The Healing Church

Jesus healed. He touched lame legs and gave them strength. He reached his hand to blind eyes and gave sight. He touched weak minds and restored order. He forgave sins and cast out demons, setting people free from spiritual, emotional, and physical bondage. After Pentecost, his disciples performed the same work of holistic ministry.

The scripture clearly indicates that the church has been endowed with specific healing power. The reader of the gospels can readily perceive that Jesus invested a major portion of his ministry in healing the sick. Often, however, we have examined the individual healing miracles of Jesus without considering the theological meaning of Jesus' healing miracles and the ongoing significance of those acts in the church's life today.

In considering the healing miracles of Jesus and the profound emphasis he placed on wholeness, we must ask what Jesus wished to communicate through his healing works in people's lives. That is best answered in the context of more basic assumptions about the meaning of Jesus' overall ministry in and to the world.

Jesus was sent from God to usher in a new order of creation, restoring the wholeness which God originally bestowed upon the creation but which was shattered by the Fall. The resulting chaos and confusion is our partial lot until the end time; but God sent Jesus to begin a new order in our midst.

Shalom is the biblical word—and a potent symbol—for the personal and corporate wholeness in God's original creation. Through the power of Christ's death and resurrection, true wholeness can be recreated out of the chaos which reigns on this earth. Old Testament insights into the threat of reigning chaos and God's promise of shalom, expressed powerfully in the servant songs of Isaiah as well as elsewhere, find their continuity and fulfillment in the life and ministry of Jesus (see Isaiah 65:17-25).

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