Today, we’re continuing our series about Jesus, turning to the oldest existing book about Jesus written between 56 and 60 AD. Mark is writing to the Roman Christians just after the persecution of Christians had started. He wants his readers to understand who Jesus is really and what his life means for their lives. After Jesus was baptized he set out to begin preaching the good news, healing the sick and casting out demons. In looking at the healing ministry of Jesus, it’s important to remember two things. First, Jesus’ healings were a tangible witness to the kingdom of God he was proclaiming. So he opens the eyes of the blind, heals the ears of the deaf, enables the lame to walk, casts out evil spirits and even raises the dead all as a sign of what the kingdom of God when it is fully realized will be like. In this kingdom, there will be no more suffering or sorrow or sickness or pain. And so Jesus shows us tangible signs of the kingdom.
Second, the healings of Jesus show us the heart of God. Jesus can’t help himself when he sees the sick, the broken and the hurting who wanted healing. He is drawn to them and has to heal them. This became a problem for Jesus because when he healed someone they went and told everybody who would listen. As a result, there were large crowds gathered around Jesus, waiting for healing. This is why Jesus is constantly telling people after he heals them, “Don’t tell anybody.” Scholars call this the messianic secret and have theorized that if Jesus didn’t tell people that then he would never have been able to do anything else, especially proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God. In Mark 1, Jesus has spent the day ministering to people. The sun is setting and the time is approaching for dinner and time with the disciples but he can’t do it. “That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.” Because the crowds had so dominated his time and ministry, verse 35 says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Jesus could not go in public without the crowds pressing on him because he simply could not say no. This shows us the heart of God.
So, in looking at the healing ministry of Jesus, it’s important to remember two things. First, Jesus’ healings were a tangible witness to the kingdom of God he was proclaiming. Second, the healings of Jesus show us the heart of God.
Chapter 7: Jesus the Healer and Baptizer
Jesus the Divine Physician
In the pages of the Gospels, we meet Jesus as the Great Physician, Healer of body and soul. And as we talk with His people, we discover that He continues His practice today.
Healer of the body and soul
What is a physician? What does he do? The answers to these questions help us appreciate Jesus as our Divine Physician. A good physician:
1. Wants to help and heal the sick.
2. Is qualified and prepared to treat the sick.
3. Examines his patients thoroughly.
4. Diagnoses his patient’s problem.
5. Prescribes the proper treatment.
6. Applies the treatment needed (with the patient’s consent)
Are these six statements true about Jesus? Yes. Every one of them! He showed that He cared for those who were sick in soul and body. As our Creator He doesn’t need an X-Ray to discover our problems. He knows us and understands our needs. He made us and can easily repair any part that is not functioning properly.
Healing and salvation are both a vital part of the Savior’s ministry. In fact, the word salvation in the Bible includes health for the body as well as deliverance and safety for the soul.
Matthew 4:23,24. Jesus went all over Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing people from every kind of disease and sickness.
The news about Him spread through the whole country of Syria, so that people brought Him all those who were sick with all kinds of diseases, and afflicted with all sorts of troubles; people with demons, and epileptics, and paralytics –– Jesus healed them all.
Matthew 8:17. He did this to make come true what the prophet Isaiah had said, “He himself took our illness and carried away our diseases.”
Jesus healed all who came to Him for healing –– the blind, the sick, the crippled, and those whose spirits were warped with fear, suspicion, and hatred. Our Divine Physician came to bring health to the whole person –– body, mind, emotions, and spirit. He wants us to enjoy life in all its fullness.
John 10:10. “I have come in order that they might have life, life in all its fulness.”
Continuation of His Work
Jesus is still the Great Physician. He sent His followers out to heal the sick in His name. What He did in person when He was here on earth as a man, He does now in answer to prayer and through the Holy Spirit. Jesus is just the same today. Thousands can tell you how Jesus has healed them in answer to prayer.
Mark 16:17,18,20. “Believers will be given these signs of power; they will drive out demons in my name… they will place their hands on the sick, and they will get well.” The disciples went and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and proved that their preaching was true by giving them the signs of power.
Hebrews 13:8. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
James 5:14,15. Is there any one of you who is sick? He should call the church elders, who will pray for him and pour oil on him in the name of the Lord. This prayer, made in faith, will save the sick man; the Lord will restore him to health, and the sins he has committed will be forgiven.
We read in the Old Testament about leaders of God’s people –– prophets, priests, and rulers –– who were filled with the Holy Spirit. You remember that they were anointed with oil to set them apart for God. The oil poured on them was symbolic. They depended on God to pour His Spirit on them to give them the power to do whatever He wanted them to do.
One day, God gave the prophet Joel a wonderful promise. The time would come when God would pour His Spirit out on all His people, not just on their leaders.
