Understanding Healing, Sickness and Disease! Was Divine Healing Always Instant in the Gospels? Part 7
(Ver 1.1) Today’s lesson is Part 7 in the Bible study series about “Understanding the Subjects of Healing, Sickness and Disease”. I have been led by God recently to teach on this subject of healing for someone and I do not always understand the reasons for doing everything that I do, so I just try to be obedient. I do know there are many people in the church in need of a divine touch from God so this subject is good for everyone to know even if you do not need the same today. I have already covered a lot of information in this Bible lesson series that will not all be repeated exactly as stated before, therefore if you have not read every lesson from the beginning, I would recommend that you start reading with “Part 1” before you read today’s lesson. Today’s lesson is a continuation of the last lesson to some extent about the question that I received “Is divine healing always instant”. I have been answering this question from a reader about why healing does not always appear to take place immediately after we pray and ask God to heal us. This is a very common modern problem found in the Body of Christ. Many are taught wrong and have based their beliefs on this wrong information resulting in failure to receive what God has already given to them. In the last lesson I taught on Daniel’s prayer and how that his answer sent from God was delayed for a period 3 weeks because of a spiritual conflict occurring in the unseen dimension between heaven and the earth. We discovered that God had heard Daniel’s prayer the very first day and sent the angel Gabriel to Daniel with the answer but yet the answer did not arrive for these 21 days. Obviously this is a pattern that we need to learn from to understand what is potentially occurring for us today.
The failure of humans to receive from God is often based upon their ignorance of not understanding that they also have an enemy that is purposely attempting to block their answer of God from coming. When this occurs they often fall into a vicious cycle of unbelief that God did not answer so I must go and ask God for the answer again. However, this new request usually just starts the same process over where we find that God hears and sends the answer but because it does not instantly occur again, the cycle repeats to almost a daily pray and ask God for an answer and if nothing happens tomorrow I just need to pray and ask God to send the answer again and again and again. I know people that have prayed for 10 years asking God for the same answer over and over; not realizing that He had tried to send it the first time they asked like we read in Daniel. I’ll probably shock some people today, but if you prayed about the same healing more than once you prayed the second time in unbelief that God did not hear you the first time. Unbelief is the opposite of faith and believing and Satan has just defeated you by the very simple tactic of causing a modest delay in time to occur. If you read the Gospels closely you will find that Jesus honored faith and nothing else. Those that demonstrated faith got healed and those that did not usually got nothing. God is still the same today.
Today I’m going to try to go through some Bible examples found in the Gospels where Jesus the Son of God in person could not or did not heal anyone instantly and discuss why not. These examples will help to bring clarity to why it might also take time for you to receive from God. In other words these new exceptions to the “instant miracle” belief will help us to understand that God does not always control what is happening to get someone healed. We can learn from these new profound examples some additional factors about divine healing that will be comforting and helpful if we can accept them for what they teach us.
IS DIVINE HEALING ALWAYS INSTANTLY MANIFESTED IN THE GOSPELS?
Truly while reading the Gospels we can see Jesus doing what appear to be many instant healings and miracles for many people. There are so many clear examples of instant healings and miracles found in the Gospels that they almost dominant the entire message causing many people to believe that this is God’s standard and only way of doing it. It also causes many modern people to wish they lived when Jesus was physically here on the face of the earth just so they could get healed that easily and quickly. For example, we can read about the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda that instantly rises and walks in John 5:2. There is another healing of two blind men that instantly receive their sight found in Matthew 20:34. Another blind man in Luke 18:43 also received his sight immediately. A leprous man was immediately healed by Jesus in Matthew 8:3 and Mark 1:42. There is more than enough evidence for instant types of divine healing to understand that this is a potential way for healing to occur but is it the only way that God’s power operated on the earth in people? I believe that it is a great mistake to think that this is the only way it can happen. Never lock God into your religious box of limited information and understanding. Never place any restrictions or limitations on divine methods and how they must operate to satisfy you or your fallible human requirements. You are a fool if you think that you control God, what He does and how He can do it. You are going to have to read and study the rest of the entire Bible to insure that God does nothing in a non-spectacular instant miraculous way in order to discount those types of alternate methods of gradual or progressive healings. So while I do not deny that instant miracles can occur even today, I also choose to see that there are some other very interesting recorded events in the Bible that need to be balanced with the knowledge of these instant types of miracles and that is my goal today in what I teach you.
