Prayers for healing are probably the single most common type of prayer request I receive, along with questions as to why God doesn't heal x loved one, or why doesn't He heal the person who is asking me the question. This 4 part series will answer some of those questions, but the topic is too large to cover in detail.
For those interested in learning how the Lord does heal, how He maneuvers us into position to be able to receive healing, you may be interested in my teaching series called 'Healing School' and the follow up to that, 'The Most Important Thing I've Learned about Healing', available in CD or MP3 formats.
In the largest sense the healing of a body or soul (emotions) is because God is working to restore the wholeness the earth had before Adam and Eve sinned. Sickness, disease, wrong thoughts and wrong emotions entered the world with sin. The cross and resurrection started the movement if you will, back to wholeness, making God's wholeness available to all mankind.
Also, He designed the human body to heal itself - we can see the whole earth is geared towards healing. Land that had been abused is 'reclaimed by nature' and restored to abundant life over a period of time. So in that sense the whole of creation was made to heal, to return itself to a natural order and balance. In that general sense our bodies, being of the earth, seek wholeness, seek restoration, seek that balance and the peace that comes with it.
The evidence the Father God provides that He will bring a day where we all will be healed, including creation, is the life and times of Jesus Christ. He is the Father God's proof of His love for us, of His good will towards men, and His promise to make all things right.
The New Testament makes clear it is not the cross that is that proof, but the resurrection that is the proof. The resurrection proves the Lordship of Jesus, containing therein the assurance God will judge the world and make all things right. (Acts 17: 24-31)
A claim requires witnesses to verify such a claim
If someone is accused of shoplifting there must be evidence, there must be a witness against them. It can't be just their word against the clerk's word. Besides the clerk catching them perhaps store security guard caught them with items in their pockets, perhaps surveillance video recorded their actions. But there has to be a witness or two before that person can be brought before a judge. If not, it is just their word against the store clerk and nothing can be proven. No one can be brought before a judge on the basis of 'he said, she said' - there must be other witnesses.
God the Father is dealing with eternal life, therefore such a claim requires that He provide proof, that He offer eye witness testimony to substantiate (support) the claims of His Son, Jesus. It would be unfair that a person's eternal destiny be decided without evidence to support His claims.
We have the Word and the Spirit. God is not a mind that we should reason with someone into eternal life. You can't argue a person into believing. But Jesus said in John 4:24 that God is a Spirit - He is real, solid, but in the Spirit realm. Therefore it is both the Word and the Spirit that agree and work to provide evidence to the claim of Jesus and eternal life. The Spirit provides Life to God's Word, and the claims of the True Word, the Person of Jesus Christ.
Who is the eyewitness for us, some 2000 years after the resurrection?
In Acts 5:32 Peter is giving a defense before the Jewish leaders about the life and ministry of Jesus, saying this: "We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, who God gives to those who obey Him."
The Holy Spirit was an eye witness - at the cross. At the resurrection. He came on Pentecost to fill believers. He is the timeless eye-witness who saw it all. That is why some 2000 years later, in our time, when you heard of Jesus something burned in you, something wouldn't let it go, you sensed something, somehow, was real and genuine about the claims of Jesus.
That 'something' was the eyewitness, the Spirit of Truth bearing witness that the claims your friend or that preacher made about Jesus, was true. You acted on that sense not realizing you were heeding an eyewitness account of the life of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and gave your heart to Him. That was the first instance perhaps of you aware God was dealing with you, and communicating to you - because the Spirit was an eye-witness to the life of Jesus.
In Acts 2:33 and 3:15 and the aforementioned 5:32 and elsewhere, Peter and the others say they were witnesses of the resurrection from the dead by Jesus - and my point is that by the Holy Spirit, you and I are also witnesses of His resurrection. We have the Holy Spirit in us who was there, who testifies and 'bears witness' with our spirit that we are His children and that all the claims of Jesus are true. We have Him inside us as proof, for the Father does not want anyone to believe without providing proof of His claims.
The foundational reason healing...
The Father supports the eye witness of His Spirit about Jesus by providing healings, signs, and wonders. In Acts 4:33 it says, "With great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord...."
In Acts 3:15-16 Peter gives another defense of his faith concerning the healing of the lame man: "...and God raised Him from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this, therefore it is through faith in His name this man stands before you whole." (He also restated it in 4:10)
Peter said the healing of the lame man is evidence that God raised Jesus from the dead. Healing is evidence.
In Acts 8: 1-12 we are told the persecution that arose after Steven's death (in chapter 7) was so intense that every single disciple of the Lord moved out of Jerusalem, except for the apostles. The amazing year of love and miracles during the year between Pentecost in Acts 2 and 8:1 had come to an abrupt end as they all moved out of the city for fear of their lives, most of them to Judea and Samaria.
Based on the family they continued meeting in their homes, and Philip came up to Samaria to preach Jesus among his friends, and also for the local people who were overrun with all the new people moving into the region and wondering what it was all about. Acts 8: 5-8 tells us Philip 'preached Christ' to them, and they believed 'hearing and seeing all the miracles he did', and v12 says, "...they all believed the things of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ..."
Notice the name of Jesus and their believing was tied to hearing and seeing the miracles that were done. The testimony in Acts is that healings and deliverance is first and foremost evidence of the resurrection of Jesus to the unbeliever.
Long time ago I knew a man named Les who owned a furniture store. He had a back injury that prevented him from lifting, so one day he hired 2 college students to load a truck full of tables and chairs he had bought for his store. As they loaded they told him about Jesus, concluding with: "If what we said it true, God is willing to confirm what we told you about Jesus. If He heals your back as a confirmation that what we said of Him is true, will you believe?" He was a man of his word and agreed. As they laid hand on him, his back was instantly healed, and he kept his word, praying the prayer of salvation. His Jewish wife became a believer as a result as well. I worked for him about 1 year.
But there are accounts in the New Testament of God healing believers...aren't there? What provision is there for healing for those of us who already believe? Is healing available as a 'fringe benefit' of believing? We'll pick it up there next week. Until then, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org