Jesus and Those He Cured

A fresh look at miracles -- Part 2

Topics

Faith

Let us first consider that Jesus was not always in the immediate presence of the people He cured, just like the prophet Elisha who directed Naaman to go to the River Jordan. Naaman was incensed with Elisha. “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy” (2 Kings 5:11).

Jesus healed the centurion’s servant without going to the centurion’s home (see Matt. 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10). He cured the daughter of the Canaanite woman without seeing the daughter (Matt. 15:21-28). He cured a court official’s son without going to their home (Luke 4:46-53).

He also commissioned people to work miracles in His name and sent them away from Him. He sent 72 disciples, in pairs, ahead to places He would be going, instructing them to “heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” Subsequently “the seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your Name’” (Luke 10:9, 17). He also sent the Apostles, “the Twelve,” with the same instructions (see Mark 6:13; Luke 9:1-2).

I think it is worthwhile to observe how many times the Gospels record that friends and relatives brought their loved ones to Jesus. Of course they did. Which of us would not bring our loved ones to a person with a reputation for healing powers?

First, there are instances where specific individuals brought specific people to Jesus:

  • “Some people” brought a blind man to Him (Mark 8:22)
  • Four men raised their paralyzed friend to a roof, cut a hole in it, and then lowered him to Jesus Who was speaking in the home (see Matt. 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26)
  • People brought a man who was deaf with a speech impediment to Him (Mark 7:32)
  • The father of a boy with epilepsy brought the boy to Him (Mark 9:17; Luke 9:38)

There are several reports in the Gospels of large numbers of people bringing their friends and relatives to Him:

  • the “great crowds” in Matthew 15:29-31, quoted in Part 1
  • Luke 4:40 (and Matt. 8:16): “At sunset all those who had friends suffering from one kind of disease or another brought them to Him and laying His hands on each He cured them.”
  • Mark 6:53-56 (and Matt. 14:34-36): “Having made the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret and tied up [the boat]. No sooner had they stepped out of the boat than people recognized Him and started hurrying all through the countryside and brought the sick on stretchers to where they heard He was. And wherever He went, to village, or town or farm, they laid down the sick in the open spaces, begging Him to let them touch even the fringe of His cloak. And all those who touched Him were cured.”

I think the accounts of large numbers of people being cured suggests that maybe we should “go big” in our prayers. In praying for just one sick person, we are way too timid. We could, for example, pray outside a children’s hospital, asking God to cure every single patient, every single doctor and nurse, every single employee, and every single visitor, of every ailment. All of them. All instantaneously. Would it be too big an ask?

In my next post, I will discuss two more ways of looking at Jesus’ miracles: how those He cures, and their friends and relations and all observers, praise God, and the way Jesus showed tenderness during His miracles.

 

James M. Thunder has left the practice of law but continues to write. He has published widely, including a Narthex series on lay holiness. He and his wife Ann are currently writing on the relationship between Father Karol Wojtyla (the future Pope) and lay people.

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