Attempting to be balanced in all of God’s word will cause us to walk more down the center of the road keeping us far from falling into either side ditch of extremism on our left or on our right. For example, one ditch side of extremism on the subject of healing will try to say that God never heals anyone anymore while the other ditch side of extremism will scream God only heals instantly or it is not God. Both are just excessive positions that do not teach the actual balanced truth of God. Learn to avoid the ditches of extremism and that information will possibly help you more than anything else that I say today. Learn to base your beliefs upon sound doctrines using balanced principles and that will raise you above the level of deception that occurs in many man created teachings. But, before we go to these new Gospel examples let’s review a radical concept given to us in what God has created in this natural world about healing.
NATURAL HEALING, IS IT ALWAYS INSTANT?
Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
According to the Bible many of the invisible qualities of God can be seen in things that God has created in our world around us. We therefore need to analyze what did God create and does it relate to our subject today? Is there any healing in the human body that occurs naturally? I think that you can easily understand that the normal human body was designed to fight against sickness and injury and that this process was certainly designed by God.
Do you agree that God created natural healing? Doesn’t our natural physical healthy bodies have God’s divine healing systems normally pre-built in that are designed to repair themselves or to at the least help to fight off sickness or injury that have attacked us? Are any of these naturally designed divine processes instant? I believe that you can clearly see they are always consistently gradual and never an instant manifestation. Have you ever thought about that? The natural realm is a direct contrasting opposite to what seems to occur in the majority of the Gospel accounts. Could God have created an instant repair system in the body of man if He so desired? Obviously I believe that God is more than capable, intelligent and powerful enough to do that if that is what He wanted to do. However, our natural immune system was certainly a sovereignly designed feature that came from God and it is not an instant process. This immune system was given to every human being for the purpose of helping us obtain health. Naturally if we cut our external skin organ the process of self-repair normally takes over to correct the problem but again slowly over time. God created blood coagulation as a normal part of the initial process to stop the flow of blood in cuts. The scab will eventually form and the skin will eventually repair and heal. This is clearly a divinely designed healing process with multiple and progressive steps. It does not instantly happen and it requires time to be fully fulfilled. Therefore even in the created natural realm God designed non-instantaneous ways for divine healing to occur. So I have just given you two different example patterns for healing to occur by God’s design. Some of these Bible examples were patterns of instant divine corrections and others in the natural realm were not instant healings, yet still miraculous none-the-less over time. Using this information let us now go into some non-instant healings found in the Gospels.
JESUS HEALS A BLIND MAN IN BETHSAIDA
We are going to start our examination of a specific Gospel healing story that is often overlooked or ignored in the huge number of healing accounts recorded. This new additional example of divine healing in the Bible should further expand our knowledge that not every healing that Jesus performed was an instant miracle display of God’s extreme power. We will go to the book of Mark and begin to read in chapter 8 and verse 22:
Mar 8:22 And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.
