It can be tough to nail down the place and purpose of Jesus’ miracles of healing in his ministry. Some tend to overemphasize them, making exorcism and healing the primary purpose that Jesus came. Others tend to minimize their significance, saying that they were merely meant to convince people that he was the real deal. The middle way between these is to see the miracles within the context of Jesus’ message: the kingdom of God is at hand. Healing physical sickness and spiritual oppression opens a window into the reign of God that is being made real in Christ. Every time Jesus allows someone to see, to walk, or to be free of the forces of darkness, the light of the kingdom breaks through the shadows, and we can see what it looks like for it to be “on earth as it is in heaven."
- Read Mark 1:21–2:12.
- Ask God for healing from any and all brokenness—physical, spiritual, social, emotional etc.
- See Jesus’ attentiveness and compassion toward these people—some of whom are the lowest in society. As you imagine these miracles, let it stretch your expectations of what is possible. Imagine a conversation with one of those healed about their life, how it is changed by Jesus. What does it mean to go from sick to well, possessed to free, leper to clean, paralyzed to walking? How are they responding?
- Reflect on healing and sickness as symbols of consolation and desolation (March 11). In your current season of life, are you sick or well? Do you feel out of control, trapped, weary, rejected, or paralyzed? Are you serving others like Simon's mother-in-law and “freely proclaiming” the grace of Jesus like the leper?
- Be honest with Jesus about what you expect (or don’t expect) him to be able to do. Do you really believe he can heal the broken patterns of hurt, sin, and sorrow in and around you? Pray the leper’s words throughout the day: “If you choose, you can make me clean.”
About the Author
Nick Chambers is the Director of Spiritual Formation at Calvary UMC