New Testament Miracles of Healing
Some modern evangelists claim to work miracles of healing just like Jesus and his apostles did. But these present-day “faith healers” come up short when compared with the Divine record. Consider a few things that set New Testament healings apart.
■ They were of all kinds. Jesus healed people who were demon-possessed, epileptic, paralyzed (Matthew 4:24), lame, crippled, blind, mute (Matthew 15:30), hemorrhaging (Luke 8:43-48), leprous (Luke 17:11-19), deformed (Mark 3:1-6), mutilated (Luke 22:50-51), and afflicted with any number of other diseases and disabilities. The ailments healed by Christ and his apostles weren’t just of the “invisible” variety. You won’t see modern preachers try to restore severed limbs or heal open wounds — that would be too hard to fake.
■ They were complete and immediate (cf. Matthew 8:3; 9:27-30; 12:13; Acts 3:16). In no case did anyone make a gradual or partial recovery. The person cured was immediately made completely well or whole.
■ Faith was not always required in the one being healed. Modern faith healers sometimes blame failures on a lack of faith in those seeking to be cured. Yes, Jesus did on occasion say to a healed person, “Your faith has made you well” (Luke 8:48; 17:19; 18:42). But some were healed because of the faith of others (Matthew 8:5-13). And the man at the pool of Bethesda didn’t even know who had healed him (John 5:13). In no case was a failed attempt at healing blamed on the faithlessness of the sick person. In fact, when failures did occur, the problem was with the healer (cf. Mark 9:17-29; Acts 19:13-16).
■ Those healed were not always present. While in the town of Cana, Jesus healed a nobleman’s son who was sick at Capernaum, some 25 miles away (John 4:46-53). The New Testament reports other such “long distance” healings (Matthew 8:5-13; Acts 19:11-12). Most modern healers have to lay hands on somebody and knock them over. Jesus didn’t even have to be in the same place.
■ The healings were open to public scrutiny. They were not rehearsed, staged, or done on a “closed set.” Many were very public (cf. Matthew 12:9-14; 21:14; Acts 3:1-8). It made no difference who was there. Some of today’s healers say a miracle is impossible when unbelievers are present; Jesus often went out of his way to heal in front of his critics (cf. Mark 3:1-6; Luke 14:1-6). In several cases the affliction of the one healed was a matter of common knowledge (cf. John 9:1,8,18-21; Acts 3:1-10; 9:33-34). The open, public nature of these signs is one thing that made them so effective. Even the opponents of Jesus and his apostles did not deny that the miracles were genuine (John 11:47; Acts 2:22; 4:16).
■ No special healing services were required. While some healings were public, others were done more privately (cf. Mark 1:29-31). If a crowd was present, they didn’t have to be whipped into an emotional frenzy to “get the Spirit moving” before a miracle could take place.
■ The healings supported the preaching of truth. Miraculous healing, like other miracles, was Divine confirmation of the message that Christ and his apostles preached (Hebrews 2:3-4). Their message is contained in what we know as the New Testament. The words of modern faith healers often do not agree with the New Testament. They often don’t agree with one another, either! Since “God is not a God of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33), we can be sure He is not behind their message or their so-called miracles.