Whenever we read the gospels one thing that we notice is that Jesus was concerned to bring healing to people, he was not just concerned about their spiritual state but also about their physical needs. What also becomes clear is that Jesus had no neat formula for healing, the varied accounts show diverse ways of ministering to people. If we are to have a healing ministry in the Church today our ministry needs to be as diverse as his was. There are so many different forms of brokeness in today’s world that need the healing power of Jesus. I want to examine some of the accounts of healing in Mark’s gospel There are other accounts in the other gospels, but one has to narrow the subject down a little.
Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her, and she began to wait on them.
32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
In this very first chapter we see that Mark highlights the healing ministry of Jesus. there is an exorcism, a very private healing and then a time of ministry to many who were sick and demonised ,even this first chapter shows the diversity of the way he acts notice how he initiates the healing in Peter’s mother and as result others are brought to him to receive healing. In this we see the love of God shown in and through the ministry of Jesus, diverse needs have been met by the healing power of God in Christ
. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2:3–12).
This account shows even more diverse elements, it seems that it was the friends who had the faith and were determined to bring the man to Jesus, Jesus responded to this faith and healed this man. This should encourage us to bring people to the Lord either physically or in prayer, sometimes we can bring people to a time of ministry in church and some times this is impossible. We see another element that is different in this account, and that is that Jesus start by dealing with this man’s need of forgiveness, sometimes people need to be forgiven before they receive physical healing and we need to be aware of this. We normally will just pray for healing but sometimes we need to start with God’s forgiveness, this is where we need to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is only after the man receives forgiveness that he also receives physical healing, he is lowered through the roof a paralyzed man and yet he walked out of the house having received healing from Jesus.
Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. (Mark 3:2–6).
It is interesting to note that Jesus met with criticism and opposition to his healing ministry, we find the same today, and we should be like Jesus and continue our ministry despite the critics. There will always be those who oppose a healing ministry and we should attempt to lead people to know the wonder of what God desires to do,but if they resist we must continue to exercise the healing ministry that he has given us.
Here, we see such a diversity of approaches and that in only three chapters of Mark’s gospel, this should encourage us to see what God wants is a real openness from us to receive all that the Holy Spirit has to give.