Jesus Healed the Sick

praying teen

Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus miraculously healed the sick.

Once, He healed the son of a Gentile official who came to Him from the next town over: “Go; your son will live” (John 4:46–54). Another time, He healed a paralytic who had not been able to walk for thirty-eight years: “Get up, take up your bed, and walk” (5:2–9). He healed the blind and cast out demons (9:1–7; Matthew 8:28–34). “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction” (9:35). As Matthew quoted from Isaiah 53:4, “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases” (8:17), to explain how Jesus could cast out demons and heal the sick with just a word. Jesus also did many other miracles like feeding the multitudes and walking on water (Matthew 14:13–33).

Surely, this was Martha and Mary’s expectation when they urgently sent for Jesus to save their brother. They knew their heaven-sent friend had the power to say “No” to sickness and to heal those who were hurting. They had personally watched Him do it and had probably hosted walking miracles in their home. So, when their own brother “was ill, Lazarus of Bethany. . . . The sisters sent to [Jesus], saying, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill’” (John 11:1a, 3). Martha and Mary beckoned Jesus with the expectation that he would heal their brother. They knew He was able and saw no reason why He would not. For Jesus had healed many throughout His ministry—many who were strangers and often ungrateful (Luke 17:17–18). Most assuredly, He would help a family friend whom He loved just as He had healed Peter’s mother–in–law when she was “lying sick with a fever” (Matthew 8:14–15; Luke 4:38–39).

Jesus would eventually say “No” to Lazarus’ illness, but in a way different than everyone expected, for when Jesus heard the sisters’ request, He said, “‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that Lazarus was ill, He stayed two days longer in the place where He was” (John 11:4–6). Certainly, Jesus loved this family and ached when he learned that Lazarus, his friend, was dying. Yet Jesus inexplicably waited two days longer in the place where he was until Lazarus had died (v. 11). His disciples initially did not understand His words: “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover (v. 12). But if your friend is on his deathbed, why don’t you go to him? Why would you wait until after he dies to go and see him?” Martha too did not understand when Jesus showed up after her brother’s passing: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died (v. 21). You could have said ‘No’ to the sickness and saved his life.” Martha was heartbroken that Jesus had withheld His power to heal even as she clung to her hope in the final resurrection (vv. 22–27). Mary also failed to understand as she echoed her sister’s words: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (v. 32). She wept as she fell at Jesus’ feet, for she grieved her brother’s death. The mourners around her also wondered, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” (v. 37). They had seen Jesus perform many miracles and had watched Him heal the sick. How could He have helped those people, but not His own dear friend?

Application Insight: Trust that God’s ways are infinitely higher than your ways (Isaiah 55:8–9). Sometimes, He might heal your sickness with a word of power, but sometimes He might wait in the patience of His sovereign wisdom. He will not always say “No” to sickness in the way that you expect. Although a friend of Jesus, you might face a difficult challenge today: chronic pain, debilitating physical or mental illness, depression that drifts in and out of your life. As you cry in prayer for Christ to heal you, it can feel more painful knowing that He has chosen to withhold His power for a time. Take heart that Jesus knows what time it is and will make all things right in the end.

Jesus ministered to His beloved friends with full knowledge of their situation. He was not ignorant of their suffering, for He plainly told his disciples that Lazarus, his friend, had died (John 11:14). Yet this momentary suffering would ultimately display “the glory of God” (v. 4). Jesus is well-informed about our deepest pains, for He is God himself. In His omniscience, He always has a sovereign plan which is a better plan than ours. He might say “No” to sickness in ways different than we expect. Yet Jesus knows, He plans, and surely He cares for those he loves. When He arrived before the tomb of Lazarus and saw Mary weeping, “and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in His spirit and greatly troubled” (v. 33). Then, at the tomb of His dear friend, though He knew that He was about to change everything in just a few moments, “Jesus wept” (v. 35). He wept because He loved his friends (v. 36).

Application Insight: Jesus lovingly cares for you in the midst of your sickness, pain, and death. He may not choose to heal you in this present life, but that does not mean He has abandoned you. For He has promised to enter with you into the suffering, so that you will never weep alone. He often carries you into grief so as to grow your faith in Him and to bring glory to Himself (vv. 15, 41–42, 45).

Jesus knows; Jesus plans; Jesus cares; Lastly, Jesus acts on our behalf. Very soon, after raising Lazarus from the dead (vv. 38–44), Jesus would rise up from the dead himself (John 20). His victorious resurrection would deal the final blow to sickness and to death (1 Corinthians 15:55–57). Beloved, as Jesus acts on our behalf, He will surely heal our sicknesses either in this life now or in the life to come (Revelation 21:4). May we glory in this living hope of our Savior’s resurrection (1 Peter 1:3)!

3/27/2023 3:39:24 PM
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  • Tom Sugimura
    About Tom Sugimura
    Tom Sugimura is a pastor-writer, church planting coach, and professor of biblical counseling. He writes at, ministers the gospel at New Life Church, and hosts the Every Peoples Podcast. He and his wife cherish the moments as they raise their four kids in Southern California.