Jesus invites us to be his hands and feet in healing ministry as we are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
In the Bible, we can see different forms of healing ministry modeled in Jesus’ life on earth.
Each type of healing will represent a different focus of Jesus’ model, reflected in real-life healing ministry today.
While these different forms of healing are integrated into an interrelated whole, they nonetheless present a distinctive focus of Jesus’ healing work.
The Healing Ministry of Jesus flows from His relationship to the Father.
Jesus’ life and ministry demonstrates His extraordinary relationship with his Father, the creator of the universe.
Jesus calls this all-powerful God, Abba, or Daddy.
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36 (NIV)
Jesus’ relationship with God the Father reveals several aspects that are important to understand healing ministry:
- Jesus’ position as Son of God and as Messiah.
- Jesus has the authority to do the work that the Father sent Him to do.
- Jesus is empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish these works.
- The work of healing is the result of Jesus’ cooperation with the Father and with the Holy Spirit.
Origins of Healing Ministry
To understand healing ministry, we first need to return to Eden and remember we were created in the image of God, whole, healthy and able to be in right relationship with God, one another, the animals and the earth itself.
The original vision of wholeness was shattered in the fall. Since that day we live with the consequences of our sin: sickness, brokenness and death.
From Genesis through Revelation we read the story of God’s work to bring humanity back into relationship with Him and to restore us to wholeness.
This restoration comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ primary mission on earth was to make a way for us to enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus is the King and the only way into the true eternal Kingdom.
It is in His Kingdom that all the processes of healing begin and reach their full completion.
As Jesus engaged people in relationship (while He was on earth), He would lead a person to find spiritual healing, orienting to their broken relationship with the Father.
Spiritual healing restores our broken relationship with God the Father, through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Bringing us salvation is one of the Four Works of the Holy Spirit.
What is Spiritual Healing?
Spiritual healing ministry is restoring a person’s relationship with God.
God the Father, while we were yet sinners, sent His only Son to die for us on the cross.
This provides the whole possibility for us to enter into a relationship with God.
As the foundation for our relationship with God, the cross provides the context for our even being able to enter the place where Jesus’ healing work can begin.
The cross provides the bridge across the gulf caused by our sin.
Over it may come the extraordinary grace and love of God.
This spiritual healing of our broken relationship with God the Father, through faith in Jesus Christ, is the way into all healing that Jesus wants to offer us as we become part of His plans to redeem the fallen creation.
It was in the context of a meal with Jesus that Zacchaeus certainly experienced relational and spiritual healing.
Jesus engages the tax collector Zacchaeus in conversation with the command:
“Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”Luke 19:5 (NIV)
The first evidence of spiritual healing is the fact that Zacchaeus had been willing to give to the poor and restore fourfold all that he had stolen.
The second piece of evidence of spiritual healing, Jesus declares:
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”Luke 19:9-10 (NIV)
We may also conclude that this brief encounter with Jesus resulted in inner healing of wounds in Zacchaeus’ heart.
Without this inner healing, it is doubtful that Zacchaeus would have made such a bold reformation in his life.
We are not told what happened sitting around the table eating with Jesus, but we may suppose that it must have penetrated to the core of Zacchaeus’ being. As no one who shared a meal with Jesus remained the same.
Your relationship with Jesus is the starting point into all the other forms of healing ministry.
Jesus wants to offer us an invitation into complete healing.
We all are part of His divine plan to redeem this broken and fallen state of creation.
Relational healing is the process of restoring a relationship with another person.
Relational healing takes place as Jesus heals and untangles our web of fallen interpersonal relationships.
This touches upon relationships between male and female, entire families, social classes and races, and even to the healing of the nations.
The apostle Paul grasped the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ when he saw the relational healing of these three major social divisions in the Roman society he was living in:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.Galatians 3:28 (NIV)
We see clearly relational healing.in the story of the woman whom Jesus met at Jacob’s well (John 4).
She had much in her life that was broken and sinful.
Most likely there were layers of hurt going back to her childhood.
In addition, she also carried in her heart the racial hurt of having been born a Samaritan who, as a people, were hated and despised by God’s true chosen people the Jews.
From the questions she asked Jesus, we observe that she is seeking truth yet is still hindered by personal and corporate hurt.
Early in the conversation, through a word of knowledge given by the Holy Spirit, Jesus exposes the woman’s life of sin and hurt.
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.John 4:16-19 (NIV)
The woman does not deny her past nor does she hide it. Instead she runs back to the town and tells everyone,
“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”John 4:29 (NIV)
The result of this open confession is that the woman found her way into the river of life and brought many other people in her village with her to meet Jesus.
This intellectual discussion on the nature of truth and true worship, suddenly becomes an invitation to get this Living Water from Jesus and recognize the majesty of God in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you Living Water.”John 4:10 (NIV)
Inner Healing/Emotional Healing
Inner healing is part of the process of undoing the hurtful effects of sin from within. We also refer to this type of healing as emotional healing.
Inner healing includes undoing the effects of our own personal sin and being sinned against by others.
Inner Healing is restoring a person’s emotional and psychological wholeness. This repairs the shattered image of God within us.
Sin is the fundamental source of inner hurt and of broken relationships.
When sin is forgiven, people are restored to a right relationship with God and experience true healing.
Forgiveness is the key to most spiritual, inner, and relational healing.
