Part III of our series on Healing and Comforting
Healing and comforting have everything to do with hospitality. That’s what we learned in our first post on this series. In the second, we discovered that sickness, disease, and ultimately death are the result of humans hosting (being hospitable to) what we were never intended to: sin. And because Christ’s resurrection signals the eviction of sin and death, the primary category for healing is not miracle, it’s sign – pointing towards hospitality set right.
So with these thoughts in mind, let’s return to the story we started with in John 9:1-7. It begins with the disciples asking Jesus a question: Is this man blind because of his own sin or that of his parents?
It’s a fair question, because as we’ve talked about so far, illness is joined at the hip to sin. And certainly some illnesses are caused directly by our own sins, whether those be smoking or drinking or overeating.
But interestingly, absent from the Bible is a division of illness into ones we’re directly responsible for through our own sin and ones that we host as a result of Adam’s original sin. And this is consistent with how God views sin, too: Humans go to hell for sin -separation from God – whether it’s original sin from Adam or our own name brand sin that we pile on top of what we’ve inherited. So differentiating between the two is pointless, whether we’re talking about being healed of sin or illness.
Further, as Jesus makes clear, illness is not intended to point toward sin and death but rather to the power and presence of God, to which it must ultimately yield.
In the case of the man born blind, Jesus says, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
And think of Jesus’ similar words in John 11:1-4 when he heard that his friend Lazarus was ill:
“Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”
But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Illness is always the platform for the revealing of the glory of God, the restoration of God’s image in every part of the human being—spirit, soul, and body.
That’s what the Work of Mercy of healing is all about. I know what you’re wondering: if that’s true, then why are some healed and others not?
Tune into our next post and find out!
How might thinking of healing as a sign, rather than a miracle, change the way we pray for those who are sick (including ourselves)?