Listen to these words by the disciple Matthew wrote-
“When evening came, they brought to Him many who were brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.”
Matthew 8: 16, 17
We all accept as believers that in preaching the Gospel, we must explain how Jesus atoned for their sin. As A. J Gordan wrote, “Christ bore our sins, that you might be delivered from them,’ we say to the penitent. Not sympathy—a suffering, but substitution—a suffering for, is our doctrine of the Cross; and therefore we urge the transgressors to accept the Lord Jesus as sin-bearer, that he may no longer have to bear the pains and penalties of his disobedience. But should we shrink utterly from reasoning thus concerning Christ as our pain-bearer?”1
As we read the Gospel accounts and the Book of Acts, healing was intimately connected with the ministry of Jesus and the preaching of the Gospel. The Gospels declare that healing was evidence that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Jesus stated that He made known the Name of the Father and as we read the Old Testament, we see that He was the Lord Who Healed. Healing was part of the Old and the New Testaments. Healing glorifies Jesus. But did healing end with the apostles? If healing belongs to the church today, why don’t we see more healings today? Why don’t more people preach on healing?
Let’s start by looking at where according to the Word, sickness originated.
Sickness the Result of Sin
To understand why healing was a necessary component of Jesus’ ministry we need to understand where sin originated. So let’s start our study by understanding the source of sickness. In Matthew chapter nine, Jesus is brought a paralytic. Jesus saw their faith and said, “Take courage your sins are healed,’ (Matthew 9: 2). The scribes were outraged and felt Jesus was blaspheming. Jesus responded, “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or “Get up, and walk?’ (Matthew 9: 5). Here Jesus clearly connects sin and sickness. Now turn to Mark chapter two and let’s get a second witness.
“And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesu seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Mark 2: 3-5
If we go to the same healing in Luke chapter five we see the same thing and Jesus’ response to the scribes-
‘Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,” or to say, ‘Get up and walk?’ But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ He said to the paralytic- “I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.”
Luke 5: 23-25
We initially quoted from Matthew regarding Jesus fulfilling the prophet Isaiah. Let’s turn there-
“Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities, the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.”
Isaiah 53: 4-5
On the cross, Jesus was not alone carrying the penalty for our sin, but also the consequence of sin. He was redeeming us not just from sin, but the product of sin, sickness.
Listen to Dr. Crossan-
“In Isaiah 53: 4 we read, ‘Surely he (Christ) hath borne our griefs (kholee, sickness), and carried our sorrows (makob, pains).’
Kholee (sickness) is from challah, to be waek, sick or afflicted. In Deuteronomy 7: 15 we read, ‘The Lord will take away from thee all sickness (kholee)’ This word is translated “sickness” in Deuteronomy 28: 61, 1 Kings 17: 17, 2 Kings 1: 2, 2 Kings 8: 8, and other places.
Makob is translated ‘pain’ in Job 33: 19, ‘He is chastened also with pain (makob).’ In Jeremiah we read, “Take balm for her pain (makob.’”2
Crossan connects the word used in Isaiah for grief with sickness, disease, and pain. Matthew did the same in his glorious Gospel. But what does the word, borne, mean?
“Let us now examine the verbs in Isaiah 53: 4, ‘borne” (nasa) and ‘carried’ (sabal).
The Hebrew verb nasa means to bear in the sense of ‘suffering punishment for something.’ Leviticus 5: 1, ‘AInd if a soul sin… then he shall bear (nasa) his iniquity. In Isaiah 43: 12 we have a true meaning os nasa set forth: ‘And he (Christ) was numbered with the trangressors; and he bare (nasa) the sin of many.”3
What did other heroes of faith say regarding sin and sickness being connected. A. B Simpson said-
Man has a two-fold nature. He is both a material and a spiritual being. And both natures have been equally affected by the fall. His body is exposed to disease; his soul is corrupted by sin. 4
The pardon of sin and the healing of sickness complete one the other, for in the eyes of God, who sees our entire nature, sin and sickness are as closely united as the body and the soul.
The healing evangelist, George Jeffreys said regarding the Fall of man-
“The effects of the fall which were as follows:
- The bondage of the animal kingdom
- The curse upon the earth
- Sickness and disease.”
Jesus the Healer
If we read the Gospels, it is clear that Jesus was the Healer. In Matthew chapter eleven, John the Baptist has been imprisoned and sends his disciples Jesus. John’s disciple as Jesus if He is the Messiah or should they look for another.
