Jesus and Healing


Midweek Faith Lift

                                       September 4, 2019

                                        Jesus and Healing

                                       Rev. Deb Hill-Davis


Do you want to be healed?  Do you want to be healed?  Do you want to be healed?  This is a question that Jesus asks most frequently in his encounters with those who seek him out for healing.  Fully 1/3 of the gospel stories about Jesus are about healing people.  That was a huge part of his ministry, the path of healing.  But he did not push it onto people, they sought him out because they heard stories of his healing and they too, needed healing.  And we should note that frequently Jesus asked each seeker to do something; to get up and walk, to open their eyes. It was not a passive process.  This was first century Palestine where practice of scientific medicine was primitive at best and at times caused more harm than good. In that environment, Jesus was a phenomenon as a healer.


So, if there was an itinerant preacher roaming the territory who demonstrated the ability to heal people, he was going to attract attention and a following.  Word of mouth was the best advertising then, just as it is today.  When you move to a new city, how do you find a doctor?  You ask your neighbors, friends, the people in your church, workplace or social groups.  Still word of mouth, isn’t it? And why is that?  Well, healing is truly a very personal journey, and before we let someone inside our very personal story, and our physical body, we want to know something real about them, don’t we?  Are they a good listener, do they have a good bedside manner, are they skilled?  We want to know that they are competent, caring and well grounded in the science and art of medicine.


And that is the crux of things, isn’t it?  The most effective healers recognize that it is both art and science and that it always involves energy greater than the human mind can grasp.  There is always a spiritual element to healing, whether we know it or not; a mystery. This is the difference between healing and a cure.  When we treat the body as purely a mechanism, then we seek a cure.  When we begin to understand that we are mind, body and spirit, then our perception changes. We intuitively understand that healing is a matter of mind, body and spirit, which is exactly the pattern that Jesus followed. 


His healing authority was in his powerful Presence, his unwavering connection to Spirit, his Higher Self, what he called the Father.  That is what called that energy forth in the individuals whom he healed.  Jesus did not cure people; he healed them.  The most powerful energy of healing is that which we cannot see; it is the energy of the Divine.  Butterworth describes this energy and its workings on page 167 of Discover the Power Within You.


           One thing we can glean from repeated evidences in research: there is a universal tendency for everything to return to normal whenever the condition of balance has been violated.  Why? Somehow there is a body that doesn’t change even if the cells themselves are hurt and destroyed.  Paul called it “The Lord’s Body”; Jesus called it the “Kingdom of heaven within,” and some scientists may refer to it as an “electromagnetic-pattern body.”  The process of nonmaterial force directing the rebuilding of the material form is what is called the vis medicatrix naturae (the healing power of nature).  This is a spiritual activity, whether it is evoked by medication or meditation.


And that brings us to this whole notion of “miracle” and the healing that Jesus did during his time on earth.  In first century Palestine, when Jesus did these healings, they were considered “miracles” because no one could explain or understand them. And even more interesting is that people just accepted these miracle healings.  There are no accounts of healing that I recall reading where the person said, “Now wait a minute, Jesus, you better explain how you did that or it may not last!  I’m not sure I really trust you, Jesus, I’d like to see the research that backs up your approach to healing!”  NOT….so much, eh?


We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge that even today there are “medical miracles” that science cannot explain.  It was interesting to me that when my brother-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer, the doctors would not give him a specific “end date” as to how long he had to live.  Medicine now recognizes that Mind, Body, Spirit has as much to do with that as medical interventions.  In fact there is research that people who chose palliative care at the time of a terminal cancer diagnosis actually lived longer than those in treatment by 25%.  Why? One theory is because they were actively involved in choosing how to live out the rest of their lives!  They could plan how to have “good days” and look forward to them.


In his healing practice, Jesus was not attempting to set aside the natural law; he repeatedly stated that he came not to destroy the law but to fulfill it. (Matt. 5:17) Jesus’ perception of himself as a Spiritual Being connected to Source was so vibrantly strong that he called that forth in those who sought his healing energy.  And the message of Jesus to us was to know the Truth: we are in Essence Divine and knowing that at depth allows us to also access that energy for healing in all ways.  Each person that Jesus healed had requested the healing; either for himself or for another, in the case of the Roman Centurion, it was for his son.  The faith of the father was able to sustain the healing for his son.  That is a message to us that holding space for the healing of others is also a powerful pattern in the ministry of Jesus. That is why we pray.


The message of Jesus to us is to really “get it” that whatever Jesus had done, we also could do and more.  This is stated clearly in the Gospel of John, the mystical Gospel.


            John 14:11-14

                   11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.” (NRSV)


What is this saying to us?  It is in the Power of Faith grounding us in Spirit that all things are possible. When we are anchored there, then all that we need will be revealed.  And that has happened, hasn’t it?  It happened to Myrtle Fillmore in her healing prayer practice and deep sense of herself as a “child of God.” In our human journey, we have learned about healing our physical bodies, our relationships, our finances….all are forms of healing of mind, body and Spirit which happens in all kinds of ways.  Psychology, pharmacology, surgery, counseling, prayer, are all tools we now have to support the healing journey. But in essence, all healing is truly a healing of the Spirit.


We have a Healing Fair coming up this weekend, which highlights what are often called “alternative healing” therapies.  Many of these alternative healing paths require us to do something to aid our healing, just like Jesus did.  When we say yes to the question, do you want to be healed, we are then challenged to look at what we are doing or feeling or thinking that keeps us in an unbalanced state and out of the flow.  There is no ideal of how healing should look or how we should “look” or be once we experience healing.  It is the strengthening of the “Life Force” in us that allows us to express more of our God-ness as we live.

In my experience in hospital chaplaincy and since then, I have been at the bedside of those who are transitioning to the next plain of existence enough times to grasp that the healing that needs to happen is among those who remain here on earth in this form of life.  It is not for me to say what healing looks like for anyone.  I love the definition of healing that is used by the Japanese healing technique of Reiki:


 The International Center for Reiki Training


Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.


          The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words - Rei which means "God's        Wisdom or the Higher Power" and Ki which is "life force energy". So Reiki is actually "spiritually guided life force energy."


When I have invoked God’s wisdom for my life force energy, I have experienced miracles of healing that I am at a loss to explain.  For almost a year, beginning in May 2015, I could not bend the middle finger of my right hand. ( I am right handed).  It was in a permanent position of obscene gesture!  I could not make a fist.  Wow!  I tried physical therapy, massage, and finally a medical doctor who was a hand specialist who decided without ever touching my hand that I had carpal tunnel. 


I finally learned of an acupuncturist who treated my hand and who told me it would take time.  He didn’t think it was carpal tunnel and neither did I.  He was right on both counts, it was not carpal tunnel and it took time, almost a year. It was my Spiritual Director who finally helped unlock the energy of anger I was holding and gave me permission to be angry at Unity for dropping the Unity Institute Program for training ministers.  After that, my finger began to bend and flex normally again!  More than once in my life, my body has led me down a path of self-awareness and expression that has opened the path of healing for me.  While I used to get really irritated with my body for that, I have come to truly appreciate it with deep gratitude.  All healing is spiritual healing; may we all wake up to that Truth and support each other on the healing path!


Blessings on the Path,

Rev. Deb