Who is responsible for the healing?
“and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.”
Paul could see that faith was being born in this man. We read in verse 9 it was a faith to be healed and we automatically take that as meaning physical healing because he is lame. However the Greek word that the English translators have translated into healing is sozo, it means to save as well as healed. This is important if we want to see something that I think we may have often overlooked.
Jesus often in his healings would heal to demonstrate he had the authority to forgive sins. In Luke 5 we see these words of Jesus, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . .” He said to the paralysed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”
“I am going to forgive you, to bring salvation to you, but to prove that I have the authority to do this to you and to others, here is your healing.”
In his gospel, chapter 18 Luke records Jesus saying to the blind beggar on the road to Jericho “receive your sight your faith has healed you.” In the Greek it is ‘your faith has saved you.’ The blind beggar’s faith in who Jesus was has saved him and the proof to him and to others is that he has received his sight.
We have the same thing happening here according to Luke.
Paul could see the lame man responding with faith to his preaching, it was a faith to be saved. He believes in the preacher that Jesus was the Messiah. Then Paul knowing that everyone was watching, this was very public, knew that here was an opportunity to prove what Paul had been preaching was true. Luke wants us to see that Paul was doing what Jesus did. Paul called out “Stand up …..”
To the paralysed man in his gospel Luke writes “Get up”
In Chapter 7 of his gospel Jesus says to the dead son of a widow in Nain as he touched his coffin “Get up.” He calls to the lame man that he sees has faith, “Stand up
In the story of the beggar, Luke says that Jesus announces “Receive your sight.”
Again Luke seems to be showing us that Paul is doing what Jesus did. He calls to the lame man who is showing signs he has faith in Jesus, “Stand to your feet!” with no hesitation the man did what he had never done.
What would have happened if the man tried but failed to stand? Those who had listened to Paul’s message that Jesus was the Messiah would have said ‘No he isn’t, that proves it!’
My point is that the responsibility for healing does not rest with the sufferer. It rests with the suffering Servant who carries our infirmities.
Therefore why say to those who suffer just have faith, well how much faith do I need? I have faith, but do I have enough? If I focus, believe harder, don’t sin, do all that I can, if I have to pay some money to the preachers ministry I will do it, I will do whatever it takes to demonstrate I have enough faith to be healed. Is that enough? Friends, it is rubbish, it really is. Luxurious careers are being built on such nonsense.
All the sufferer needs to be concerned about is this: do you believe Jesus is the Messiah? If He calls you to do something will you be obedient? However the success of this obedience is not on you, the result of any healing is not because of anything to do with you, it is because of Jesus. If you get healed He will be glorified but if the preacher says do something and you are not healed then the damage to the glory is the responsibility of the preacher not the sufferer. For Paul, it is the truth of who Jesus is and the credibility of who Paul is as a preacher that is at stake not whether or not the lame man has enough faith that he can be healed.
Faith in the identity of Jesus is the most important thing and the only thing a sufferer needs. The rest is left to God and the messenger as to whether or not healing is going to happen today.
I much prefer the responsibility being with the preacher than with the sufferer don’t you? We may end up having less preachers but we would also have less suffering sufferers. More importantly we would have more credibility in the Church and more glory given to God. That has got to be the preferred path.