It is any wonder people flocked to Jesus? His healing percentage was 100% effective, and it was free! We aren’t told of any animosity in the medical community toward Jesus, but we have to wonder if there weren’t some who were afraid He was going to put them out of business. He undoubtedly cut into their profits. So what has changed?
Does Jesus Still Heal?
It is impossible to avoid the reality that people aren’t healed “in Jesus name” in the numbers we find recorded in the scriptures. How do we explain this change?
Could the difference be that Jesus is no longer here in the flesh to perform healings? Even though Jesus is alive, our communion with Him is framed by our prayer life and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Yet, we know from biblical accounts, the apostles were able to heal the sick and raise the dead after Jesus left the earth. One of the first major events in the book of Acts involved the healing of a man lame since birth by Peter and John (Acts 3:1-8). The man’s healing was just like the ones we find during Jesus’ ministry. It was instantaneous, complete, and verifiable. The undeniable truth of a miracle “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” drew more people to hear what Peter and John had to say, and their testimony before community leaders emboldened the entire church in its mission.
Maybe the problem is with our faith. The disciples were willing to die for Jesus, and they were completely committed to the task of sharing salvation with their world. Perhaps if we prayed harder, or believed more, we would see more healings. There are two problems with this theory. While it is true we often lack the faith we should have, all people of great faith in previous generations are dead, together with the people they reached out to in Jesus’ name. This list includes the apostles and the early church fathers whose faithfulness is unquestioned. At some point all of these people of faith were unable heal or be healed. The second problem with the faith question is that it is very difficult to assess someone else’s faith. How do we evaluate the strength of another person’s belief system? Are we God?
Finally, some approach the difference between Jesus’ healings in the Bible and healings today from a strategic perspective. The thought here is that Jesus’ healings, while sincerely motivated by His love for those He met, were primarily for the purpose of establishing His authority as the Son of God. Until the New Testament books were completed, the early apostles shared in this authority to validate their message and ministry. As the apostles died, and scripture was being circulated within church circles, healings that were instantaneous, complete and verifiable were no longer necessary.
A side topic to any discussion on healing “in the name of Jesus” considers modern science and God’s gifting of those trained in the medical arts. Surgeons today can save lives through simple and quick procedures. A regiment of pills can cure fatal diseases. Once, people chased after Jesus to touch His cloak. Now we thank God for doctors and pray for Him to guide them in their work, even as we acknowledge God could cure us if He wanted. And we still pray “in Jesus’ name.” What are we to think or expect? Does Jesus still heal?
I answer this question with a resounding “Yes!” It is good to recognize the purpose of the healings recorded by scripture. I agree they took place to establish Jesus’ authority and to validate the message of the apostles. I also understand why God might not heal everyone who prays, regardless of the depth of their faith. In fact, aside from our human desire to live and preserve the lives of our loved ones, the case could be made that God’s greatest gift is when He brings us home? Will we not then be in the presence of our Savior?