February 14, 2006

Why Did Jesus Heal?

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 2:52 pm

This past Sunday, the lectionary included the story from the first chapter of Mark of Jesus healing the leper:

A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, ‘If you choose, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I do choose. Be made clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, ‘See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’ But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.

But Jesus didn’t come to heal, he came to proclaim the good news. Just before the account above, Jesus says to his disciples “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” So why did he spend so much of his time healing?

The first thought that occurs to me is that it was good marketing. As soon as word of his healing got around, people flocked to Jesus. They came to be healed, but ended up being saved. Is this Jesus’s bait and switch — promise them healing, give them salvation? But of course Jesus tries to avoid this result by telling the leper to “say nothing to anyone”. Jesus isn’t trying to attract the crowds by healing — he’s trying to avoid being mobbed by crowds looking to be healed instead of saved.

So why did he heal? As Pr. T mentioned to me, we can’t separate his words from his actions. He is not only preaching compassion, he is modeling it for us. Jesus can’t cure all people, everywhere and throughout all time, so he tells us that we are to care for the sick in his place. His healings then are just an extension of his teaching — he shows us what compassion looks like. We may not have the power to heal as he did, but we have the power to be compassionate as Jesus is, and to do what is within our God-given power to care for the sick.

So Jesus’s healings may have brought the crowds, inspite of his admonition to the leper, but it’s not why he healed, nor why he came. He came to proclaim the immanence of the kingdom of heaven, and to tell us and show us what the kingdom looks like. And it looks like compassion, which leads us to care for the sick.


  1. Progressive Christian volunteer writers and editors needed.

    Comment by The Canadian — March 18, 2006 @ 8:37 am


    Comment by MARTIN — April 5, 2006 @ 7:03 am

  3. Our Lord Jesus needed not to apply the marketing stratagy to heal,
    it was free anyway.
    It was the Father in him that do the miracelous sign and wonders. He
    said a hundred times it was not him but the Father and if you see,
    hear, and the works you see the Father action.
    If you don’t believe me never mind but please believes the Father’s works through me.

    Jesus was an obedient unto dead person and yielded to the Father who
    became Flesh and dwelled in Jesus to use him to preach the gospel.
    The Father said through Jesus’ mouth unless they see miracelous signs
    and wonder they will not believe me -the Father.

    We are at the home stretch in the endtime zone. So be prepared, for
    Jesus said, “Greater works then this he will do when I go to the Father”
    1-the ‘he’ is the endtime chosen vessel of God.
    2-when I go to the Father -speak of Jesus’ dead
    3-the Father -speak of the same Father that dwell in Jesus will dwell in
    the endtime vessel and work the greater of all works performed during
    Jesus lifes’ ministry.

    Were this not explain to you all by your Pastor?

    Comment by yap ploy — May 25, 2006 @ 12:08 am

  4. You write: “We may not have the power to heal as he did, but we have the power to be compassionate as Jesus is, and to do what is within our God-given power to care for the sick.”

    But thats not what Jesus said. He said that he has given his disciples the power to heal the sick, to drive out demons, and whatsoever we ask, believing and doubting not, we shall receive. He even said that signs would follow those who preach the word. Therefore do not say “we may not have”, for that is pure doubt. or impure doubt as it were. Faith says “We have the power to heal as he did, through the power of his Holy Spirit which he promised to give to all believers.”

    Peace be with you O ye of little faith.

    Comment by me — July 29, 2006 @ 10:39 pm

  5. with god all things are possible

    Comment by with God all thing are possible — November 25, 2006 @ 10:16 pm

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