The gospels are filled with stories of Jesus personally healing people of all kinds of illnesses and casting out demons. Early in Luke’s gospel after going to Simon Peter’s house and healing Peter’s mother-in-law, Luke reports, “the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.” (Luke 4:40)
Later, after the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus entered Capernaum and a centurion came to him to ask for help in connection with a servant who was paralyzed and suffering. When Jesus said he would go and heal him, the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” He went on to explain that he was a man subject to authority with soldiers subject to him. He said, “I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and I say to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” (Luke 7:1-10)
Jesus was astonished at the centurion’s faith and because of it, healed his servant from a distance without personally laying hands on him.
Jesus was demonstrating that the power of God’s Spirit could heal on his word without the need for him to be physically present for the laying on of his hands. John’s gospel reports a similar incident where Jesus heals the son of a royal official from a distance. (John 4:44-53)
It is a great consolation to all Christians that God’s Holy Spirit is able to heal without Jesus’ physical presence. Let me illustrate with a story.
When our daughter Emily was born, she was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and a serious heart condition known as an A-V canal – holes in her heart between her auricles and ventricles. Three different pediatric cardiologists examined her and concluded she needed early surgery to repair these holes in her heart.
On the weekend before her scheduled surgery, some close friends came to our house to pray for healing for Emily. A few days later, Emily was admitted to Washington’s Children’s Hospital for a pre-op cardiac catheterization with the surgery to follow. After completing the catheterization, the cardiologist came bounding into the room where my wife was waiting and joyfully exclaimed, “Mrs. Dalgetty, I have GLORIOUS news! There is no hole between her ventricles, and the hole between her auricles can wait to be repaired when she is older and stronger.
My wife asked how this could be and he said, “It’s a miracle.”
After he left the room, my wife randomly opened her Bible and her eyes fell upon Jeramiah 32:26-27, “See I am the Lord, the God of all mankind; is anything impossible to me?”
Right after Emily’s fourth birthday she had surgery to repair the hole between the auricles and she came through the ICU and release from the hospital much faster than expected. Today, she is 31 and works every day at a bakery and catering business. Her joyful spirit has brought many blessings to our family and friends.
“Only say the word and my servant will be healed.”