God’s gift of divine healing is a dramatic demonstration of His love, grace, compassion and generosity toward all humanity. God is especially devoted to offering healing to those He has called to be part of His Church and the children in their care—plus others whom God heals when they call upon Him in humble submission and faith.
Consider that healing was a fundamental, dramatic and inspiring part of Christ’s earthly ministry and also the ministry of His disciples (Matthew 4:23-24 Matthew 4:23-24 23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought to him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
American King James Version×; 8:16; 9:35; 10:1, 6-8; 12:15, 22; 14:14; 15:30; 21:14; Luke 4:40 Luke 4:40Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.
American King James Version×; 5:15; 6:17-19; 9:1-6, 11). And when Jesus was stating His commission to the apostles, He said one of the “signs” of the true Church would be that “they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:17-18 Mark 16:17-18 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
American King James Version×).
Healing and the Passover
The Passover is a service of rededication. For Christians who dedicated their lives to God and Jesus Christ at their baptism, the Passover service should be a deep, sincere rededication to that commitment. That is part of the reason that the service is so significant and serious.
The most obvious reason for Christ’s sacrifice was to pay the penalty for our sins so we can receive God’s grace, forgiveness and spiritual healing. However, His sacrifice is also fundamental in God’s plan for offering miraculous healing of physical health problems. The annual Passover service is a sobering and inspiring reminder of Christ’s sacrifice and the many benefits of God’s amazing grace.
Trusting God for healing strengthens our faith, fosters a more intimate relationship with God and helps us to grow spiritually.
The Bible makes an important parallel between forgiveness and healing (see Mark 2:1-12 Mark 2:1-12 1 And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.
2 And straightway many were gathered together, so that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word to them.
3 And they come to him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
4 And when they could not come near to him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the sick of the palsy, Son, your sins be forgiven you.
6 But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
7 Why does this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said to them, Why reason you these things in your hearts?
9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Your sins be forgiven you; or to say, Arise, and take up your bed, and walk?
10 But that you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins, (he said to the sick of the palsy,)
11 I say to you, Arise, and take up your bed, and go your way into your house.
12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; so that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.
American King James Version×and Psalms 103:3 Psalms 103:3Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases;
American King James Version×). Every consequence has a cause (Proverbs 26:2 Proverbs 26:2As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.
American King James Version×). When God forgives, He removes the consequence of sin, which is the death penalty. When God heals, He removes the health problem, regardless of who or what caused it. (Health problems are often the combined consequence of multiple causes.) An added blessing is that if certain sins caused a sickness and God heals the sickness, He also forgives those sins (James 5:14-15 James 5:14-15 14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
American King James Version×).
This article is follow-up to the article “Divine Healing: God’s Loving Gift of Miraculous Healing” that was published in the Sept.-Oct. 2017 issue of United News. In that article is this paragraph about Matthew 8:16-17 Matthew 8:16-17 16 When the even was come, they brought to him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:
17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bore our sicknesses.
American King James Version×: “Matthew is quoting Isaiah 53:4 Isaiah 53:4Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
American King James Version×which proves that one of the purposes for Christ’s excruciating suffering was to take our infirmities and sicknesses upon Himself so they can be removed from us! He ‘suffered for us!’ (1 Peter 2:21 1 Peter 2:21For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps:
American King James Version×). Further evidence of this is seen in 1 Corinthians 11:29-30 1 Corinthians 11:29-30 29 For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
American King James Version×.”
Now let’s clearly understand the meaning of 1 Corinthians 11:29-30 1 Corinthians 11:29-30 29 For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
American King James Version×. The Modern King James Version says: “For he who eats and drinks unworthily eats and drinks condemnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many among you are weak and sickly, and many sleep.” “Many sleep” means many have died.
What is the connection between partaking of the Passover “unworthily” and staying sick or dying?
First Corinthians 11:17-34 contains Paul’s instructions about the Passover service—the proper procedure, the spiritual understanding of it and the required reverent attitudes. To accurately understand any one verse in this section, it’s important to understand the whole context.
In verses 27 and 29 of 1 Corinthians 11, the Greek adverb anaxiós means unworthily or irreverently and is translated in the New King James Version as “in an unworthy manner.” Some in the Corinthian church had been guilty of terrible disrespect toward God and Jesus Christ—irreverent conduct at the Passover and irreverent attitudes about the lessons of the Passover. They evidently did not appreciate the enormous sacrifice that Christ had made for them, nor did they appreciate the significance and seriousness of each aspect of the Passover service. They were guilty of taking Christ’s sacrifice lightly and taking the Passover lightly!
Paul said each person is supposed to seriously “examine himself” and “judge” himself regarding his understanding, belief, obedience and attitudes about the lessons of the Passover service (verses 28 and 31). Furthermore, all during the year, our self-examination should include searching for the leaven of sin so we can repent of it, confess it to God and ask for His forgiveness. See 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 6 Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
American King James Version×and 1 John 1:9 1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
American King James Version×.
What does Paul mean by “discerning the Lord’s body” (1 Corinthians 11:29 1 Corinthians 11:29For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
American King James Version×)? He means that we must understand and appreciate Christ’s total sacrifice. He partly means that we must discern that Jesus made a two-fold sacrifice—He endured excruciating physical suffering, plus He died. His dual sacrifice is illustrated by the Passover service when we partake of both bread (representing His broken body) and wine (representing His shed blood).
