Healing and the Kingdom of God
Healing and the Kingdom of God
Jesus announced that the kingdom, or rule, of God was near in him. He challenged people to believe that good news and to live in the kingdom now by faith. As he announced the presence of the kingdom in himself, he often healed the sick and cast out demons. On one occasion Jesus’s opponents accused him of casting out demons by the power of Satan and not by the power of God. Jesus then pointed out that a house divided against itself could not stand and that he was he was healing and casting out demons by God’s power. In Luke 11:20 He continued, “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” “As you see the miracles and know they are from God,” Jesus was saying, “then you know God’s kingdom is here now.”
In Matthew 11:2-6 we read about another occasion when Jesus‘s ministry was questioned. “When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’ Jesus replied, ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.’”
Jesus was saying that the healing signs and wonders that he performed through God’s power were not only an indication that the kingdom of God was present in him but these were also an indication that he was the Messiah.
In Luke 4:17-19, we read that Jesus taught in his hometown synagogue in Nazareth, reading from Isaiah 61:1: “…the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’” The word “Messiah” in Hebrew means “anointed one” (anointed with the Holy Spirit!) and Jesus, about to be rejected in his hometown, is saying that he is the Messiah because the Spirit is upon him to do the things Isaiah foretold!
Some people think that supernatural miracles ended with Jesus, but we read in the New Testament that he gave his disciples the power to heal the sick and to even raise the dead. And he taught them to pray often that the kingdom of heaven break forth on earth!
By this I mean that in the Lords prayer he taught us all to pray like this: “Your name be hallowed, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” There are no demons in heaven, and there is no sickness of heaven, and so to pray that the kingdom of heaven invade earth is, in part, to pray that these healing miracles of God continue in our own day! We also pray for the changed hearts and changed attitudes that would also indicate the presence of Jesus and his kingdom in our midst!
Winfield Casey Jones is a retired pastor, and can be reached at . This column first appeared in the Pearland and Friendswood Reporter News.