Praise to God for Healing

A fresh look at Jesus' healing miracles -- Part 3

Topics

Faith

When Jesus performed miraculous healings, those he cured — along with their friends, relations, and all observers — gave praise to God. Beginning the moment of their cure, these men, women and children would talk nonstop about it. The man with leprosy “started talking about it freely and telling the story everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer go openly into any town, but had to stay outside in places where nobody lived” (Mark 1:45). Anyone who observed any of these miracles talked about them incessantly:

  • “Astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, ‘We have seen incredible things today’” (Luke 5:26)
  • “Everyone was awestruck by the greatness of God” (Luke 9:43)
  • “All the people were overjoyed at all the wonders He worked” (Luke 13:17)

No doubt for an entire lifetime, each person cured remembered not only his or her cure but also the friends who had brought him or her to Jesus. Each remembered where and when they were cured. Each remembered the name of the Man Who cured him or her. Every friend and relative of the people cured were walking and talking witnesses to Him. They all had stories to tell — just like the Samaritan woman by the well who told all her townspeople, and likely never stopped telling people (John 4:28-29). These accounts by members of the Church in Galilee and Judaea became part of the oral tradition that the Evangelists retold in writing their Gospels. This brings to mind the last words of John’s Gospel where John confesses that he cannot tell all of the magnificent stories: “There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).

Some people cured by Jesus did more than tell people of their cures. Some of them “followed Him”:

  • the two formerly blind men from Jericho “followed Him” (Matt. 20:34)
  • “Certain women who had been cured of evil spirits and ailments” followed Him: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna and “several others” (Luke 8:2-3)

In this connection, recall the crippled man cured in Jesus’ Name by Peter. After the cure, when people in the area rushed to Peter and John with “great excitement,” the cured man “was still clinging to Peter and John” (Acts 3:11). Indeed, during the hearing the next day, after a night in jail, the man was standing by their side (Acts 4:14).

As for Jesus Himself, there are many “tender moments” in the reports of His miracles that we should not glance over. They are worthy of our fresh look:

  • With great love for His dear mother, He agreed to start His public ministry, the public revelation of Who He is, by changing water into wine at a wedding in Cana (see John 2:1-11). This report appears only in the Gospel of John, the young man to whom Jesus, from the cross, gave the care of His mother (see John 19:26-27).
  • Earlier, I mentioned the cure of the woman bent over. This woman had been bent over for 18 years. Her cure came about on Jesus’ initiative. He saw her in the congregation when He was teaching in a synagogue. He called her over and declared, “Woman, you are rid of your infirmity!” and He laid His hands on her (Luke 13:12-13).
  • When Jesus cured a young man of epilepsy, Jesus “gave him back to his father” (Luke 9:42). Mark adds another detail. After the cure, observers said the boy “is dead” because the boy lay like a corpse. “Jesus took him by the hand, and helped him up, and he was able to stand” (Mark 9:27).
  • The woman with bleeding who touched His cloak amidst a crowd told Him her “whole truth” (about her illness and that she touched His cloak). He responded, “Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:33-34).
  • When a leper, contrary to all law and custom, approached Jesus, he said, “Sir, if you want to, you can cure me.” Jesus responded by doing the unthinkable. Jesus touched him! Then He said (and consider what must have been His tone), “Of course I want to [cure you]. Be cured!” (Matt. 8:2-3; Luke 5:12-13)
  • After Jesus raised the son of the widow of Naim, “He gave him to his mother” (Luke 7:15).
  • Although Jesus took the Twelve with Him and “withdrew to a town called Bethsaida where they could be by themselves,” the crowds knew “and they went after Him.” Jesus “made them welcome and talked to them of the kingdom of God, and He healed those who were in need of healing” (Luke 9:11). Notice how “He made them welcome” just as He had “the little children.”
  • When Jesus raised Jairus’s 12-year-old daughter, He asked those present to give her something to eat (Mark 5:43; Luke 8:56; see Matt. 9:18-19, 23-25).
  • Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with Me for three days now and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them off hungry; they may collapse on the way” (Matt. 15:32; Mark 8:2). He then proceeded to feed 4,000.
  • After Jesus cured the paralyzed man who had been lowered through the roof by his four friends, He recognized their faith and their friendship and forgave their sins (Luke 5:20).

In this and my two prior posts, we have taken a fresh look at the miracles of Jesus — namely, how Jesus made people with deformities whole; how He cured even from a distance; how friends and relatives brought people to Him for cures; how those cured (and their friends, relatives, and all observers) praised Him; and how Jesus showed tenderness during His cures.

 

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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