“By His Stripes We Are Healed”
The New International Version of Isaiah 53:5 Isaiah 53:5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed.
American King James Version×says: “By His wounds we are healed.” Peter partly quotes this verse in 1 Peter 2:24 1 Peter 2:24Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.
American King James Version×where Peter is writing about Christ’s suffering for us. Therefore, although we cannot know for sure if Jesus’ “wounds” were required for our sins to be forgiven, several scriptures together make it clear that part of the purpose for Jesus’ excruciating suffering was to make possible the gift of divine healing!
In Isaiah 53:3-4 Isaiah 53:3-4 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
American King James Version×(the chapter prophesying the Messiah’s suffering), the Hebrew word translated “sorrows” in the New King James Version can legitimately be translated as “pains,” and the Hebrew word translated in the NKJV as “grief” and “griefs” can be translated as “sickness” and “sicknesses.” Several Bible versions translate them that way. So both sets of meanings are intended.
In the Good News Bible, the first half of Isaiah 53:4 Isaiah 53:4Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
American King James Version×says, “But he endured the suffering that should have been ours, the pain that we should have borne.” We all know that when God forgives someone’s sins, He is accepting Christ’s death in place of that person’s eternal death. Likewise, when God heals someone of a sickness, injury or some other health problem, He is accepting Christ’s excruciating suffering in place of that person’s physical suffering. What amazing love! The Father and the Son were willing for Jesus to suffer in our place as well as die in our place!
God loves all of us as His children, and when we ask for His healing, He is always deeply sympathetic. When He doesn’t heal right away or doesn’t heal us in this life, He is doing what He knows is best for us in the long run. For example, 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;)
4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in my infirmities.
6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he sees me to be, or that he hears of me.
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I sought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
American King James Version×tells us about God not granting the beloved apostle Paul’s request for healing and God’s reason for that.
God and Christ may have several reasons as to why Christ’s sacrifice needed to include horrible suffering, but making possible the gift of divine healing is certainly one of those reasons. It’s significant that Psalms 103:3 Psalms 103:3Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases;
American King James Version×pairs forgiveness and healing. God is He who “forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.”
The Father and Son deserve our deepest gratitude for the enormous sacrifice Jesus made by dying in payment for our sins. And They deserve our deepest gratitude for Jesus’ suffering so that “by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5 Isaiah 53:4-5 4 Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed.
American King James Version×; 1 Peter 2:24 1 Peter 2:24Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.
American King James Version×).
Understandably, a lack of respect and gratitude for Christ’s sacrifice can have serious consequences. That explains what Paul meant in 1 Corinthians 11:30 1 Corinthians 11:30For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
American King James Version×: “For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep [many have died]”
Comprehending 1 Corinthians 11 helps us all to better understand why God wants us to seek His healing when we are in need. And God has taught a process that is utterly simple—just contact an elder and ask him to anoint you for healing (James 5:14 James 5:14Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
American King James Version×).
Why Does God Offer Divine Healing?
God offers human beings the wonderful opportunity to have life after death—everlasting life in the Kingdom of God! That by itself is an indescribably generous gift! But God also provides for us in in this life in countless ways—including His gift of healing! He daily demonstrates His kindness toward all people, “the evil and the good” (Matthew 5:44-47 Matthew 5:44-47 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if you salute your brothers only, what do you more than others? do not even the publicans so?
American King James Version×). This should inspire everyone to love God! “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19 1 John 4:19We love him, because he first loved us.
American King James Version×).
Beyond God’s love for everyone, He is joyfully committed to generously caring for the needs of His spiritual children! We are supremely blessed with how “the good Shepherd” offers us “life,” and life “more abundantly” (John 10:10-11 John 10:10-11 10 The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.
American King James Version×).
And, generally, what gift of God gives us the greatest physical benefit? It is the gift of divine healing! Good health is a blessing, and our compassionate God has made our health a high priority. First of all, He has revealed the fundamentals of healthful living in His Word. Secondly, God is the author of true science by which we can learn additional valuable knowledge. And when we are sick or injured and God sees that we need His help, and we trustingly seek His help, He is there for us as our Healer. If He doesn’t heal us right away, He has good reasons for delaying. It is never because He doesn’t love us.
Our Creator designed us with an amazing and wonderful immune system by which our bodies automatically try to heal themselves, so when a physical remedy is helpful, it is because it is assisting the natural healing. In addition, God’s plan for humanity has always included His loving offer of divine healing—miraculous healing!
God wants us to remember, “I am the LORD, your healer” (Exodus 15:26 Exodus 15:26And said, If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and will do that which is right in his sight, and will give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases on you, which I have brought on the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that heals you.
American King James Version×, English Standard Version). Trusting God for healing strengthens our faith, fosters a more intimate relationship with God and helps us to grow spiritually. If we can’t trust God for healing, how can we trust Him to provide an even greater miracle—resurrecting us from the dead!
At the Passover and throughout the year, we must “discern the Lord’s body” and remember that God’s offer of divine healing is a critically important part of God’s plan (1 Corinthians 11:29 1 Corinthians 11:29For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
American King James Version×). May each Passover remind us that Christ suffered and died that we might receive the gift of God’s grace, and that grace includes God’s offer of healing—the healing of our minds as well as our bodies—in addition to His forgiveness and redemption. God through Jesus Christ is Healer as well as Savior.
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases!” (Psalms 103:2-3 Psalms 103:2-3 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases;
American King James Version×).