Isaiah 61 is a prophecy of hope and redemption. It is a passage of spiritual healing and promise of a Redeemer. Selections from this chapter are read from by Jesus in Luke 4:16, and He tells those listening that these verses are fulfilled in Him. He heals the blind and the lame. He gives comfort to those in grief. He proclaims the year of the Lord. In all of this, His focus remains intent upon the spiritual needs of the people He came in contact with every day.
In Matthew 9:35-38, as He is teaching and performing miracles, we see Jesus’ compassion on those around Him and the urgency He feels for their souls. While healing their bodies, He recognizes their need for spiritual healing. We know of Jesus weeping over the state of Jerusalem in Luke 13:34, their rejection of Him and their denial of their own spiritual sickness. He cares for the people, not just for their physical troubles, but for their souls and their need to be spiritually healed.
Spiritual Healing in Physical Miracles
John 9 records the apostles wondering over sin leading to blindness, and Jesus redirects their attention to where they should be focused – on doing God’s work, on being a light in this world. When the events surrounding the healing of this blind man draw to a close, Jesus addresses the man’s spiritual needs in verses 35-41. Yes, he heals the man’s blindness, but He is first concerned about the man’s soul.
In Mark 2, some friends bring a paralyzed man to Jesus, so determined to reach Jesus they lower him through the roof of the house Jesus is in. Before healing the man, Jesus proclaims his sin forgiven. Jesus then heals him of his physical ailment to demonstrate His authority over spiritual ailments.
John 5:6 has Jesus approaching another paralyzed man, this one wishing to find healing within waters believed to have healing powers. Jesus asks the man, “Would you be whole?” Jesus then both heals the man of his paralysis and, in verse 14, He tells the man he is now whole, instructing him to sin no more. In making the man whole, Jesus heals both body and soul.
In John 11, Lazarus is ill and dies before Jesus makes it to his home. As Jesus approaches the home, Lazarus’ sister Martha comes out, despairing that Jesus had not arrived soon enough. In the conversation to follow, Jesus calls Himself the source of all resurrection and life. Any who believe on Him will live eternally.
The Gratitude of the One
In Luke 17:11, ten lepers cry out to Jesus for mercy. Jesus tells them to go present themselves to the priests, and, as they journeyed, they find themselves healed. Ten cry for mercy. Ten are healed, but only one returns to give thanks and glory to God. Nine are interested in what God can do for them. One recognizes what he now owes God for deliverance. He recognizes the spiritual implications of the miracle that healed him.
We come to Jesus unclean, blind, crippled, and dead in our sins. Jesus says to each of us, “You are healed. You are cleansed. You are alive.” What do we do then? Do we go on living our lives for ourselves, or do we understand the deeper spiritual devotion we now owe? Jesus shows His glory in us. Now it is ours to demonstrate His works in our lives. Will we be like the nine who go their own ways, or will we be the one who returns to praise and honor His name, gladly willing to serve and obey?
lesson by Tim Smelser