Mar 8:23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
These are really fascinating verses beginning to unfold. Jesus comes to a town where some people living there lead a blind man to Him and ask Jesus to touch him. Why were these people bringing this blind man to Jesus and what did they want or expect to occur? Obviously the intended purpose was for Jesus to heal him with His touch. Here is where we need to stop and figure out why then does the anointed Son of God take this blind man out of town where they are before He heals him? Why not just touch the blind man in the town and instantly heal him? Wow, those are very tough questions to answer so we normally ignore them and keep reading not understanding the importance of what is happening here. What does leaving town, have to do with the blind man getting healed? You really need to ask God some specific questions if you ever expect to hear specific answers when you read and study the Bible. If you do not observe what is being said in the Bible you will certainly miss at least 99% of the main message. Let me try to answer those questions by what happened in another location with Jesus. Do you remember when Jesus once went into His own hometown and what happened there when He tried to heal the people? In this story found in Mark 6:5 it says that Jesus could there in that city do NO mighty works (miracles) except to heal a few minor sicknesses. Evidently we learn from these two stories that in some physical locations it matters to Jesus and determines what He can or can’t do. This is actually very important because this information will still hold true for today and your physical location in the world. The location of where you are presently can and will affect if you are able to receive your healing. I have observed this before and perhaps you have also. In churches that do not teach about divine healing, rarely does any divine healing ever take place. In other churches that teach divine healing strongly there is an atmosphere of expectancy that permits God to heal.
Why are some cities open to receiving miracles from God while other cities like Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth and Bethsaida were not? Jesus teaches us in Mark 6:6 that it was their unbelief in Nazareth that limited what God could do there. Wow, religious people struggle with that statement tremendously. However, I did not say it God did in His Word. So if you reject His words do you not also reject Him? According to the Word of God, people have the power to limit what God’s power does on the earth and this human power was called unbelief. I know I’ll get some negative comments from certain kinds of carnal religious people for saying that, but I’m just reading the Bible. I hope you are doing the same. Notice by this defined truth that if unbelief has the negative power to cause us to not receive from God then by the law of antithesis your belief contains the positive power to receive from God. I hope you heard and understood what I said, it was very important. Check your surroundings and see if everyone around you believes with you or are against you. If they are against you then it could cause an atmosphere of unbelief that can hinder the flow of God’s power.
Apparently from this information we must conclude that the people in Bethsaida were also full of the same type of negativity called unbelief and this was the primary reason why Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the city. Notice that Jesus only laid His hands on the blind man once they were fully out of the city, but also notice that before He did this that He only did it after spitting on his eyes and that is another very interesting twist to observe. What does spitting on the blind man’s eyes have to do with his physical healing or the power of God’s ability to manifest? I probably will not be able to answer that question to the fullest satisfaction of many readers today. However, it is very noteworthy to search your Bible to see that at least 3 times in the Gospels Jesus used spit to heal someone and these 3 different people were only healed because Jesus first spit.
Why is it that some people in the Gospels got healed by a touch alone and others by spit, a touch and a longer process? We are forced to conclude that either God’s power alone was not effective in these specific cases or that there are other unknown factors that were involved that kept this blind man from seeing instantly. I vote for number 2; that there existed other unknown or unstated factors that existed and that God’s power did not fail them or treat them uniquely differently. I cannot believe God’s power or lack of power was the problem in this blind man’s case in Mark 8. What would happen if someone came and spat in your face? What would your reaction be if you did not see it coming? Shock, surprise, and even potentially anger could arise from someone doing this unexpectantly to you. I believe Jesus did this on purpose to get a reaction and to set the expectations for something new to happen. The blind man certainly felt the spit hit him and this was not what he was expecting so that changes his attitude to expect something different. This is actually a good lesson to learn from. Don’t expect how God will heal you just expect it to happen and it will.
I did not really emphasize this point but in verse 23 the last thing that Jesus does is to ask the blind man if he can see anything? That is an amazingly interesting question for the Son of God to ask. Does He not know that the man was healed after He has spit and touched his eyes? Do you think that after you pray and ask God for healing and He has sent the answer, is it possible that God is asking you are you healed? I believe He is, even if you cannot hear it. You need to figure out how to answer that question correctly before it is asked to you. Let’s continue to read the answered response given to us from the Mark 8 blind man:
Mar 8:24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
The blind’s man’s first words to Jesus were “I see”. That is a positive faith statement whether you understand it or not. It indicates that there was at least some progress in his eyesight after being led out of the city, Jesus spitting on him and touching him. Previously the blind man could see nothing and now he says that he sees men that look like trees walking. You need to learn to speak positively no matter what is not working fully. This statement represents a progressive healing process occurring in steps. The message is clearly presented that something was different in this blind man based upon some unstated and unknown factor. Now, examine Jesus’ response to the man’s answered words of seeing partially but not clearly:
Mar 8:25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.
