In a study of the people Jesus healed, I noted eleven different afflictions: demon/evil spirit possessed, paralytics, blind, fever, leprosy, dying, hemorrhage or bleeding, raised from the dead, seizures, bent over, deaf/mute. Though these have their specific stories, it doesn’t mean they were the only diseases or afflictions that Jesus healed. Thousands came to Him and He healed all that asked.
It may be that the woman bent over for 18 years is the one that captures my attention the most. Her story is told in Luke 13:10-13 and, depending on the Bible translation, she is described as bent double, hunched over, bowed together, twisted and bent. All translations agree that she could no longer stand straight. I have seen a few people like this and thought how terrible it would be to live bent over, how restricted one’s life would be because of it. Her story captures my attention because of the immediate parallel I see with mind state. With this woman’s physical condition I think of others who, though not bent over physically, are certainly bent over emotionally. They seem to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, as we are inclined to say. I remember a friend who lost her young son in a car accident. Her hair turned to gray overnight and she rarely smiled. Her sorrow had weighed her down and in my mind, I saw her as bent over from the loss of her beloved son. She was never quite the same.
Then I began to look at each of Jesus’ healings with new eyes. Those who could not see remind me of those who wander into wrong relationships. They don’t want to see the warning signs and so they close their eyes and involve themselves in situations that will cause eventual heartache. They are blinded by emotions.
Those with leprosy were outcasts. They were judged as unfit and shut off from society. Many of us have had times when we felt unwanted and shut out. We might not suffer from a terrible skin disease, but the isolation is just as painful in its own way.
The healing that Jesus did most by my search was that of the demon or evil possessed. They suffered in horrific ways. Chains wouldn’t hold them. Some were thrown into fire or water. Some tore off their clothes. Others fell to the ground in convulsions. These people lived lives out of control. And, of course, this makes me think of those who are addicted to alcohol, drugs, pornography, gambling, on and on. Addiction is one of the hardest things to bring under control. Because of the stronghold addiction has on an individual’s life, much is thrown into a kind of fire. Marriages, families, careers, health—all are destroyed by the demons of addiction.
In every healing of Jesus, I am reminded of something in the mind state. Some of us need physical healing and some of us need healing of the mind or emotions. Whatever our need, Jesus is able to heal. He is a God of compassion and He cares about our brokenness.
When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:14 (ESV)
“Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” –Matthew 11:28 (NLT)
My appreciation to Flickr for free photos.