matthew 15, and Mark 7.  The record continues to tell us that this healing resulted in the fame of Jesus being spread abroad.  We are told the people came from every quarter.  They followed Him out of the city and great multitudes came to Him.


The same was true in the ministry of the New Testament church.  In the case of Philip, as he ministered in Samaria, we are told the crowds heard  Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, and they all paid close attention to what he said (Acts 8:6).  Healings and miracles became a draw to hear about salvation through Jesus.


Also, in the raising of Lazarus, John records:


         "Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him"  (John 11:45, 12:11).


This is not to say, however, that miracles always lead to faith.  Sometimes they lead to a hardening of the heart.  When the Pharisees heard that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, they did not dispute the miracle, but acknowledged Jesus had done many miracles.  But instead of believing in him themselves, "they counseled together as to how they might kill him" (John 11:49-53).


10.  Jesus heals for sovereign purposes


There are a number of healings in the New Testament where no explanation is given for them.  We can find no evidence of faith on the part of those being healed, no faith on the part of others bringing them, no statement concerning the glory of the Lord or the compassion of the Lord.  In short, He healed simply because he wanted to.


This is especially true of a group of miracles that take place on the Sabbath day.  And there is the healing of Malchus' ear (Luke 20:50-51), where Jesus refuses to accept the consequences of Peter's rash act.


And I believe that today there are times when the Lord heals someone that we would never have expected him to heal, or he does it in a way we would not expect, and he gives no reason for it.  Of course, all of this points to the fact that He alone is sovereign.  He does not have to reveal all of his purposes to us.




I want you to notice that only one of these are linked to just the events of Christ's life here on earth.  I will tell you which one as I go through each of them quickly.  The cessationist, who believes that miracles stopped at the end of the first century, have a problem with at least nine of these reason why Jesus heals.


         •  Jesus still has compassion - it did not end with the closing of the first century.


         •  Jesus still does not share His glory with another.


         •  Jesus still has, as part of His mission, to destroy the works of the devil - which sickness is.


Jesus fulfilled the Scriptural Type of the brazen serpent in the wilderness, when He was raised upon a cross.  But when we think of Jesus on the cross, we usually think of Him providing salvation.  And we know He continues to provide salvation, and is not willing for any to perish.  But the brazen serpent raised by Moses was for the purpose of healing.  I would then conclude that healing continues because what He provided on the cross was continuous.


          •  Jesus has promised to answer those who come to Him in faith.


         •  Jesus still wants us to ask Him for anything we need.


         •  He still doesn't want there to be a hindrance to our ministries.


         •  Healing and miracles still teach us about God's love and desire.


         •  There are many that still come to salvation in Christ because of experiencing a healing.


         •  And, finally, God is still sovereign.