This Week's Focus Passage

As Many As Touched Him Were Made Whole

Focus Passage: Mark 6:56

‘As many as touched him were made whole.’

We read of Christ’s ministry in Galilee in this sixth chapter of the book of Mark, and at the conclusion of that chapter, in Mark 6:54-56:

And when they had crossed over [the Sea of Galilee, a.k.a. the Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias], they came to the land unto Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. And when they were come out of the boat, straightway the people knew him, and ran about that whole region, and began to carry about on their beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. And wheresoever he entered, into villages, or into cities, or into the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.

Conspicuous is the appearance that the strongest impulse of these people was, either for themselves, or their relatives, or for their friends and neighbors, to be healed of some disease, or made whole from some infirmity. It is as though they were crying, ‘What must we do to be healed?’ It is not recorded of any here, or, for that matter, of any other narrative of healing, that they were concerned about spiritual matters. It may be plausibly enjoined that this is even what Christ said of Himself when John sent to Him disciples to inquire, ‘Art thou he, or look we for another?’ The response of our Lord was, ‘Go and tell John the things which ye hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed,’ and so on, Luke 7:22. Was He telling John that this was His purpose in coming? Was John mistaken when he declared, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.’? Should he, perhaps have been crying, ‘Behold, the healer that has come to take away all illness.’?

This leads us to inquire what should be our views with regard to faith healers, as they are called, both in our days and in the recent history of the church and world. Indeed, has the gospel been re-invented from ‘come unto me and be ye saved,’ to, ‘come unto me and be ye healed’? What are we to think about modern-day ‘healers,’ ‘healings,’ and ‘healing-services’—so often conjoined with ‘revival’ meeting? What is supposedly being revived, bodies or souls? And just who is praised? ‘Who gets the glory?’ is a most serious question that should be asked in this regard.

Of course, we should turn to the Word of God for the answers to these queries. Most assuredly, there are healings recorded in the narratives of the Scriptures. What were the purposes of these healings recorded in the Scriptures; the healings from Christ Himself; the healings that we find ascribed to His followers, the apostles? Paul says, in 2 Corinthians 12:12, that signs and wonders and mighty works were the signs of an apostle. Is it not clear that this follows because ‘signs and wonders and mighty works’ throughout time and in the life and activity of the Christ were signs of an apostle? In the case of Jesus Christ, who is denominated to be ‘the Apostle and High Priest of our confession,’ this is most conspicuously true. It was true of the miracles granted to Moses; to Elijah; Elisha; and, in the New Testament, to the lesser apostles. But are these ‘signs and wonders’ continued in our day to be granted to men; are there apostles today?

We affirm the negative. We do not believe that there are apostles today, or prophets, or any men given the gifts and abilities granted to those so spoken of in the Word of God as prophets and apostles. The term ‘apostle,’ in its basic and fundamental meaning, is ‘one sent,’ or, ‘a sent one.’ This is preeminently true of the Lord Jesus Christ who was sent of God, ‘I am the living Bread,’ He said,’ which came down [was sent] out of heaven.’ John 6:58. This Living Bread come down from heaven, then sent others, ‘as the Father hath sent me, even so send I you.’ These ‘sent ones,’ sent by God, were granted gifts; gifts of healing, etc, and none more so than the Christ to whom the Father gave the Spirit without measure. Are there any besides Christ that have received the Spirit without measure; sadly, there are those making such a claim. Perhaps Simon Magus, who desired to buy the gift of the Holy Spirit with money, was a precursor of Benny Hinn, and his ilk.

Is there any intrinsic and necessary connection between physical healing and spiritual regeneration? Surely, when Isaiah spoke of healing, as he did in his 53rd chapter, he referred to spiritual healing or salvation from sin. When Isaiah declares that ‘with his stripes we are healed,’ he is speaking of healing from the wounds for our transgressions; the bruises for our iniquities, and the chastisement for our peace through justification before God through faith in Jesus Christ. David says, Ps. 30:1-3, God ‘hast healed me,’ but he refers to his soul being brought up from Sheol, and his not going down to the pit. It is manifestly a spiritual healing.

What is the case in the many healings performed by Christ? Have we any statement to the effect that these healings involved more than physical healing? While faith may be implicit in many of these healings, it is not explicit that it is faith toward Christ as anything other than a ‘healer.’ Yet these healings were such as pronounced signs and wonders that this was the Son of God; ‘If this man were not from God, he could do nothing,’ John 9:33. When the Christ acknowledged that ‘your faith hath made you whole,’ was that faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the World from sin, or as the healer of diseases and infirmities? Is it not to be feared there are those today doing ‘many mighty works by thy name;’ exorcists who do not differ from those seven sons of Sceva, ‘who took upon them to name over them that had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus,’ to whom it will be said in that great day, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?’ Acts 19.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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