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May 02, 2014


"Why did Christianity create a civilization where people heal their enemies?

While I typically cringe at least a little on posts like these due to the "social gospel" bandwagon, I think Amy is spot on in this post. And the quote above is THE key point: In Matt. 5:43-48, we read Jesus commanding us:

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Our demonstration of true love is what defines us as followers of Christ. And true love isn't possible without being regenerated unto saving faith in Jesus.

True love is most clearly shown in the ability and desire to love those who would turn around and despise us for it. Think of Jesus example just prior to his execution: he knew Peter would go on to deny him 3 times, and yet he went ahead and fulfilled his Father's work by dying for Peter.

Our Christian "culture", although I don't like that word, is differentiated because we don't just love those who are "worthy" of it. We also love those who hate us.

One major difference between Jesus and our medical missionary endeavors, is that Jesus healed ONLY believers. He would even challenge a person's faith to make sure, before removing the disease and other effects of their sin.

Jesus didn't always filter healings by the piety of those who asked for help - how about the ten men with leprosy in Luke 17:11-19?
"As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed."
Only one came back to, as Jesus put it, "give thanks to God".

Dave, I think you're mistaken about that. Jesus healed the Gerasene demoniac, and he had no faith (he didn't even have someone who had faith requesting his healing on his behalf). There are others, as well (such as the Centurion's servant) that we don't know whether or not they had faith, and where Jesus didn't ask whether they had faith.

Jesus healed in order to make His glory known, so healing those with faith (or those who may not have faith, but whose healing was requested by someone with faith), was a good way to do that. However, as we see with the demoniac, that wasn't the only way He healed.

Regardless, I would say that the case of our medical missionaries is analogous to the Centurion rather than to Jesus. That is, Christians who do trust in Jesus have compassion for those who don't and seek their healing. Just as the Centurion sought the healing of his servant, so the missionaries seek the healing of those among whom they're living. So I would compare them to the Centurion, not Jesus. Or compare them to Peter and John who sought the healing of the lame beggar who had no faith in Jesus of his own.

Here's what's important to understand in the overall healing situation in the Bible: Faith was needed for healing not because there is any special power in faith or even because it, in itself, was a requirement for healing, but because a person's trust (i.e., "faith") in Jesus is what caused him or her to come to Christ for help in the first place. Nobody would come to Christ for help unless he had faith. This is why the faith of friends who sought someone else's healing was rewarded just as well as the person's own faith--because it was their trust in Jesus' ability to heal (their faith) that brought them to Jesus to ask for it.

Those who came to Jesus out of their faith were healed. Those who did not think Jesus could heal (did not have faith) did not come to Jesus, so they weren't healed.

And yet, even so, Jesus went out to the demoniac, and called forth the man with the withered hand (without any declaration of faith or even a request on the part of the man), healing people who didn't even ask for it. It honored Christ to respond to people's requests made to Him, and it honored Christ to go out and seek to heal those who didn't know to request it, when it would be clear that He was responsible for the healing.

Re:Deborah, When the lepers said “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

That was evidence of the faith required for healing. Jesus always required faith before healing.

Re: Amy, Even the Gadarene Demoniac showed faith. "when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him" Mat. 5:6

Was it not faith when the man with the withered arm stretched it forth for healing at Jesus' command? Doubt would not have complied.

We are taught that God works in families, as in Acts 16:31 "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." The faith of the parent or relative was indication that the young or incapacitated recipient of healing was also among God's elect.

Also, the "daughter of Abraham" mentioned in Luke 13:16 whom Satan had bound for eighteen years, whom Jesus loosed, was a believer. She would not have been considered a daughter of Abraham as an unbeliever.

When it says they were healed as they went. It was faith causing them follow Jesus' directions. Whether dipping in a pool or performing some work of faith in order to be healed. How many times does Jesus say "according to your faith be it unto you"?

The demoniac ran up to Jesus and "bowed down before Him" because Jesus was more powerful than he, not because he had faith in Jesus. In fact, his very next words were "What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?" Those are not the words of faith.

The rest of what you say I don't think contradicts what I said. People who had faith came to Jesus for healing. People who had faith came to Jesus to heal their friends (such as the Centurion's servant, who wasn't part of his family).

When people had faith, Jesus responded to that, but He also graciously gave to the demoniac who had no faith at the moment of his rescue, only after.

I will grant you that everyone who did not begin with faith (like the lame beggar with John and Peter) ended up with it. Jesus' healings were always connected with faith, but the faith didn't always precede the healing.

Re: Amy, Again; Even the Gadarene Demoniac showed faith. "when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him" Mat. 5:6 All of this = faith.

Also; Mt 13:58 "And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief."

In challenging the faith of the woman from Canaan who sought deliverance from a demon for her daughter, Jesus said "It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs."

That is to say, that healing (the children's bread)was intended for believing Jews and grafted in Jews only. Because of her persevering faith, Jesus recognized her also as one of His. Also see Ro 2:29 for a definition of a believing Jew.

It then says: in V 28 "Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour."

is faith a required in healing? how about the widow's son in Nain? there was no faith involve there.
the bones of elisha.. when a corpse touches his bone, he came to life again. there was no faith there. healing of peter's mother in-law, healing of the withered hand. sometimes, Jesus did not requires faith when healing someone sick.

Re: meg, Does Jesus save those not covered by His atonement for sin, (of which faith is an evidence of)? Of course not. Neither does He heal them. The same Greek word for salvation also means healing.

“One major difference between Jesus and our medical missionary endeavors, is that Jesus healed ONLY believers. He would even challenge a person's faith to make sure, before removing the disease and other effects of their sin.”

Hi Dave,

I’m having a difficult time understanding your point. Are you saying that in order to be more Christ like, medical missionaries should limit their assistance to believers? It seems evident in d’s post (Matt. 5:43) for that not to be the case.

“Does Jesus save those not covered by His atonement for sin, (of which faith is an evidence of)? Of course not. Neither does He heal them.”

Does He not send rain on the just and on the unjust?

A few months ago I realised that Christ Humility differs from (for the sake of a better term) non-Christ Humility.

non-Christ Humility is shown by the weak towards the strong (e.g. the servant is humble before the master, the new recruit is humble before the CEO, the child is humble before the parent, the church member is humble before the church leader, the subject is humble before the King, Queen or President).

Christ Humility is shown by the strong towards the weak (e.g. Christ is humble before his disciples).

So when Christ is teaching Humility in the upper room I believe he is not directing his teaching at the servant, the new recruit, the child, the church member, the subject. He is directing his teaching towards the master, the parent, the church leader, the King, Queen or President.

So how does a disciple show "Christ Humility"? By finding someone over whom they have power ... and showing humility to them. How does a parent teach a child what humility is? By the parent being humble before a child.

This is what rings true for me.

I find that if I replace the word "faith" with the word "trust" everything makes sense.

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