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19. Good News for the Sick

C. The Purpose

“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30,31)

Jesus performed signs and wonders to identify Himself. They proved beyond doubt that He had supreme command over the realm of nature and over the realm of the spirits. As He pacified the wind and the sea, so He brought healing to the human body and peace to the human soul. They demonstrated that He was – and is – the Lord over the strong and the weak, the youth and the elderly, the living and the dead.

The miracles of Jesus exhibit Him as the promised Messiah and the fulfilment of the prophecies made by several prophets centuries before His arrival on earth: “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” (Isaiah 35:5,6; cf. Matthew 8:16,17)

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;” (Isaiah 53:4,5)

Jesus did not heal indiscriminately. Nor did He do His works for personal gain, publicity, or the praises of others (John 5: 41). He accompanied His works with the call to repentance and the proclamation of the Gospel. His works were signs, pointing beyond their own grandeur to the glory of His Heavenly Father. They were marks authenticating Jesus’ Messiahship. They were part of the Good News that announced the presence of the Kingdom of God in this world.

“... Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ He said. ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!’ ... ‘Let us go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’ ” (Mark 1:14,15,38)

Normally Jesus’ miracles served as demonstrations of God’s compassion and love for “the sheep without the shepherd”, i.e., for the poor, despised, oppressed and harassed people in that society.

“When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, ‘You are the Son of God!’” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ (Messiah).” (Luke 4:40,41)

The New Testament records only one healing event (the Gerasene Demoniac: Luke 8:38,39), following which Jesus clearly encouraged the healed person to publicize the event. Why? Jesus performed miracles to help identify Himself as the Messiah, the Anointed One of God, whose coming the Old Testament Scriptures had prophesied clearly. But how easily, as one endowed with such powers as God’s Holy Spirit, could He and His works be interpreted wrongly and identify Him wrongly! He had not come to be a magician, an armed revolutionary, a bread king, a worldly ruler (John 6:15). He had come to be the King of the Kingdom of God, whose sovereignty was marked by service and sacrifice, whose charter was the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and whose weapons were spiritual and not weapons of the traditional jihad and crusade. (See Glossary, Messiah.)

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