John 9:1-41

What about healing?

John 9:1-41
This week our passage revolves around a healing miracle. One of the seven signs in John’s gospel that is meant to cause us to stop and look at Jesus and ask the question, “who is this man?” It is also a passage that gives us opportunity to ask some questions about healing itself. Later in the gospel (John 14) Jesus will say to his first disciples, and to us, that we will see even greater miracles than were seen in his own ministry. What then does this passage tell us about healing? It does not give us a full theology of healing, that was not John’s intention, but it does raise the subject for us, it should provoke us.

At one level this passage describes the type of healing that we all long for and love to see. A man wakes up in the morning blind and when he goes to bed he can see. I wonder what the next morning must have been like, that moment before he opened his eyes. Did he wonder, was it a dream? If he opened his eyes on would he actually be able to see? The joy he must have felt when he opened his eyes and the world came into focus once more. We want people to get well every time we pray. We want miracles like this one to be our regular experience (possibly without the need to put mud in people’s faces!) However, the reality is that sometime we see healing and sometimes we do not. I have had the joy of praying for a friend with cancer and seeing her healed, if fact I saw her again just yesterday and she is still well nearly 13 years after her terminal diagnosis. But I have also called out to God for the healing of one of my most precious friends and spiritual influencers and then had to speak at her funeral. What then can we say about healing? How do we hold this tension of both the miraculous and the disappointment? Where is God in these moments?

Firstly we must remember that God is a God who heals. Our starting point needs to be one of faith (however small) in the fact that God declares himself as a God who does heal. But, secondly, we must avoid creating a formula for healing. God is a God of power and grace not a God of formula. In healing this man Jesus does not give us a formula for healing the blind. Jesus himself heals a number of blind people in the gospels and this is the only time he uses mud! God is not formulaic and we should be cautious when people try and give us a failsafe formula that either promises healing or creates a formulaic answer when someone does not get healed. Thirdly we should remember that Jesus displays to us that God is a God of love and compassion and we are called to, and are being transformed into, the character of Christ. Paul places love above miraculous healing (1 Corinthians 13). We are called to pray for healing, but we are also called to mourn with those who mourn.

When I have prayed with people for healing, especially unbelievers, they are sometimes healed, but they are always impacted by the fact that someone has had compassion on them and has offered to pray with them. Fourthly we must remember the season that we are in. In this passage we see incredible healing, but Jesus does not leave the man to rejoice in his physical healing. Jesus also brings spiritual healing. In compassion Jesus heals his physical sight, but out of love he also opens his spiritual eyes. We are called to pray for healing, but we are also called to preach the gospel and remind people that this world is not the be all and end all of our lives. We are called for eternal relationship with God. We live in the now and not yet of God’s Kingdom. God’s Kingdom is now, so we should pray for healing with as much faith as we can muster. But the Kingdom of God is also not yet. We pray for healing now, but we also look forward to that day when Christ will return, when there will be a new heaven and new earth and there will be no more pain or suffering. An eternity with God where we will all be fully healed.

Apply

  1. When did you last pray with someone for healing? What happened? How did you feel?

  2. What stops us praying for others to get well?

  3. Who do you know who regularly sees people healed when they pray for them? What might we learn from them? How does their experience mirror the healing ministry of Jesus?

Prayer

Father God,

Thank you that you are a GOD who heals. Please help me to have a biblical view and expectation of healing. Please fill me afresh with your Holy Spirit that I might reflect both the faith and the compassion of Christ to those around me who are unwell.

Amen.
This Everyday Devotions was written by Simon Elliott, our Lead Elder.

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