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind see and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them”
Matthew 11: 4-5
To prove Who He was, Jesus told them to look and see all the miracles that were occurring through Him as well as the preaching of the Good News. In John chapter seventeen, Jesus is praying and says, “and I have made Your Name known,’ (John 17: 26). How did Jesus make known the Name? Once again preaching the Gospel and healing the sick.
“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
Acts 10: 38
This verse opened several of the heroes of faith on the message of healing. Dowie wrote that “His whole course of ministry is beautifully summed up by Peter (Acts 10: 38): ‘God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him.’ He traced physical as well as spiritual disease to this cause; and, when healing a woman who could ‘in no wise lift up herself,’ and ‘was bowed together,’ He recognized in her ‘a spirit of infirmity;’ and, when blamed for casting out this devil on the Sabbath day, He justified Himself by saying, ‘Ought not this woman, who Satan hath bound, lo! These eighteen years, be loosed from her infirmity on the Sabbath day?’ Luke 13: 10-17.”6
Dowie had initially gained a revelation on divine healing from Acts 10, that in his words became a sword in his hand when he faced sickness. Dowie said, “And then the words of the Holy Spirit inspired in Acts ten, thirty-eight stood before me all radiant with light, revealing Satan as the defiler and Christ as the Healer.” When Dowie faced the sick lady and the doctor was telling Dowie that the sickness was the way God brought “His children home.” Dowie’s response, “’It is not so;’ I explained; ‘No Will of God sends such cruelty, and I shall never say God’s Will be done to Satan’s works, which God’s own Son came to destroy, and this is one of them.”’7
John G. Lake’s wife was accidentally shot and left a dying invalid. Lake, who lived in northern Michigan at the time, called Dowie in Chicago to ask him to pray for her. and then as he faced his dying wife alone, he threw his Bible which- “opened at the tenth chapter of Acts, and my eyes fell on the thirty-eighth verse, which read: “Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the DEVIL; for God was with him.” Like a flash from the blue these words pierced by heart. “Oppressed of the devil!” Then God was not the author of sickness, and the people whom Jesus healed had not been made sick by God!8
Andrew Murray stated-
Sin in the soul and sickness in the body both bear witness to the power of Satan, and “the Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8).9
“While the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing them.”
Luke 4: 40
In the earthly ministry of Jesus, He healed everyone who came to Him. He caused the deaf to hear, the lame to walk, the blind to see and even the dead were raised. There was no sickness that He did not have authority over. Healing the sick was a major part of His earthly ministry.
“Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.”
Matthew 4: 24
In fact Jesus started His ministry by quoting Isaiah-
“And the book of Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery o sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
Luke 4: 17-19
The proof of Jesus being the Anointed One, the Messiah was the preaching of the Gospel with an anointing and healing the sick!
Healing and the Atonment
We have seen that Jesus came to destroy the works of the enemy and that He healed people with every kind of disease. But we need to go further and address what haooened on the Cross.
William Seymour who birthed the Azusa revival and pastored the church at Azusa wrote-
“Sickness and disease are destroyed through the precious atonement of Jesus. O how we ought to honor the stripes of Jesus, for “with his stripes we are healed.” How we ought to honor that precious body which the Father sanctified and sent into the world, not simply set apart, but really sanctified, soul, body and spirit, free from sickness, disease and everything of the devil. A body that knew no sin and disease was given for these imperfect bodies of ours. Not only is the atonement for the sanctification of our souls, but for the sanctification of our bodies from inherited disease. It matters not what has been in the blood.10
When we look at the work of George Jeffreys in forming the doctrine of the Foursquare church he first identified that “the Bible speaks of a time when there was no sickness or disease in the earth.”11 This was before the Fall of Adam. Wht happened?
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
Romans 5: 12
Sin was the cause of death and as Jeffreys explained, “caused the suffering and sorrow.”12 Jesus through the Cross redeemed us from sin and the consequences of sin. Andrew Murray wrote, We see that healing and health form part of Christ’s salvation.” 13
- J. Gordan explained-
“If now it be true that our Redeemer and substitute bore our sicknesses, it would be natural to reason at once that he bore them that we might not bear them. And this inference is especially strengthened from the fact, that when the Lord Jesus removed the burden of disease from “all that were sick,” we are told that it was done “that the scripture might be fulfilled, Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses.”14
- B. Simpson wrote-
“The Redeemer appears among men with both hands stretched out to our misery and need. In the one He holds salvation; in the other, healing.”15
Simpson further argues that when Matthew stated in Matthew eight, verses sixteen and seventeen, that Jesus was fulfilling what prophet Isaiah said. He wrote that this verse represented
“the very strongest possible statement of complete redemption from pain and sickness by his life and death, and the very words which the Evangelist afterwards quotes, under the inspired guidance of the Holy Ghost-Matt. viii. 17, as the explanation of His universal works of healing.”16
On the Cross when Jesus became sin and paid the price for our sin, He also bore our sickness and diseases, paying the price for our healing.
