Why did Jesus heal? by Kay Morgan-Gurr for Christian Today
BBC Ouch’s producer Damon Rose recently raised an interesting question: Why did Jesus heal? Damon gives different points of view on this from a diverse mixture of Christians. These views were picked up in various forums and rigorously, sometime ridiculously, debated.
As a disabled person, I’ve probably heard most beliefs on this: the healings in the new testament prove that God always heals, therefore it’s my faith that is the problem. Or, this sort of healing died out with the Apostles. I disagree with both points.
There are many who believe Jesus healed only to validate His ministry or show Gods power – reducing disabled people to a pawn in a story of power. But there is far more to these stories than that. Yes, God’s power was apparent in these healing accounts, but it isn’t the sole reason for them. And no, disabled people are not a pawn in God’s big story.
We have often been too quick in our assumptions, seeing the healing as the main narrative rather than a ‘bit part’ in a much larger theme of salvation, teaching and challenging of the religious leaders of the time.
When we look at the healing stories with 21st century Western eyes, we miss so much. We need to look again, taking into account the bigger picture as we re-read. The healing was a major thing in the life of the person who received it, but in the context of the whole story you will mostly find a much bigger and different theme.
When I teach the healing stories to children, I will acknowledge that the healing was amazing, but I will also point to what else Jesus was saying in the story.
This is because I’m often asked by disabled children about healing. I chat through many things with them, including “You are not a lesser Christian because of this.”
I say this because the way we sometimes tell the healing stories can often give the impression these children are a project for fixing. But more worryingly, our misguided understanding of the stories also informs our often over the top response to modern day healings, making them the be all and end all of faith – over and above other key areas of faith.