I’ve often been quite confused about certain verses in Scripture where Jesus tells those he has healed “Your faith has made you well.”
Why it has confused me is because of all the faith-healing teachings I’ve received in my life. Most of faith-healing teaching revolves around faith being the secret ingredient to see you well, and if you’re sick and someone prays for you and you DON’T get well, you’re told “You don’t have enough faith.”
This has confused me. Just how much faith am I supposed to have to receive a healing? How do I know when I’ve got the ‘right amount’ of faith? I’m pretty sure I believe, I’m pretty sure I trust God to heal, and now you tell me I don’t have ‘enough’ trust? It doesn’t make sense – it’s impossible to have more ‘trust’ than just plain simple trust.
Jesus’ words “Your faith has made you well,” seen in Mark 5:34 to the women with the issue of blood (who just touched his garment and was made well); Mark 10:52 to a blind man who was persisting for Jesus to heal him; and Luke 17:19 to the leper who came back to thank Jesus for healing him (and many other places), have all been used to validate this kind of doctrine.
Plus, Jesus’ commendation to the centurion who had ‘great faith’ in Matt 8:5-13, where Jesus also says to the man “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed,” is used to further illustrate the point.
I’ve really battled with this as it doesn’t make sense. It makes ‘faith’ to be the power to see you healed, not God. If you have enough ‘faith’ (who knows when you do?) then you’re healed. Otherwise God is powerless?
I’ve been battling again with this yesterday, especially as I’ve been doing a study on Acts 3:16 where Peter has healed a cripple and says it was neither by their power or their piety (holiness) that it happened, but by the authority of Jesus. As I said above, I’ve often even heard people speak about faith being the ‘power’ to heal. That makes no sense whatsoever – how could trusting someone (a relational dynamic) be a ‘power’? This isn’t magic we’re dealing with.
But, lying in bed last night I think Jesus showed me something that really opened my mind and heart.
All of these people above didn’t really have any special ‘faith’. Jesus says their faith (which means ‘trust’, a believing that also incorporates some action) has made them well. The point was that they were ordinary people trusting as much as ordinary people can and do. They did nothing special except act on that trust, by going to Jesus, touching his robe, pleading to him, etc. They had as much faith as any normal person in the history of the world and today has ever had or can have.
When Jesus commends the Centurion for having great faith in Matthew 8, notice what he says in verse 10 – “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.” Was Jesus commending the centurion as much as he was rebuking Israel? Sometimes we may miss the clear rebuke to Israel – Jesus is saying not even God’s people could do something as simple as the Centurion did. There was nothing special about his faith. The marvel is that Israel couldn’t even just trust in such a simple way – Israel was unable to do the simplest of things, because of the state of their hearts.
These are written down for our edification. There is nothing special about any of the people Jesus made well. They possessed no more faith than ordinary people — they were ordinary people! That’s the point. That’s what Jesus is illustrating..
In Luke 17 the disciples ask for Jesus to ‘increase their faith’ in vs 5. He answers by saying they need faith like a grain of mustard seed. We all know it’s small, and we also know that it can grow. But to trust God for healing is not difficult and it requires no major effort. You just have to do it – but it’s in the ‘doing it’, in the actual trusting, that we struggle. But if we believe, we believe, we don’t have to believe ‘more’ to see ourselves healed. There is no measure of ‘more believing’ – we can all believe as much as the next person, and that believing is enough.
Immediately after the disciples ask for their faith to be increased Jesus talks about unworthy servants – is he saying that trust (faith) is more than just doing what you’re told? Then it goes straight into the story of the lepers, where Jesus says to one of them ‘your faith has made you well’.
He didn’t do anything special, he came back and thanked Jesus when the others didn’t. But he did nothing ultimately special. He did something every single one of us has the ability to do. Every one of us have the ability to trust Jesus. Jesus keeps harping on people’s faith to show how simple it is, not to give us some ridiculous bar we must measure up to.
I think this makes a heck of a lot of more sense than what I’ve been taught previously. The only thing is, it needs to be put into practice, and that’s where I struggle. I need to risk it with Jesus and pray for others to be healed, trusting they will be. Is that easy? No. But it doesn’t require a great amount of faith – it requires the amount of trust in God that any human being has the ability to have – it just requires I do it.
