Monday, August 03, 2009

not noticed by Jesus

Every now and again a Bible lectionary reading jumps out at me.

Take the story of Peter and John healing the lame man in Acts. So 3:2 “Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts” jumped out.

Now Jesus was a regular temple goer. So he must have walked past this man lots of time. And the man remains unhealed. It’s not until Peter and John walk past, post-Pentecost, that something happens.

They do what Jesus never did, heal this man. Was Jesus not aware? I doubt it. Instead we have the mystery of God: a saviour who does not heal everyone and followers of the Saviour prepared to do what the Saviour never did.

Posted by steve at 05:26 PM


  1. thats very thought-provoking!

    Comment by Christina — August 3, 2009 @ 5:44 pm

  2. You see the same thing in John 5 where Jesus chooses to heal just one invalid out of many. I think this was because Jesus placed a greater priority on spiritual healing than physical healing. Physical healing by Jesus and his apostles pointed to the greater spiritual healing on offer. I don’t mean that they didn’t care about physical healing, but physical healing without spiritual healing is ultimately not helpful.

    Comment by Kris — August 3, 2009 @ 6:11 pm

  3. two quick comments Kris.

    – there is not direct evidence of Jesus visiting and revisiting the pool of siloam on John 5, cf the temple which is obviously multiple visit ie multiple passing of this man.

    – Jesus sure did a lot of physical healing for a person who didn’t make it a priority. Luke 4 names it as his core business, and healing is part of the evidence Jesus sites when John the Baptist checks out his claims of being messiah.


    Comment by steve — August 3, 2009 @ 7:19 pm

  4. Very interesting observation Steve. Almost all healing that Jesus did required faith from the inidivual or someone conected to them. Numerous times after healing he linked it their faith. Even when he did not directly link it to faith their is an implication of faith such as many coming to Him to be healed (surely an act of faith) or a request to do something in faith like pick up your mat and walk.

    The interesting difference here is we see no faith from the man himself (or someone connected to him). In fact they even pull him to his feet. The faith here was clearly the faith of the apostles. Hmmm I am going to study these links further.

    Would also agree with you that you cannot read the gospels and think physical healing was not of prime importance to the ministry of Jesus.

    Comment by Aaron — August 3, 2009 @ 9:04 pm

  5. Hi, Steve. I’m not quite into physical vs spiritual healing (too dualist)and, maybe, a distraction. Healing makes us whole and happens where we need it most. For some that’s physical, for others emotional or psychological or spiritual. I can be ‘whole’ but not walk or see or hear …


    Comment by Chris McLeod — August 4, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

  6. “Healing makes us whole and happens where we need it most. For some that’s physical, for others emotional or psychological or spiritual. I can be ‘whole’ but not walk or see or hear …”

    In this case why have physical healing at all? Why not just heal the emotional or psycological hurts that have been allowed to come in with the illness and thus make the person whole?

    Comment by Aaron — August 4, 2009 @ 11:38 pm

  7. Hi Aaron. Healing can, and does, certainly work at the physical level, but not always. Paul had his ‘thorn in ths side’ and I have only 40% of my hearing, but whilst I have certainly been prayed for, and prayed for myself, I’m still hearing impaired but I’m O.K with that. I’m no less a person for missing some things but ‘seeing’ many other things. I feel ‘whole’. Accepting my deafness in God’s grace and working with it (hearing aids don’t help because they can’t replace the hearing I don’t have)has been ‘healing’ for me. I just think that God’s healing grace works at many levels.


    Comment by Chris McLeod — August 5, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

  8. Hi Chris,

    I am enjoying the discussion and certainly agree that we don’t need physical healing to be whole and the grace of God can abound where their is sickness. It does beg the question is the only reason for physical healing to make the person whole?

    However I would say I don’t think the thorn in the flesh was a sickness. Both time that term is mentioned in the Old Testament is referring to people rather then a disease, given Paul’s knowledge of OT I don’t think this langauge is accidental and he is probably referring to someone who opposed him. This interpretation makes sense when reading the Corinthians passage as well as the thorn is described as a messagener from Satan.

    Comment by Aaron — August 5, 2009 @ 2:48 pm

  9. Hi Aaron. I’m not sure what you mean by – “It does beg the question is the only reason for physical healing to make the person whole?” But, to be ‘whole’, as I undertand it, is to be ‘whole’ in Christ

    As for Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh’, anyone’s guess. I have heard it described as illness, speech impediment, enemies, sexual orientation, crucifixion etc. Paul’s ‘thorn’ need not be physical, of course, as you say. My guess is that its best to leave it open – as Paul does, he doesn’t tell us what it is – so we can allow for multiple interpretations. Our ‘thorns’,therefore, whatever they may be, are given some value in the biblical text.

    Good to correspond with you, Aaron. To be fair on Steve, it might be better if we converse away from his ‘blog’. Mine is

    Chat soon.

    Comment by Chris McLeod — August 5, 2009 @ 6:29 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.