Since sin entered the world, people are suffering, and they’re sick, and they’re struggling. The promise, given seven hundred years before Jesus was born, was that his ministry would be two things: that he would forgive sins spiritually and that he would heal bodies physically (Isaiah 53:4–5). There are twenty-seven individuals that Jesus heals in the gospels. Twenty-seven people that are named or explained that Jesus healed. There are at least ten groups of people where he healed a whole group of people.
We read, then, of what Jesus’ followers started doing by the power of the Holy Spirit. One of the things that they did was healing (Acts 3:1–10). This is the first of fourteen physical healings recorded in the book of Acts.
Healed for God’s Glory
This man can’t provide for himself. He can’t tend to himself. He can’t defend himself. He’s completely at the mercy of others, literally. God heals the man. This is a fulfilment of Isaiah 35:6, “Then shall the lame man leap like a deer.” The promise was given: when Jesus comes, a lame man would walk like a deer, and here he is seven hundred years later.
It’s all in the name of Jesus. It’s inviting the living Jesus into that moment. Philippians tells us that there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved, that at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, both on the earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. There’s something unique and special about the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
Who is it that healed this man. It was Jesus from heaven. Can he still heal? Yes, because he’s still alive, and now he’s ruling and reigning as sovereign Lord, and we can come to him, and he will hear us and answer us, and he can actually heal from his heavenly throne.
The ultimate goal is not healing; healing is the secondary goal. The primary goal is the glory of God. God is glorified and then people rejoice with singing and song and celebration.
1. Why is there sickness?
1. Sin and the Fall
The Bible tells us that sin and death are radically abnormal, that when God made the world, Genesis 1:31, he said that everything was very good. Romans 5:12 talks about the fall, the result of sin. The first reason why there is sickness and suffering is because of sin. God is the living God, that everything God made was perfect and good, and there was no death. The result is now that sin has infected and affected everyone and everything. Romans 8 talks about the fact that all creation is groaning. It’s under this weight and bondage of sin, and it’s yearning for its deliverance back into its intended state.
2. Personal sin
Second cause for sickness is personal sin. 1 Corinthians 11:30, “This is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.”
3. Demonic forces
Matthew 8:16, “That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons”—unclean spirits. Can a believer be demon-possessed?” No, an unbeliever can be demon-possessed, owned, controlled, overtaken. A believer in Jesus cannot be controlled or overtaken by a demon, but they can be oppressed by a demon. And sometimes that is with physical illness or injury. It’s torment, to use the language of the Bible.
2. Does healing replace traditional medicine?
No. We believe in natural medicine and supernatural prayer. We believe in both. The healing that is recorded in Acts 3, as well as the remainder of physical healings in Acts are written by a man named Luke who’s a doctor. Anytime the doctor’s teaching you about healing, he’s probably not anti-doctors!
If you are suffering from illness or injury, or someone you know or love is suffering from illness or injury, pray for them and encourage them to get the best medical care that they can. Let’s do both, amen?
3. Is all healing from God?
Matthew 24:24 “For false Christs and false prophets “will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Satan is willing to heal you, so that he can condemn you. So be careful, all right? Pray to Jesus of Nazareth. Invite God the Holy Spirit, not just any spirit. Seek counsel and prayer from those who love Jesus, not just those who say they can heal.
4. Why does God heal?
1. It’s an act of love and mercy to the person who’s suffering
How loved do you think that man felt when he stood up for the first time, and he knew he was loved, because where did he go? He walked right into the temple. He was walking toward the presence of God where it had previously dwelt on the earth, and he’s going in to praise God. It’s a sign of love, it’s a sign of mercy, it’s a sign of affection, it’s a sign of compassion for the afflicted person. God does love people.
2. It validates God’s servant
Sometimes God will allow a supernatural healing to come through one of his servants to validate their spiritual authority—they are representatives of Jesus.
3. It reveals the kingdom of God
God will heal everyone eventually in the kingdom. The kingdom of God is not yet fully unveiled, but it has breakthroughs. It has occurrences where the kingdom of God intersects with the kingdoms of men, and the kingdom of God makes these cameo appearances and shows up and shows us what’s to come and shows us what Jesus ultimately has planned for us, and it causes our hearts to yearn and long for his perfect kingdom.
4. It evangelises to non-Christians
If someone is suffering and God heals them, the non-Christians tend to ask what happened. Non-Christians don’t ask a lot of questions about Christians or to Christians, but if one of them gets healed, that changes it.
5. It motivates Christians to worship
5. Will everyone receive healing in this life?
No. How many of you have seen a false teaching that says, “Everyone can be healed, and you need to have faith, and if you have enough faith, you can be healed, which means if you’re not healed, it’s because you’ve failed and you don’t have enough faith”? I’ll give you two examples from the Bible. 2 Timothy 4:20, Paul says, “I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus.” 2 Corinthians 12:7–9, “A thorn was given me in the flesh.” But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’”
6. When will all of God’s people receive healing?
1 Corinthians 15. The resurrected body will be as God intended, and the new heaven, the new earth, the new Jerusalem will be as God created, and there will be no more curse and no more sickness and no more sin and no more Satan and no more demons and no more death. Revelation 21:4 says when that day comes, “He”—who’s he? Jesus. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
7. How should we minister to the sick?
1. Pray from a distance
2. Lay hands on and pray
3. Anoint with oil
4. Minister in faith