In Matt. 9:35-10:1, 5-8 and Luke 4:23, Jesus sent his disciples into the towns and villages to heal every disease and every sickness. And they did it! How did they do that? Did Jesus wave a magic wand over them and give them mythological powers to defy Mother Nature? Did he breathe the Holy Spirit into them and give them superhuman powers over disease?
If he did that for them, why didn’t he give us the same kind of powers since we are committed to be his disciples? For me this has been one of the frustrating things about trying to be a disciple in the 21st century—not having the same kind of powers Jesus seems to have given his own disciples. It’s just not fair.
What are we supposed to do with readings like these in the Bible? One thing that might help us is to take some of the mystery or magic out of them. Let me be clear about this. I believe Jesus used powers within him that helped restore the physical and mental health to people. There are many things he did that are scientifically unexplainable.
But I also believe that you and I have the same kind of powers he had…we just haven’t learned what they are or how to use them to help ourselves and others.
However, you and I really don’t have to be given supernatural powers to heal in the biblical sense. The Greek word therapeuo is found 44 times in the NT. The English word “therapy” comes from it. In every place except one, therapeuo is translated as “healed” or “cured.” Jesus healed or cured all the people who were brought to him.
What does heal or cure mean to you? I grew up understanding the English definition. To me it means fixed, all better, that the person was restored to normal.
But when you read the understanding of the Greek word therapeuo, it says both heal and cure mean to serve. And not simply to serve. Doctors and nurses and therapists today provide a service intended to restore people to health but they do the work for a price. That’s called work for hire and that kind of service is doulos in Greek.
But biblical healing, therapeuo healing, is a higher kind of service because it’s freely given. It’s volunteer service.
Jesus offered his service to the sick on a volunteer basis. He didn’t expect payment in return. He served from the love and compassion in his heart.
Since that’s what therapeuo healing is about, you and I already have the gifts to heal in the biblical sense. We’ve been given time and knowledge and love to offer in relieving the pain, anxiety, and discomfort of others.
We have the power to therapeuo every disease – to serve without payment, bringing some kind of peace into their lives, even if it’s just for an hour or two.
You and I aren’t expected to be miracle workers when sent out as disciples of Jesus to heal every sickness and every disease. However, we are expected to voluntarily serve the sick and suffering. We won’t always have a solution that will cure their problems. But we do have a prescription to offer them. Jesus’s Rx for helping those who are sick or ill at ease is voluntary service done in love.
Every disciple, like Jesus, is a channel of God’s grace, a channel of unconditional love—freely given.