Speaking the Truth in Love

Does Jesus Heal Today?

The Gospels include numerous accounts of healing miracles performed by Jesus. For instance, the Lord cured Peter’s mother-in-law of a high fever (Luke 4:38-39). He gave vision to a man born blind (John 9:7). Jesus restored good health to lepers, epileptics, paralytics, the lame, the maimed, the deaf, the mute.

These accounts raise an important question: Is Jesus still healing people today? Yes, he is. Every time someone recovers from cancer, the flu, a broken bone, or even a common cold, the Lord is the healer. A physician can set a fractured femur, remove a diseased appendix, or give a blood transfusion. He himself must admit, though, that the healing process is beyond human control. “The rest of the work,” he may tell his patient, “is up to Mother Nature.” Of course, there is no Mother Nature. Father God is the source of all blessings (Jas. 1:17). This is why Christians believe that “the prayer of faith will save the sick” (5:15).

But is Jesus still performing healing miracles of the sort recorded in the Gospels? No. By definition, eternal nature cannot change. Jesus still has the power to open the eyes of people born blind, restore vitality to withered limbs, and give perfect hearing to children born deaf. He will exercise this great power on the last day by emptying every tomb on earth (John 5:28-29). But God’s power to miraculously heal today doesn’t compel him to use it. The Lord still has the power to deluge the earth with water, but he promised Noah that no universal flood would ever come again (Gen. 9:11).

Similarly, Paul indicated that the time for miraculous gifts in the church was limited. Two significant truths emerge from a careful examination of his correspondence with the churches at Corinth and Ephesus. First, Jesus richly blessed the infant church with miraculous gifts. Some were apostles, some were prophets, some spoke fluently in foreign languages previously unknown to them, and some performed miraculous healings (1 Cor. 12:8-10, 28-30; Eph. 4:7-11). Second, the Lord intended to withdraw these special gifts as the church matured. “As for prophecy,” Paul said, “it will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease” (1 cor. 13:8). Christ gave gifts to the church “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood […] so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:13-14).

No sensible person would argue that every local congregation or every individual Christian is mature. However, Jesus built his church almost 2,000 years ago. Can it be honestly said that the church is in its infancy? Besides, the miracles so essential to the confirmation of the spoken message (Heb. 2:1-4) are no longer necessary. The books of the New Testament, completed at the end of the first century, stand unassailable after more than 19 centuries of painstaking scrutiny, probing questions, and malicious attack.

Every day both Christians and unbelievers recover from sicknesses of many kinds. And our gracious Lord is always the healer. But the modern church lacks the healing gifts so freely bestowed in the first century. No one has the power, for example, to lay hands on a person born with glaucoma and restore his failed vision. Anyone wishing to dispute this assertion is welcome to call me (214-771-1577) and make an appointment at his convenience. I’m typing this blog with the assistance of a speech synthesizer and will proofread it in Braille. If someone can instantly heal me, I will rethink my position on modern spiritual gifts and publicly make any appropriate retractions.

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