Simpson further adds-
Albert Barnes on Isaiah, or any other Hebrew authority, will see that the two words here used denote respectively sickness and pain, and that the words for “bear” and “carry,” denote not mere sympathy, but an actual substitution and the removal utterly of the thing borne. Therefore, in the same full sense as He has borne our sins, Jesus Christ has SURELY BORNE AWAY and CARRIED OFF our sicknesses; yes, and even our PAINS, so that abiding in Him, we may be fully delivered from both sickness and pain. Thus “by His stripes we are healed.”17
Is Healing the Will of God?
We have seen that Jesus not alone was the Healer, but He was also the One Who paid the price four our sin and healing. Salvation provides for both redemption from sin and sickness. Jeffreys states that “the Bible declares Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour from all sin and the Healer from all diseases.”18
The healing evangelist, F. F. Bosworth said-
“All His work is done in faithfulness” to His promises. For each sick person to know that it is God’s Will to heal him, is the “seed” which is to be planted in his mind and heart. And it is not planted until it is known and received and trusted. No sinner can become a Christian before he knows that it is God’s Will to save him. It is the Word of God planted and watered and steadfastly trusted, which heals both soul and body. The “seed” must remain planted and be kept watered before it can produce its harvest.”19
John Alexander Dowie stated regarding sickness being the will of God-
“‘It is not so,’ I exclaimed; ‘no Will of God sends such cruelty, and I shall never say God’s Will be done to Satan’s works, which God’s own Son came to destroy, and this is one of them.’20
Jesus taught us to pray using the “Our Father,” which is found in Matthew chapter six. It reads, “Our Father Who is in Heaven, Hallowed be Your Name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven, “ (Matthew 6: 9, 10). John G. Lake discusses this and points to the fact that too many translate it as “Thy will be done,” and fail to complete the sentence. The critical part is “as it is in Heaven” The Father’s perfect will is done and seen in Heaven. So, let us ask if there is sickness in heaven? Is there disease in heaven? Lake adds, “ There is no sin where the willd of God is being done, no sickness where the will of God is being done.” 21
If we look at the story of the leper that came to Jesus in Matthew chapter eight. We see the leper is confident that Jesus can heal but not on whether is was His will to heal.
“And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, ‘Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean.’ Jesus stretched out His hand ans touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”
Matthew 8: 2, 3
In declaring He was willing, Jesus declared, ‘I AM.” Jesus is always the great I AM. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We must become clearly settled on the fact that Jesus is still the Healer. McCrossan states regarding Matthew chapter eight, verse sixteen and seventeen regarding Jesus fulfilling the prophet Isaiah-
“Here, then, Delitzsch, perhaps the greatest of modern Hebraists, declares that the bearing and removing of our sickness and pains- so clearly taught in Isaiah 53: 4- is an integral part of Christ’s redeeming work; or, in other words that bodlily healing is in the Atonement. This agrees with the findings of Young, Lesser, and McLaren.”22
If we add to this-
“And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”
1 Peter 2: 24
Peter references the same scripture. Some argue that this refers to a future event when Jesus returns and we see the fulness of salvation. However, the tense used by Peter is the “aorist indicative passive.” This is a past tense act that is not continuous. In the Lord’s eyes, He has already done it. Lake argues that many use the “if it by Thy will’ because, “Instead of Christians taking responsibility, they try to put the responsibility on God.”23
Dowie strongly stated, “Disease can never be the God’s will. It is the devil’s work, consequent upon sin, nd it is impossible for the work of the Devil ever to be the will of God.”24
So, what about Paul’s thorn in the side? Bosworth addresses this by pointing to the Word and that “Paul not only tells us that his ‘thorn’ was an angel from Satan, but he also tells us what the angel came to do: ‘to buffet me,’ or as Rotherham translates it, ‘that he might be