The New Testament is full of examples of Jesus healing the sick. But why does he heal people? There are three main reasons I want to highlight. They should especially encourage those who struggle with sickness or chronic illness.
To Demonstrate his Power
The first reason is it demonstrates that Jesus has the power to heal. His power dwarfs your pain. Sometimes Jesus heals with a word and other times with a physical touch; in every case, when he heals, he demonstrates his power. The implication is that the one who can remove the manifestations of the curse of sin also can remove sin–forever (Mark 2:1–12).
To Demonstrate his Kingdom
Secondly, Jesus’s healing demonstrates that a new age is dawning. When you see Jesus healing, you’re meant to see there is in-breaking of the kingdom of God. Reading the book of Matthew, you see the King who has the power to bring in this new age where there will be no more pain, suffering, tears, or death. Amid the flurry of healing activity in a sample passage, we see Jesus heal a leper, heal a paralyzed man, Peter’s sick mother-in-law (Matthew 8:1–17). But while the shadow of the New Creation is over this home, like a magnet, all of those who were oppressed by demons and sick were brought to him. Matthew sees this as a fulfillment of Isaiah’s promised rule of the Messiah (Matt. 8:17).
To Demonstrate his Compassion
Finally, Jesus’s powerful healings demonstrate his compassion. “When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick” (Matt. 14:14).
It’s as if compassion became incarnate.
Theologian B.B. Warfield observed that the emotion most frequently attributed to Jesus is compassion. What’s so surprising about this is how rare the term was at the time of the New Testament writing. The word was non-existent. Warfield notes that it was unknown to the Greek classics, and it first appears in the Gospels. Spurgeon says that the gospel writers “could not find a suitable word in all of the Greek language that suited their purpose, and therefore they had to make one.”
It’s as if compassion became incarnate. It’s from another world. When Jesus heals, we see his compassionate heart on display. And his heart in heaven remains as it was while here on earth. Reading these passages is an invitation to believers to “take our hands, and lay them upon Christ’s breast, and let us feel how his heartbeats and his bowels yearn towards us, even now he is in glory.” (Thomas Goodwin) He is not ashamed of us in our weakness; instead, he’s compassionate towards us.
If you are suffering from sickness or chronic pain, perhaps like the woman who spent all of her resources and did not get better but only worse (Mark 5:26), contemplate Christ your Savior! He is the one who sympathizes with you in your weakness also has sufficient power to remove your pain and suffering. And indeed, he will! The kingdom he inaugurated is speeding towards you. In the age to come, you will realize in your body what you know in your mind: the weakness, pain, and suffering that now plagues you, has an expiration date.