As the Jesus helps us forgive and brings healing to our hidden wounds, we increasingly reflect the person of Jesus.
The Bible gives us an unusually clear picture of Peter’s fall into sin.
Three times Peter denied that he knew Jesus.
A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”
But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.John 15:56-57 (NIV)
A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied.John 15:58 (NIV)
About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”
Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!”John 15:59-60 (NIV)
On the third occasion we see Peter’s heart pierced by the look of Jesus whom he had just denied.
Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.
The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”
And he went outside and wept bitterly.John 15:60-62 (NIV)
Jesus’ forgives and restores Peter after the resurrection.
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”John 21:15-17 (NIV)
Most likely, all the images and emotions of that terrible night came flooding back to Peter.
He heard again his own words denying Jesus whom he had sworn to follow even to death.
The sound of the rooster’s crow rang again in his ears.
Jesus’ look that had pierced his heart rose in his mind’s eye.
He fought back the tears and battled with the lump of despair that was in his chest as he tried his best to eat breakfast.
He did not know what to say nor did he have anything to say until Jesus spoke and offered absolution.
This type of healing is part of the process of sanctification (one of the 4 basic works of the Holy Spirit), which comes from the work of the Holy Spirit within us.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.2 Corinthians 3:17–18 (NIV)
Inner healing enables us to forgive those who have hurt us and be restored from the emotional wounds that come from living in a fallen world.
Physical healing is restoring the person’s physical body to its original design.
Jesus’ heart went out to a disabled man who waited 38 years beside the pool of Bethesda to be healed.
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.John 5:6-9 (NIV)
Jesus’ love brought spiritual, inner, relational, and physical healing to those whom he touched.
While we do not often find this love named as in the case above, we see it again and again in Jesus’ attitudes and effects upon people that He encountered.
This expression of love is the underlying dynamic in all the cases of Jesus’ healing ministry.
Healing from Demonization
Deliverance, or healing from demonization, is the process of removing obstructions to healing caused by evil spirits.
Jesus came, to destroy the works of the devil.
Casting out demons (deliverance) is an expression of compassion for those who are afflicted and oppressed.
Deliverance is also a sign of the advancing Kingdom of God. This act overthrows Satan’s empire.
Jesus can drive away the demons keeping people from entering the Kingdom of God, as well as any that are hindering people from living whole and free in the Kingdom of God.
Fallen angels under Satan’s command have a major agenda of keeping human beings in bondage to their hurt. They try to either keep people out of the Kingdom by blinding them to the truth or if they are already born again, then they work very hard to keep them from experiencing the full restoration of being a child of God.
In the gospel of Mark, we read where a great number of evil spirits who go under the name of Legion had driven a tormented man among the tombs. In this haunted place of the dead he is beyond the boundaries of both human and divine community.
They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him.
This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet.
No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.Mark 5:1-5 (NIV)
When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!”
For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”Mark 5:5-8 (NIV)
Jesus drives away the spirits and liberates the man for new life in the Kingdom of God.
Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs.
The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened.
When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.
Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well.Mark 5:9-16 (NIV)
The man is sent back clothed and in his right mind into the human community as a witness to Jesus Christ.
In the authority of Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we can discern, engage and remove demonic spirits that block and hinder the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.
Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus continues to do the work of deliverance to remove these supernatural blocks to the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.Acts 10:37-38 (NIV)
Jesus cast out demons to clear the way for healing, restoration, and obedience.
Environmental Healing, or the Healing of Creation, centers of the relationships between human beings and the created order.
Sin affects the whole created order in the world.
Therefore, in the Kingdom of God, healing extends beyond the human race to include the whole created order.
God’s healing of creation embraces the animal and plant world.
This is identified by Paul in the book of Romans:
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.Romans 8:19-21 (NIV)
Jesus has been sent to restore and transform the Kingdom of God into the whole fallen universe. The redemption that flows from the heart of the Father is both personal and cosmic.
This process of ever-expanding healing overcoming the effects of the Fall will be consummated in the new Heaven and the new Earth (Rev. 21:1-4).
We have already started to experience this in the revealing of Jesus Christ as the incarnate Son of God, and how we live in both the “now but not yet” reality of the fullness of the Kingdom of God.
Does Jesus’ Healing Ministry Carry On Today?
Jesus is actively advancing His Kingdom: drawing individuals to Himself, healing deep rooted brokenness that is the result of living in this fallen world.
Our desire is to follow Jesus Christ in His mission and share a rich Christ-given love for others.
As we cooperate with Jesus in healing prayer He does, through the Holy Spirit, exactly what we saw Him doing while walking on earth. Hidden things are exposed.
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.John 14:12 (NIV)
In healing ministry, we find that the Holy Spirit may supernaturally bring a person’s hurts and wounds into the light so that they are healed.
Let Jesus Heal Your Hidden Wounds
Most people suffer from hidden wounds as a result of living in a fallen world. But Gods’ original plan for humanity included spiritual, emotional, physical and relational wholeness. As Christians we are invited to participate in the process with Jesus, who heals from the inside out and sends us to pray for the healing of others.
Discover how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to bring healing and deliverance – whether you’re involved in a healing service at the church, visiting with someone in the hospital, working with a child who is emotionally hurt, or even reaching out to a wounded stranger.
Do you have an experience in healing ministry? Without breaking confidences, we invite you to share a short testimony in the comments section below!