Here we have an example for every minister to potentially follow. If you lay your hands on someone and they do not begin to recover fully we could learn that Jesus stopped and did it again. Why does the great God in the flesh need to do something twice? I personally believe it was for two factors for us to see. One is to teach us what to do as men and second is to show us how to increase the faith of the person that we are ministering to. Jesus never wavered in His belief that the man was healed. However Jesus’ faith and the anointed power of God were not the only factors involved in the blind man receiving his healing. If you do not understand how faith works, you will never understand what is happening in this story. Jesus took the blind from the city to eliminate him from the surrounding force of unbelief (lack of faith). Now alone together with Jesus the single isolated blind man’s lack of faith is the only factor that needs to be overcome. While the blind man was being led out of the city by Jesus, he could have stopped Jesus and said “I’m not going” and walked back into town at any time. The blind man exhibits a certain measure of faith simply by silently being a follower of Jesus without questioning or having any proof that anything positive will even happen to him. That reality exhibits very simple faith to be led without knowing the outcome. In fact it corresponds to a N.T. verse that says we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). The blind man walking out of town took a level of belief in someone that the blind man could not see and thus he fulfilled this verse literally. Do you understand what I am trying to say and how it is an important part to my lesson?
After getting the man out of the town Jesus continues to work on increasing the man’s faith level to receive. Jesus does this by first spiting in his eyes. This spirt is a tangible physical feeling that the blind man could immediately feel and it was also something totally unexpected for him to experience. Therefore the blind man is now beginning to expect the unexpected to happen to him. What happens when you experience something that you did not expect? I believe it sets a pattern for you to begin to expect more of the unexpected. No doubt no one had ever done this to the blind man for this reason, so this causes the blind man to start expecting something new to happen. Jesus then lays His hands on the blind man’s eyes and the tangible anointing of God could now flow from Jesus’ body into the blind man’s body and no doubt he could feel this power also. Afterwards Jesus removed his hands and asked him a direct question. When the man opens his eyes and sees for the first time things were definitely better than before but yet still not perfect. So Jesus touches the man’s eyes again and the anointing again flows and this time he opens his eyes and sees every man clearly. This is pretty awesome stuff if you can see what is happening.
There are two main factors that must be present for the majority of divine healings that takes place in the Gospels. These two main factors that must be present are first the quantity of God’s power that is present and administered and second the quantity of the person’s faith to receive the power of God’s Grace given. Both must be present and working together in unison, agreement and harmony or the divine healing will not take place. Of course there are still exceptions to every rule. The fact that God can still give to anyone a gift of healing even to someone without faith has occurred in the Bible and still does occur in the world today occasionally. For example, the lame man at the pool of Bethesda was an example of a gift of divine healing without any mention of faith being present. However, do not count on God doing this for you. You don’t have any promise in the Bible that says He will do it this way. This is completely up to God and He will decide to do it and not you. Many times I have seen God do this in third world countries for people that have never heard about God or Jesus.
THE DIVINE ANOINTING PRESENT FACTOR
Let’s briefly talk about the variable of the anointing factor. God’s anointing can be given to every man in various measures of power and effectiveness. Practically no two men on the earth possess the same level of anointing from God. We can learn this fact in many verses but one of the clearest examples is found in the life of Elijah and Elisha. Both men were great prophets of God and both did extraordinary feats for God. However, Elisha asked for a double portion of the anointing that Elijah possessed. Let’s go back and review this quickly in the O.T.:
2Ki 2:9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
2Ki 2:10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.
