JESUS SAW A CONNECTION BETWEEN SIN AND SICKNESS.
The first Adam was given authority to rule on earth, as long as he submitted to the will of the Creator. When he rebelled, “the god of this world” grabbed the scepter and exercised an oppressive rule. By the time the second Adam, Jesus, came, the world was overrun by the usurper, who held humanity in his ugly sway. Jesus saw the epidemic of sin and sickness as the result of his unholy terror and went to work undoing it wherever he went. So where we might see germs under a microscope or a broken bone under the x-ray, Jesus went back to the source and saw the enemy’s intrusion.
Healing was part of his redemptive work of undoing what Satan had done. That is why the leper was sent to a priest rather than a doctor. Hebrew people saw life holistically. Sickness was a moral problem, not just a physical one. Healing was like cleansing. That is why Jesus said, “Be clean.” That is why he forgave the paralytic before raising him up (Matthew 9:2). And that is why James says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (5:16).
But there is not necessarily a direct cause and effect relationship. Your sickness may not be the result of your sin. (And that is one reason why healing is a mystery). At the root historically it is, and that is why Jesus deals with it as he does, but your situation may be different. Job’s friends saw sin behind his sickness. Wrong! The disciples wondered whether the blind man or his parents had sinned (John 9:2). The Pharisees didn’t; they were sure he and his parents were both sinners. “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us” (34). Wrong again.
Jesus is a healing Savior. He came because God so loved the world. That love expresses itself by having mercy on us. May we come to his Father and ours humbly and yet confidently, trusting his compassionate care. May we believe what the Scriptures teach, that God desires wholeness for our body as well as our spirit. Let us abandon the thought, “We can pray, but it isn’t going to do any good.” If a loving Father invites us, he is ready to answer.
As we do, for ourselves and others, let us remember:
- a) Love believes all things. We may not feel like we have lots of faith. If we have love, we have faith.
- b) We encourage faith but don’t demand it. Jesus looks for faith, but not necessarily in the one who needs healing. Often it is the ones bringing a sick person–a father or a friend.
- c) Faith takes risks. Let us step out and believe for others to be healed. Jesus didn’t heal by appointment. Encounters came in the midst of life. And Jesus didn’t pray for healing. He spoke to the mountain (fear, leprosy) and said, “Be gone,” and to the sick one, “Be healed.”
- d) We are careful to confess our sins, realizing that sin can invite sickness.
- e) God’s grace is sufficient for all situations. If God heals, we praise him. If we are not healed, we still praise God, because our life is in him, not in our circumstances.