Dr. John K. Mathew
Divine healing is a major theme in the Scriptures - an important topic in the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The first case of divine healing recorded in the Bible is, "Then Abraham prayed to God and God healed Abimelek, his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again, for the Lord had kept all the women in Abimelek's household from conceiving because of Abraham's wife Sarah" (Gen. 20:17,18). What has been frequently referred to as the Old Testament divine healing covenant was given to Israel very shortly after their miraculous escape from Egypt and the crossing of the Red sea?
At the very beginning of those long years of journeying and wandering, on their way to the promised land we read, "If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you."( Ex.15:26).This universal condition of health among the people of Israel continued as long as they kept their part of the covenant. But when Miriam grieved the Lord by criticizing the leadership of her brother, Moses, she was smitten by leprosy. This happened when she broke the covenant. The Lord relented when she repented - when Moses prayed to God to heal her, she was delivered and experienced complete healing..
The Lord who healed Israel, through His covenant with them sent His Son Jesus Christ at the fullness of time into the world. Healing was a major part of His ministry. According to Thomas Holdcroft, cited in the book, Foundations of Pentecostal Theology, a total of twenty-seven individual miracles of healing credited to Jesus are to be found in the Scriptures, as well as ten occasions recording the general healing of large numbers of people. His ministry dealt with a wide variety of human ailments: demon possession, sickness, disease, accident, and even death. In each instance, Jesus freely, and frankly presented Himself as an object of faith to be sincerely believed.
While ministering to physical needs, our Lord healed by a word, a touch or by physical anointing. He healed those near at hand and at a distance, He healed on a Sabbath, He healed both individuals and groups at large. Among the twenty seven instances of healing, there are seven cases in which a demon was cast out.
On eleven occasions friends brought the sufferer; on six occasions the patient himself made an appeal; on three occasions our Lord performed the healing while at a distance. He healed eight persons by a touch; He healed seven by speaking a word; Three were healed in a ceremony in which He spat and touched the patient, and in one instance He healed by effecting a gradual cure. Jehovah-Rapha is a living reality to New Testament believers. However, the major emphasis of Jesus' ministry is the salvation (healing) of the soul. Moreover. since divine healing is unconditional using it as a marketing strategy is unhealthy and by the same reason, the Bible does not prohibit healing available through medical care. Let's never forget that God's healing power is greater than any human achievement.