There are many stories of healing in the gospels.  Someone has estimated that approximately one fifth of the gospels deal with healing of one kind or another.  We   find at least twenty eight instances of Jesus healing people.  Six refer to what might be called general healings ie healing of many people without specific description of those healings.  An example of that is the beautiful scene described in the first chapter of Mark’s gospel (1: 32-34)

Apparently, after Jesus had healed Peter’s mother-in-law word got around and Mark tells us “That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils.  The whole town came crowding around the door and he cured many who were sick with diseases of one kind or another.”

It seems the Jewish people did not expect the Messiah to appear as a healer.  Their expectations, their hopes, were for a Messiah who would liberate them from Roman oppression, who would restore the kingdom of Israel.  Jesus’ mission was very different.  He had come to save not only those Israelites but all people, not from physical disabilities or political oppression, but from sin and death.

Of the twenty some instances of individual healings, half include an explicit reference to faith.  It seems clear that Jesus paid attention to the whole person.  He intended to relate not just to physical illness but the spiritual needs of the individual.

It also seems Jesus did not want to be known as a physical healer.  Often Jesus explicitly instructed the persons he cured not to tell anyone. That seems strange.  Jesus came as the Messiah to announce and to implement God’s plan of salvation.  Why would he restrict the means of getting the message out?  It seems he did not want to  be known as a physical healer, a kind of wonder worker.  Rather he wanted people to come to him with faith, faith in his power to save.

That same Jesus is still among us with that same power to save.  Very often we may ask in our prayers for physical healing either for ourselves or for loved ones.  There is nothing wrong with that as long as we attach that very important phrase to our petition that Jesus taught us when he prayer in Gethsemane.  “Let it be done as you, not I, would have it.” And we must keep in mind that the most important healing we need is a spiritual healing, a freeing from our sins.