‘Miraculous Healing’ Today—Is It From God?
IN CERTAIN lands, it is common to see pilgrims visit shrines where many claim to have been healed of maladies and sicknesses that were “incurable.” In other lands, medicine men claim to cure people by supernatural powers. In still other places, emotional rallies are held at which sick people may leap from their wheelchairs or toss away their crutches and claim to be healed.
Those who perform such cures mostly belong to different religions and often accuse one another of being renegade, false, or pagan. The question, then, may be asked, Does God work miracles through multitudes of often conflicting channels? After all, the Bible says: “God is a God, not of disorder, but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:33) So, are such ‘miraculous healings’ really from God? Some healers claim to heal by the power of Jesus. Let us consider how Jesus cured others.
How Jesus Healed People
Jesus healed the sick in ways distinctly different from those of modern-day healers. For example, Jesus healed everyone who came to him for help. He did not heal certain people singled out from a crowd and send others away without a cure. Jesus’ cures were also complete and almost always instantaneous. The Bible says: “All the crowd were seeking to touch him, because power was going out of him and healing them all.”—Luke 6:19.
In contrast with modern-day faith healers, who often blame the sick for lack of faith when no healing occurs, Jesus healed even some who had not yet put faith in him. For example, once Jesus approached a blind man uninvited and cured him. Later, Jesus asked him: “Are you putting faith in the Son of man?” The man replied: “Who is he, sir, that I may put faith in him?” Jesus told him: “He that is speaking with you is that one.”—John 9:1-7, 35-38.
You may wonder, ‘If faith was not a prerequisite for being healed by Jesus, why did Jesus often say to those whom he cured: “Your faith has made you well”?’ (Luke 8:48; 17:19; 18:42) By saying that, Jesus was pointing out that those who were moved by faith to seek him out were cured, whereas people who declined to approach him missed their opportunity. Those who were healed were not healed by their faith; they were healed by God’s power. The Bible says of Jesus: “God anointed him with holy spirit and power, and he went through the land doing good and healing all those oppressed by the Devil; because God was with him.”—Acts 10:38.
More often than not, money seems to play a prominent role in today’s apparent healings. Faith healers are noted for being powerful fund-raisers. One such healer reportedly raised $89 million (U.S.) in one year through his worldwide operations. Church organizations too profit from pilgrims who travel to shrines in hope of a cure. By contrast, Jesus never collected money from the people whom he healed. On occasion, he even provided food for them. (Matthew 15:30-38) When Jesus sent his disciples out to preach, he told them: “Cure sick people, raise up dead persons, make lepers clean, expel demons. You received free, give free.” (Matthew 10:8) Why are the practices of modern-day healers so different from those of Jesus?
“Healing” From What Source?
Over the years, some in the medical profession have examined the claims of religious healers. What have they found? According to the Daily Telegraph of London, a doctor in England who spent 20 years investigating the subject said: “Charismatic reports of miraculous healing are not supported by a single piece of medical evidence.” Yet, many people sincerely believe that they have been cured by the power of relics, shrines, or religious healers. Could they have been victims of deception?
In his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that religious impostors would say to him: “Lord, Lord, did we not . . . perform many powerful works in your name?” Yet, he would reply: “I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:22, 23) Regarding the source of the power that such ones claim to have, the apostle Paul warned: “The lawless one’s presence is according to the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and portents and with every unrighteous deception.”—2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10.
Furthermore, “healings” associated with religious relics, idols, and images cannot originate with God. Why not? Because God’s Word clearly commands: “Flee from idolatry,” and “Guard yourselves from idols.” (1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 John 5:21) Such “healings” are part of the Devil’s ruse to draw people away from true worship. The Bible says: “Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light.”—2 Corinthians 11:14.
Why Jesus and the Apostles Healed People
The genuine miraculous healings recorded in the Christian Greek Scriptures clearly identified Jesus and the apostles as being from God. (John 3:2; Hebrews 2:3, 4) Jesus’ miraculous cures also supported the message he preached: “He went around throughout the whole of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news of the kingdom and curing every sort of disease.” (Matthew 4:23) Jesus’ powerful works—which included not only healing the sick but also feeding the multitudes, controlling the elements, and even raising the dead—demonstrated what he will accomplish for obedient mankind under his Kingdom rule. Good news indeed!
Such powerful works, or gifts of the spirit, passed away with the death of Jesus and the apostles and any to whom they passed on the gifts. The apostle Paul wrote: “Whether there are gifts of prophesying, they will be done away with; whether there are [miraculously spoken] tongues, they will cease; whether there is [divinely revealed] knowledge, it will be done away with.” (1 Corinthians 13:8) Why? Having accomplished their purpose—identifying Jesus as the promised Messiah and the Christian congregation as favored by God—such powerful works, including healing, are no longer needed; they are “done away with.”
Still, Jesus’ miracles of healing have an important message for us today. If we pay attention to and exercise faith in what Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God, we can look forward to the time when the inspired prophecy will be fulfilled both spiritually and physically: “No resident will say: ‘I am sick.’”—Isaiah 33:24; 35:5, 6; Revelation 21:4.