6 thoughts on “Your Faith Has Made You Well”
I stumbled onto your blog after having an ‘unfortunate’ incident on another ‘discernment’ blog – I’m sure you know which one.
I’ve just read your article about healing and I must admit, the issues that you were struggling with, are ones that I have been trying to figure out myself. It’s especially hard since, like you, I’ve listened to too many faith healing sermons in the past and since I’ve stepped away from all of the health, wealth and prosperity teachings 4 years ago, I’ve had to truly rely on Jesus to open up His Word for me and allowing me to know the truth and not the seeker sensitive point of view.
Recently I read the scripture again where the leper asked Jesus to heal him, starting with: ‘If You are willing, …’ This really opened my eyes to something else. Jesus can and still does heal people. What we need to establish is, whether or not it is His perfect Will to heal the person that we’re praying for or does He have another plan? Something that is ultimately better, since His ways are so much better than our own.
What do you think?
Hey, thanks for stopping by. I think that what you’re asking is the big question — is it God’s will to heal someone ALWAYS? Can we assume that, or do we need some sort of ‘revelation’ from God that He wants to heal a specific person?
I’ve learned something in the last week or so that I think is worth a mention here, and that is that it seems that faith is a heart thing, not a head thing. Sure, the head can help the heart but it’s the heart where faith is found and where it is formed.
We, or I know myself at least, deal a lot with the head and try my utmost to get the head to believe. When it’s the heart that must believe. But how the heck do you get your heart to believe? Well, here is where faith is both a miracle (God gives us new hearts) and a process, I think.
God is also a relational God. He deals with everyone differently. It seems to me that God’s will is to heal most of the time, but we don’t know what that person is dealing with and how God is dealing with them. Healing doesn’t have to be instantaneous, neither does it have to take a while, but God is interested in our hearts. Who knows how he intends to get the heart of the person? The sickness may be allowed so God can get their hearts – and He could do this in numerous ways. A healing could grab their heart, or a delay of healing could do it, or never a healing if they refuse to deal with something that God is wanting to deal with; God’s dealing with others is often a mystery, isn’t it?
After all, the Kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seed but doesn’t know how it grows (Mark 4:26-29). We don’t know what’s going on under the surface, what God is up to.
I’ve heard plenty of times that people only received their healing when they forgave someone who they refused to forgive before. I often used to see this as some sort of secret – get your life in order and God will heal you. We constantly make these things into a sort of formula (do x and God will do y) when, in fact, we never quite know exactly what God is up to with someone’s heart.
We’re not supposed to look for formulas, we’re supposed to check our hearts. The story of the leper shows where his heart is, and notice that the others got healed even though their hearts appear to be skew. Nevertheless, we don’t know what happened to them in years to come and how God used the event to grab their hearts.
I tend to deal in a lot of either/or scenarios and notice many of us do, but lately I’ve been seeing that perhaps God is entirely different. He is a relational God, so He does deal with each person differently. I don’t think we need to sit and discern whether God wants to heal or not, as I think he wants to heal 99 percent of the time (the Bible seems to show this to be so). But HOW and WHEN he wants to heal is the real issue, and this we don’t know, unless he tells us. We also don’t know how hard people’s hearts are actually toward him, and so we shouldn’t pretend as if we do. Telling people they have not got enough faith is a presumption – how do we know the state of their hearts?
As to me healing others, that is also an issue of the heart. Is my heart ready to risk it with God? Faith is also risk. I need to step out the boat, after all, and embarrass myself when praying for others to be healed. God is dealing with my heart and theirs too.
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Jesus often used the physical to describe the spiritual. When he said that if the temple was destroyed, he would raise it up in 3 days, he wasn’t talking about the physical temple, but the temple of his body. When Jesus healed the 10 lepers, only one returned to hear Jesus’ words that his faith had made him well. Yet the other 9 where physically healed too. Was it the faith of the other nine that caused their healing too? I would say no, because although Jesus had physically healed all 10, only one received the spiritual healing necessary to enter Heaven. The tenth leper’s faith in Jesus as God made him spiritually well. And although we see the physical healing and so are quick to associate Jesus’ Words with the physical healing, Jesus was actually talking about the spiritual healing of the faith that leads to enternal life.
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