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  • Writer's pictureJill Ball


When Jesus was on earth he healed those who were ill. Again and again, he had compassion on those suffering with sickness and completely healed them.

a sketch of a holding cross
a holding cross

A holding cross is sometimes given to those too ill to communicate normally, or for those who find normal communication difficult. It is shaped to be feel good in one hand even if you have arthritis or have lost your grip.

From the beginning, healing has been part of the church’s ministry in the world, whether through prayer, growing medicinal herbs in monastic gardens or by founding hospitals.

Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.
And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.
If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
James 5 v 14 – 16 (NIV)

James thought that praying for the sick was one of the ministries of Church and for all believers.

He also said that some sick people need to confess their sins to find forgiveness. This is not saying that all illnesses are a result of sin. When Jesus was asked whose fault it was, that a man was blind, his answer was emphatic.

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
John 9 v 1-3 (NIV)

Jesus didn't believe in Karma.

Our actions. Our spiritual health, our mental and emotional health are all linked to our physical health. Each affects the other.

It is important to look at verses in context.

A good preacher will always do this, to tease out the meaning of the scriptures.

However, there are some who are making their own point and using random verses to try to prove their own message. This may be from carelessness or misunderstanding, but as listeners it is our responsibility to weigh the words that we are hearing.

Let’s look at one of the most wonderful prophecies in the Bible and find the context of the verse by his stripes we are healed.

The wider context is Isaiah’s prophecy about how and why God’s servant will suffer for us.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53 v 4-6 (NIV)

Isaiah is looking forward to the crucifixion and the work of the cross.

The suffering servant was pierced and crushed for our sins. He took our punishment, our pain, our suffering, our wounds. The Lord has laid it all on the Lamb of God.

This wins for us peace.

Peace with God.

Peace with each other.

Peace with ourselves.

Because of this reconciliation and because our sins are forgiven, we are also spiritually and emotionally healed. This will affect our mental and physical health, but this is not the main thrust of this passage.

James also talks to those of us who having confessed our sins, need healing. It is a healthy practice for all of us to come before the Lord to confess our sins and obtain forgiveness and healing, whether we are physically sick or not. Some of us may want to confess to a priest or to a trusted Christian leader in our church.

So, part of the Work of the Cross is healing, emotional and spiritual healing. This had a special significance for those who have suffered physical abuse. This happened to Jesus too. By his stipes we are healed.

But I don’t believe this verse is talking about physical healing. If you are sick, I suggest that you do two things

  • Go to see a doctor

  • Ask your Church leadership to pray for you

And let us all accept the spiritual and emotional healing that is ours

because by his stripes we are healed.

Come to me. If you are thirsty come to me

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