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Gifts and signs

Nearly one fifth of the text of the Gospels deals with Jesus' healing ministry and the discussion caused by it. The evangelists recorded that he healed on forty - one occasions, of which thirty - three refer the physical infirmities. There were healings of individual groups, and there were healings in crowds. The deaf, the mute, blind and paralysed came to Him for healing; so did those with leprosy, fevers and haemorrhages. Some were delivered from evil spirits. He restored the ear of the servant Malchus after Peter had sliced it off with a sword. And most miraculously of all he raised three from the dead. Jesus did not exercise His healing ministry as a means of drawing attention to Himself. He rejected the temptation to use His miraculous powers as a spectacle when satan put it to Him in the wilderness.
Luke4:8-12 >And Jesus answered and said to Him, "Get behind Me, satan! For it is written, ''You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve" 9.Then He brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here. 10."For it is written; 'He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,' 11.''and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.' 12.And Jesus answered and said to Him, "It has been said, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God."
His healings usually followed His preaching of the Gospel, and He often urged those He healed privately to keep the news to themselves. He refused to use His healing ministry as a means of satisfying others' curiosity. [Mark8:11-13], and those who He cured He pointed towards His heavenly Father rather than to Himself. Yet the healings revealed Him as the Messiah-Saviour for whom Israel had hoped. In His sermon in the synagogue at Nazareth He chose as His scripture reading one of the great Messianic passages of Isaiah [61:1-2]. The passage originated in an oracular declaration that after the Babylonian exile the people of Israel would once again be free to return to Jerusalem and celebrate the year of Jubilee. [Lev25:10]. According to the Law of Moses, this was a year for the release of outstanding debts and certain social
obligations, but by the time of Christ it was interpreted as a prophecy of the Messianic age. In appealing to this text, Jesus was making the prodigious claim that He came as the Anointed one of God and that His Messiahship would be manifested, among other things, in the healings which He performed through the Holy Spirit. He referred to the prophecy again when John the Baptist sent disciples to enquire if He was the One who was to come [Luke7:2-21]. The demons whom Jesus exorcised recognised Him "I know who You are-The Holy One of God! Shrieked the evil spirit which possessed the man in the synagogue at Capernaum" [Luke4:34]. "You are the Son of God! Shouted the demon among the crowds" [luke4:41] With their supernatural insight they penetrated the true explanation of Christ's extraordinary authority. They saw that Jesus
was the Messiah and that He had come to set up God's Kingdom, which meant the end of their dominion. The disciples, too, realised that in Christ they walked with One who was closer to God than anyone they had ever known. Peter was the first to confess His belief that Jesus was the Messiah [Mark8:29]. After the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, the apostles and their immediate successors struggled to express the unheard of claim, which they themselves would once have regarded as blasphemous had they not met Jesus, that God had indeed visited and redeemed His people. After the healing ministry of Christ was a dramatic manifestation of this truth. He spread healing around wherever He went because God was in Him, recreating what He had made, making women and men who came to Him new people


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