Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. - Luke 9:1-2
This should come as no surprise. It is hard to learn challenging new truth without any familiar context to lean on. When I am struggling to grasp new ideas, it is reassuring to focus on the things I already know. Realizing this about myself, it makes me wonder about all the truth that I am still oblivious to! What obvious realities do I fail to see because they are simply too far outside my current understanding?
As I continue to re-read the story of Jesus' ministry, though, I am increasingly faced with the reality that these miraculous deeds of power are not simply a possibility, not merely a sideshow to the work of the Kingdom. Instead, it seems increasingly clear to me that Jesus viewed these acts of very literal healing as essential to life in the Kingdom of God.
cure the sick... and say to them, 'The Kingdom of God has come near you.'" Faith healing and casting out demons is not just special work that only the Son of God can do; it is the living demonstration of the proclamation of the good news of the Kingdom.
What am I to make of this? To my knowledge, I have never been used by God to perform a miraculous healing. Nor have I ever laid hands on someone and released them from mental illness or other forms of spiritual bondage. Am I missing something essential to the gospel of Jesus? Is this some of that truth I have been unable to perceive because it is so far outside my comfort zone? As someone who seeks to be a modern-day disciple of Jesus, should these be spiritual gifts that I seek after?
I do not know what form it should take, but I do feel convinced that wholeness - physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual - must be at the core of the gospel that we proclaim. There is an undeniable connection between the Kingdom of God and the restoration of wholeness to the entirety of creation, beginning with human beings. How am I to live this out? How can my life be so filled with the Holy Spirit that "the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor have good news brought to them"?