“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.” Matthew 4:23
Nearly fifteen years ago I went to India with a group of forty volunteers to conduct evangelistic efforts. The main focus of our labors was meeting with the people and praying with them during the day and in the evenings presenting an evangelistic sermon, but it was a handful of events that happened peripherally to this work that standout in my memory like a lighthouse beacon on a dark night.
The first is the night a little girl was brought to the meetings with lungs so congested she must have had bronchial pneumonia. She could hardly get a breath and in her desperation for air her crying could not be calmed. Then Karen, the presenter for that night, stepped over to her and began to pray. What happened next took only about a minute. As Karen prayed I saw that child calm, relax, lay her head on her mother’s shoulder, and then peacefully go to sleep. Seeing that child healed created an excitement that nearly disrupted the meeting.
The second event was not one I personally witnessed; it happened in connection with one of the other teams meetings. One day a large number of people were committing their lives to Christ in baptism and one of them was a little old lady. Everything was going just as you’d expect until she came up out of the water. As she open her eyes she began to exclaim and call out excitedly. When she had entered the water she had been blind but as she had come up out of it she could see.
Matthew tells us that healing was an important part of Jesus’ ministry. Ellen White commenting on this fact wrote that Jesus spent much more time tending to the physical needs of the people he served than in preaching to them. The book of Acts tells us that healing the sick, casting out demons, even raising the dead were also part of the disciples ministries. Somehow as the centuries have past, at least in the north western part of the planet, we’ve lost our confidence in God’s willingness, even desire, to meet our needs and heal our diseases.
As I read today’s focus text a thought came into my mind that God wants to continue demonstrating his loving presence by the healing he can bring. Healing ought to be an important part of the ministry of God’s church. Jesus became famous because of the healing he performed and as a result of his fame those same people also were able to hear the Savior speak to them about eternal life.
I know that it’s not fame we’re looking for, however, we should be known as a people that possess spiritual strength and power. Power to live holy lives. Power to heal. Power to cast out demons. Power, even, to raise the dead. It should also be known that we’re willing to freely share these blessings with anyone. Perhaps then more would be attracted to listen to that infinitely more precious gift Jesus has given us to share. Perhaps then the way would be prepared for more people to hear the gospel of Jesus’ love and prepare to be with him when he returns.