Joel 2:28,29. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
Centuries later, God told John the Baptist that the Messiah would baptize people with the Holy Spirit. God had sent John the Baptist as His special messenger to prepare the way for the Messiah and to present Him publicly. Great crowds gathered to hear John preach. John baptized many of them in water to show that they had repented of their sins and now belonged to God. John told them:
Matthew 3:11. I baptize you with water to show that you have repented; but the one who will come after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Not long afterwards John presented Jesus publicly. He uses four descriptions or titles to describe Jesus and His mission:
1. Lamb of God.
2. A man greater than I am
3. The one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.
4. The Son of God.
John 1:29,30, 32-34. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ . . . Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
During the three and half years of Jesus’ public ministry, His disciples must have wondered many times when He would baptize them with the Holy Spirit. Jesus called this experience “the promise of the Father.” But first He had to carry out His mission as the Lamb of God before He could be their Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. He had to die, rise again, and go back to heaven. Then He would send the Holy Spirit to them. The night before Jesus died, He told His disciples many things about the Holy Spirit and what He would do.
John 14: 16,26; 15:26; 16:7,13. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, the Spirit of truth, to stay with you for ever. The Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and make you remember all that I have told you. The Helper will come – the Spirit of truth, who comes from the Father. I will send him from the Father, and he will speak about me. It is better for you that I go away, because if I do not go, the Helper will not come to you. But if I do go away, then I will send him to you. But when the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you into all the truth.
After Jesus resurrection, just before He went to heaven, He told His followers to:
1) First, receive the Holy Spirit and His power so they could be witnesses for Him.
2) Then, go tell everybody everywhere about Jesus and His salvation.
Acts 1:4,5,8 Wait for the gift my Father promised, that I told you about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. But you will be filled with power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Think: Imagine you are one of Jesus disciples. Read again Jesus words about the Holy Spirit. Which promise would especially appeal to you? How would you feel when Jesus said; “In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit?”
Jesus the Healer and Baptizer
Just before Jesus went to heaven He told His followers that in a few days they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. They went back into Jerusalem and waited. Ten days later –– on the Day of Pentecost –– it happened! Jesus baptized them (120 believers) with the Holy Spirit and fire. And they received the power He had promised –– power to be His witnesses.
Acts 2:1-7,11. When the day of Pentecost arrived, all the believers were gathered together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire spreading out; and each person there was touched by a tongue. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.
There were Jews living in Jerusalem . . . from every country in the world. When they heard this noise, a whole crowd gathered. They were all excited, because each one of them heard the believers talking in his own language. In amazement and wonder they exclaimed; “These men who are talking like this –– they are all Galileans . . . . yet all of us hear them speaking in our own languages of the great things that God has done!”
Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, gave the people God’s message; They were seeing God fulfill Joel’s prophecy. They had refused Jesus as the Messiah and crucified Him. But God raised Him from the dead. Jesus went to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to His followers. This proved Jesus was the Messiah.
Acts 2:32,33,36. God has raised this very Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses to this fact. He has been raised to the right side of God and received from his the Holy Spirit, as his Father had promised; and what you now see and hear is his gift that he has poured out on us. . . . It is this Jesus, whom you nailed to the cross, that God has made Lord and Messiah!
Do you suppose the people remembered then what John the Baptist had told them about Jesus –– that He would baptize people with the Holy Spirit? John’s message was true, Jesus was the Lamb of God. The Baptizer, the Son of God –– the Messiah. How terrible that they had not believed in Jesus! Their unbelief had sent Him to the cross. Could God forgive them?
Acts 2:37-39,41. When the people heard this they were deeply troubled, and said to Peter and the other apostles, “What shall we do, brothers?” Peter said to them: “Turn away from your sins, each one of you, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will receive God’s gift, the Holy Spirit. For God’s promise was made to you and your children, and to all who are far away –– all whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” Many of them believed his message and were baptized; about three thousand people were added to the group that day.
From that point on, the book of Acts is the record of how Spirit-filled believers were witnesses for Jesus wherever they went.
Does Jesus still baptize with the Holy Spirit? Yes! Joel’s prophecy is being fulfilled more widely now than at any other time in history. Around the world millions of believers have received the Pentecostal experience –– the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is bringing new life and power to many churches. We call this the charismatic renewal. Charisma means gift. The Holy Spirit comes as a gift and brings with Him many gifts of spiritual power.
Jesus wants to be your Savior, Healer and Baptizer. Take your needs to Him. Give yourself fully to Him. He will meet you now.
Take this short quiz to test your knowledge.
1. What does the Bible word salvation include? Choose two.
a) Health for the body
b) Protection from evil
c) Deliverance and safety for the soul
2. What kind of life does Jesus want to give, us according to John 10:10
a) a happy life
b) a good live
c) life in all its fullness
3. According to Matthew 8:17, what messianic prophecy did Jesus fulfill when He healed people?
a) He would perform miracles
b) He Himself took our illness and carried away our diseases.
c) He would be the son of Mary
4. What Old Testament prophet told how God would pour out His Spirit?
5. What descriptions did John the Baptist give Jesus when he introduced Him publicly? Choose all that are true:
a) Son of God
b) Son of man
c) Lamb of God
d) the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit
6. Which of these did Jesus refer to as the promise of the Father?
b) the baptism in the Holy Spirit
7. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would give His followers power to be….
c) Witnesses for Him
8. How many were filled with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost?
c) too many to count
9. What did the believers do when they were filled with the Holy Spirit?
c) Praised God in languages they did not know
10. What kind of power did believers receive on the Day of Pentecost?
a) Power to heal
b) Power to witness for Him
c) Power to withstand persecution