So the day after posting my last article wherein I sought to show the extent of Jesus’s healing ministry, I was having my quiet time and I came across in John chapter 5 the wonderful story of Jesus’s healing of a man who had been ill for 38 years and who had no hope for ever being healed (see vs. 1-17).
What I want to bring to your attention, since the Lord brought it to mine, was there was a “multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered,” (Jn. 5:3) all around this guy, and evidently Jesus did not heal any of the rest of them. This is an exception to what we saw in all the other passages wherein Jesus encountered crowds or multitudes of people and He healed all those who needed healing. What gives?
Well part at least of what gives is Jesus went on to explain in vs. 17-20 that He only does what He sees the Father doing. This is His MO. If the Father tells Him to heal a person or persons and anoints Him to heal, then He heals that person or persons. And so in this situation in John chapter 5 the Father was focused on this one man, and He led Jesus to heal him. Jesus obeyed the Father and healed the man who had been ill for thirty eight long years. (The focus of the passage is not on whom Jesus did not heal, but on whom He did heal).
Exceptions like this drive those of us crazy who like airtight theological boxes. But my experience with most if not all theological systems, is there are exceptions, and we should not ignore them. Our fleshly carnal nature loves formulas, and we have a tendency to put our hope and trust in systems instead of in our Savior.
Here is another one I’ve had to deal with in the realm of healing the sick. Some of those who beat the healing drum the loudest believe and proclaim that because there is no sickness in heaven, therefore there should be none here. They believe and say that God could never be behind sickness or cause sickness since God is always anti sickness; and because sickness does not originate from Him and is not present in heaven or anywhere near Him.
In my studies, while there is truth to this contention, there are also exceptions. For instance in the Old Testament I recently read I Chronicles 21 wherein Satan inspired King David to have Joab count the people of Israel. God was greatly displeased with this fleshly initiative of David’s and thus decided to punish him and those he led. One of the three options God gave David for his/their punishment was “….pestilence in the land.” (vs. 12). A pestilence is a fatal epidemic disease. David chose this and 70,000 men were killed by it.
When Miriam spoke against Moses, God chose to inflict her with leprosy for seven days (see Numbers 12:13). God healed her via Moses’s intercession after those seven days.
When the congregation grumbled against Moses and Aaron, God sent a plague and 14,700 were killed (see Numbers 16:41-50). God spared the rest via Moses’s and Aaron’s intercession.
When Moses presented to the Hebrew people the choice of the blessings of obedience or the curses of disobedience, part of that curse was sickness and disease from the hand of God, “The Lord will make the pestilence cling to you until He has consumed you from the land where you are entering to possess it. The Lord will smite you with consumption and with fever and with inflammation and with fiery heat and with the sword and with blight…..”. Deut. 28:21,22
In all these cases and others I did not mention, when God inflicts a person with sickness or disease His intention is for that person to repent and be healed.
Well Randy that was the Old Testament…. What about the New Testament? Surely God would not do that in our day!
I don’t want to be too dogmatic on this, but going back to the story in John 5 wherein Jesus healed the man who had been ill for thirty-eight years, why does Jesus say to him later on, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” (vs. 14). Does this not imply that his sickness or illness was a result of his sin? Perhaps we should say God allowed it, but doesn’t it seem that God seeing His sin was a little more intentional and might be even more intentional if he does not repent and follow after Christ now?
What about Paul’s warning to the church in Corinth that sickness and even death will be His judgment on those who continue to abuse and corrupt the observance of communion or the Lord’s supper? “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep(i.e. are dead). But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.” I Corinthians 11:27-31
What about Jesus’s warning to the church in Thyatira? Let’s listen in, “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.” Revelation 2:20-23
We could also speak of God’s killing of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts chapter 5 and King Herod in Acts chapter 12.
Please hear me folks! I am not saying that every time we sin God will judge/punish us with sickness or even death. My own personal testimony is most of the times I have sinned He has not dealt with me in that way. What I am trying to say is He is God and He can do whatever He wants. He is not bound by any theological system in how He chooses to deal with sin and rebellion.
The Father evidently gave Jesus revelation that sin had something to do with the man who had been sick for 38 years and thus Jesus’s warning in John 5:14. But that did not keep the Father from leading Jesus to heal him. And it appears He healed him before there was any repentance.
Our God is full of mercy and compassion and one of the most convincing demonstrations of that in the now is when He chooses to heal someone of their sickness or disease or injury – in most every case – choosing to look past their sin and rebellion or choosing to heal them even though He sees and hates their sin and rebellion.
May our knowledge of Him and our usefulness to Him not be bound or affected by any theological system man has devised. God bless you for wrestling with these difficult concepts in the fear of the Lord.