God is described to be omnipotent or “All Powerful” in the Bible. These descriptions of God provide us key qualities that we do not fully comprehend. God’s power is what I will call limitless or unlimited, yet God still places self-imposed limits on what He does by His own sovereign freewill and by His own Word. Levels of this power of God can be transferred as an anointing on spiritual beings like angels and on the people on the earth. Elijah was anointed by God and he called down fire from heaven that consumed all of the prophets of Baal. Elijah also stopped it from raining on the earth for a period of three and half years and then commanded it to rain and it did. Now, Elisha observes the great things that God has done through Elijah and only asks for something greater and if you read on in the Bible, you will find that it was granted to him. The number of great things that Elijah did, Elisha did twice as many. Go study it for yourself and see that God’s power was variably given to men. However, we can learn that no other man had as much of the power of God’s anointing as Jesus did. Acts 10:38 tells us that God anointed Jesus with this power to drive out and heal everyone oppressed by Satan. Satan as you may recall from reading in Ezekiel 28:14 was also anointed by God. Therefore Satan had power given to him by God also. We learn from Acts 10:38 that Satan used this power to oppress people with sickness and that God countered this oppression with Jesus bringing healing. However, let me show you a scripture that appears to claim that Jesus had the entire anointing power of God according to the Word of God whereas Satan and others did not:
Joh 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
God tells us that the measure of the Spirit that was present upon Jesus had no limitations that were set. This is a very interesting statement that is full of implied truths. It indicates that every Christian today has the Spirit of God by limited measure. This simply means that we all have God’s power but not in the fullest measure like Jesus when we pray for someone else. However God’s power not in the fullest is still powerful enough to solve every human situation and problem. Do not discount God’s power to say I don’t have enough to get someone else healed today. Do you remember what Peter said to the lame man at the gate of Jerusalem? The lame man wanted silver and gold from the Peter but Peter said those I do not have, but such as I have, give I thee and commanded him to rise and walk. Peter was anointed to heal and he knew it. He offered this anointing to the lame man and he received it by his level of expecting and walked that day.
I probably need to do a separate series on just the anointing of God and how it works. What we need to know today for receiving healing is that when a man or woman of God comes and lays their hand upon you that their level of anointing power is a factor for the amount of power delivered. Still understand this if you are alone in your house with no one to pray for you, God is ever present and the power of God is always available. The difficulty in this approach is that many times there is no point of contact that is readily available to receive. You see when Jesus spit on the blind man and laid his hands upon his eyes this represented an observable, physical and tangible contact point that could be felt externally. This power transfer contact point greatly enhances a person’s faith in receiving the power of God. Jesus certainly understood this and this is why Jesus was led by the Spirit of God to do what he did in healing this blind man.
I really was planning on doing more than one healing in the Gospel today, but I have gone long enough in this lesson with presenting many new things to think about. I do not want to overwhelm you with too much new information or it will just go in one ear and probably exit the other. Let’s recap with a quick overview of what you should have taken away from today’s Bible lesson.
- The blind man’s healing in Bethsaida was not instantly manifested.
- In fact the unbelief of the city of Bethsaida causes Jesus to remove him from that place before ministering to him.
- Jesus spent personal time building the man’s faith so this faith was important to be present in the man in order for him to receive his healing. Therefore, spend time in building your faith.
- The blind man literally walked by faith out of the city of unbelief in order to receive and was healed.
- The blind man’s healing was a limited multi-step process and took time.
- Jesus had to lay hands on him twice for the healing to be fully received.
- The anointing factor of the power of God is variably given depending upon who is administering God’s power.
- Even a small amount of the Power of God is all that is needed to heal anyone.
I know I made a lot of other important points, but you can go back and reread them to get them all. I suggest that you reread these healing lesson over and over to help build up your understanding and your faith in God’s word. Thank you for taking the time to read and for your willingness to hear from God. God bless you as we continue in this series.