#866. Does God heal everyone? (1/8/23)
Welcome to this Come to Jesus Daily devotional. This week, we continue in our series, Luke - Exploring who Jesus is. Until September, there will be no videos.
‘While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ And immediately the leprosy left him. Then Jesus ordered him, ‘Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.’ Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their illnesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.’ (Luke 5:12-16)
Lesson: God will heal everyone and restore all things when the Kingdom comes fully and we experience this, only in measure, as we pray for the sick.
Yesterday, we saw how we are to come to Jesus with the expectation that He is willing to heal. However, if He doesn't, we should learn to worship in the waiting. This is hard, but it's something that we all have to learn to do.
Today, I want to seek to answer the question: Does God heal everyone?
My simple answer is no. God does not heal everyone any more than He saves and makes Christians of everyone. I disagree with anyone who tells me that it's God's will to heal everyone this side of Jesus' return. Anyone who tells you that they experience complete healing for everyone they pray for is not being truthful. Sorry to put it so bluntly, but we live in a world where we can be taken captive to all sorts of triumphalistic and unhelpful teachings, which can leave us chained up in failure.
Texts like Luke 5 do not promise that everyone is healed. This account shows us what Jesus did on a particular occasion, for which we are to appreciate Him and grow in confidence to pray for our needs. However, He has the right to say ‘No,’ ‘Yes,’ or ‘Later’ to our prayers, and we must submit to Him.
For example, we don’t know what the ‘thorn in the flesh’ was that Paul asked God to remove in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. We don’t know if it was a temptation, persecution, or sickness. However, we know that it was something that was not good; in fact, it is even called ‘a messenger of Satan’! Nevertheless, God did not remove it when Paul prayed! Now, Paul may have said something like, “God tells us we are to pray, ‘keep me from temptation and deliver me from evil…’ and yet I’m still suffering with this! Maybe God is not good, or maybe my faith is not powerful enough…” Likewise, we can do the same with sickness. I say this so that you imitate Paul’s perseverance in prayer but also His trust and worship when God says ‘no’ or ‘later.’ Terry Virgo wrote,
‘Do all get healed? That is not my experience. One week a woman was healed from ME and wrote to me that she was thrilled to be back on the daily school run and pushing her shopping trolley around the supermarket. A few weeks later, I prayed with another woman who began to sob after I prayed for her because nothing had happened. What do you do? I told her that I was so sorry. I hate it, but I still feel that I must press on.’
The now and not yet of the Kingdom
That our physical bodies remain mortal and liable to sickness and decline is taught in the following texts:
‘But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.’ (2 Corinthians 4:7)
‘I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.’ (1 Corinthians 15:50)
Here, we are being taught about the ‘now and not yet’ nature of the Kingdom of God. Yes, we are to pray and expect to see healing in this age. However, we know that all healing is only in measure and will not be fully experienced by anyone until our ‘flesh and blood’ and ‘jars of clay’ are raised ‘imperishable’ at the end of the ages. All of Jesus' healings, and the healing that we experience, are prophetic foretastes of that age when all sickness and death will be swallowed up in victory.
‘The “kingdom of God” in this present age is not an earthly, military, or political kingdom but is the rule and reign of God in people’s hearts and lives, and it is manifested both in people following Jesus and his teaching, and in the miraculous healings that God brought through the disciples, giving a foretaste of resurrected life in the age to come.’ (ESV Study Bible)
God will heal everyone and restore all things when the Kingdom comes fully and we experience this, only in measure, as we pray for the sick.
So let's pray for the sick and pursue all of the aspects of the Kingdom of God - salvation, sanctification, justice, mercy… knowing that it’s Jesus’ will that we experience a measure of His Kingdom right now, for His glory and for the salvation of many.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
Until September I'll not be producing a group study. However, if you meet with your group why not simply use one of the devotionals as a basis for your discussion together?