Lesson 6

Faith and Healing

(Proverbs 17 & 18, Romans 5, Mark 8 & 9)
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Introduction: The Bible recounts many, in both the Old and New Testaments, who were miraculously healed. What the Bible does not explain is the mechanism by which this happened. Sometimes Jesus used mud, other times spit, sometimes Jesus healed from a distance. What should we conclude from that? The logical conclusion is that mud and spit had nothing to do with it. So why would Jesus use them?

Consider something else. Physicians do not really heal sickness, they merely improve the conditions for the body to heal itself. What should we conclude from that? The logical conclusion is that God created our bodies to heal themselves. Thus, the question about faith healing is this: what part of the healing process is connected with the mind? I recently read a book about the operation of the brain and it cited several scientific studies which showed that placebos (sugar pills) were effective in healing because people believed the pills were medicine, not sugar. Did God wire our brains to boost healing when we believe in healing? Let's jump into the Bible and see what it teaches us!

  1. Mind and Body


    1. Read Proverbs 17:22. Do you think this is counsel about health? (It uses terms connected with health: "medicine" and "dried up bones.")


      1. When the Bible says "cheerful heart," is it actually speaking of the heart? (No. The idea is that the heart is the seat of our emotions. We understand emotions to be connected with the mind. When someone says "my heart was broken," we understand them to be speaking about an emotion.)


      2. If we are talking about the mind and health in this text, what does this teach us about the relationship between our emotions and health? (That our mind has an impact on our health.)


    2. Read Proverbs 18:14. What does this suggest about attitude and sickness? (That our mind helps us through illnesses.)


      1. How can that be? (The Bible tells us there is a connection between our thoughts and our health.)


      2. When Proverbs 18:14 says, "But a crushed spirit, who can bear?" what does it mean? (If the mind is wounded, what chance does the body have?)


      3. Proverbs 18:14 does not answer the question. Presumably the answer is "you cannot bear illness with a crushed spirit." So, what is the solution to a crushed spirit?


    3. Read Romans 5:1-5. We read here several "mind" terms: faith, peace, rejoice, hope. What do "rejoicing" and "hope" have to do with our spirit? (They are just the opposite of a crushed spirit.)


      1. How do we get to rejoicing and hope? (We start with faith in Jesus. The way to a positive spirit, which has a decided impact on our health, is faith in Jesus.)


  2. Faith and Jesus


    1. Read Matthew 9:27-30. If you were just observing this miracle, what would you say were the elements of the miracle? (A mental conviction that Jesus could do cure their blindness, and Jesus' touch on their eyes.)


    2. Read Mark 9:17-19. Was a miracle performed here? (No.)


      1. Why were the disciples not able to heal the man's son? (Jesus must have been speaking to His disciples when he said "unbelieving generation." Thus, the disciples did not have sufficient mental conviction.)


    3. Read Mark 9:20-24. What does Jesus say is the key to healing? (A mental conviction: "everything is possible to him who believes.")


      1. What did the father think was the solution if he was a bit short of the mark in his mental conviction? (That Jesus could help him overcome unbelief.)


        1. Was the father right? (Read Mark 9:25-27. Jesus healed the son. This obviously strengthened the belief of the father.)


    4. Read Mark 9:28-29. This is a most interesting passage. The disciples want to know more about the mechanism for healing - why could they not heal this boy. What does Jesus say is the mechanism for healing? (Prayer.)


      1. How does that make any sense? So far, we have learned that a mental conviction is the important part. What does prayer have to do with a mental conviction? (This opens up a new view of mental conviction. The mental conviction comes as a result of spending time with God.)


        1. How can this be true when the father was asked to instantly believe? (The only logical conclusion is that a greater degree of faith (understanding, mental conviction) is required of those who perform the miracle than for those who request the miracle.)


        2. Now the important question: If God created our minds to help heal our bodies through faith, how does the mental conviction of the healer have anything to do with the healing? (This tells us that there is a supernatural element, beyond the logical/scientific connection between mind and body.)


    5. Read Mark 8:22. What do you think the people meant when they asked Jesus to "touch" this man? (They wanted Jesus to heal him by means of putting His hands on him.)


      1. Whose minds are first involved in this potential healing? (The blind man's friends. They believed that touching would be needed.)


    6. Read Mark 8:23-24. Jesus both touched the blind man and put spit in his eyes. In the Matthew 9 healing of two blind men, Jesus just touched them. According to the record, no spit was involved. The friends in the Mark 8 miracle just expected a touch. Why did Jesus add spit?


      1. Barnes' Notes on John 9:6 (involving another miracle using spit and mud) reveal that the Jews "regarded spittle as medicinal to the eyes when diseased." Would any of the observers believe that spit would immediately heal blind eyes? (No. But, it was the logical thing to use.)


      2. When the man said that he saw walking trees, what did he mean? (After decades of heavy reading in college, law school and law practice, my distance sight was terrible before I had surgery on my eyes. I know what it means to say that people look "like trees walking around." It means the miracle did not work properly. The blind man's sight was improved, but not perfect.)


    7. Read Mark 8:25. Is putting your hands on someone a second time (this time no spit) the "fix" for a botched miracle?


      1. By now you should be very troubled by this faith healing. Why does Jesus have to use spit once, touching twice and why can't Jesus get it right the first time?


        1. Indeed, why does Jesus ask the man "Do you see anything" - as if the outcome were in question? Isn't Jesus the power of the universe?


    8. If you start out with two assumptions, that Jesus had the power to speak sight to this blind man, and that God works through the mind to heal, can you explain all of these odd facts? (In the beginning, it was the faith of others who brought the blind man to Jesus. When Jesus applied "traditional" remedies, touch and spit, His purpose was to help instill faith in the blind man. When the blind man first saw imperfectly, he was strengthened in his faith that Jesus could do something for him. The spit, touch and the two-stage miracle had nothing to do with Jesus, and everything to do with the blind man's faith.)


    9. What lessons do we find in this for us and faith healing? (1. That when it seems that God has not perfectly solved our problems, perhaps it is to cultivate our faith. 2. Traditional healing techniques can create a faith partnership with God to heal our bodies.)


    10. Is faith healing possible today? Can our minds heal our bodies when we believe in Jesus? Or, do we also need Jesus to be here? (Read 1 Corinthians 12:7-10. To whatever degree God has created our minds to heal our bodies, we are taught that the power of God (in the form of the Holy Spirit) is still present to perform healing. We do not need to doubt that.)


    11. Friend, God has created your body to heal itself. God has created your mind to work in partnership with the power of God to heal through faith. Have you neglected such a great weapon against illness and disease? Why not, right now, commit your mind to trusting God to do miracles in your life?


  3. Next week: Rest and Restoration.

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Lessons on Health & Healing

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