Jehovah-Rapha (Acts 9:32-35)

And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose.” (Acts 9:34, ESV)

Years ago, while serving as an elder in a small church. A young couple brought their infant child to me and asked for prayer. The child was a bit cranky and they asked for me to pray for the child to be healed from some sort of ailment. So, I did exactly that. I called upon the Lord to bring a healing touch on the child. I did not expect an immediate healing, but the couple claimed the child was immediately healed.

It behooves us to have a proper perspective on physical healings. First, we need to understand that the commission given to the apostles was to “make disciples,” and to do this by proclaiming the gospel message. Yes, physical healings are recorded in the book of Acts. However, the book of Acts covers about 30-years of church history and in that time, we see less than ten specifically recorded instances of physical healings. While there were possibly more that were not recorded, the emphasis of the record is the advancement of the gospel through the ministry of the Holy Spirit by the proclamation of the gospel.

Second, we must understand physical healing from the divine side. Here, Peter was in the city of Lydda, northwest of Jerusalem. He encountered a man named Aeneas who was paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. Peter tells him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” Aeneas is immediately healed. This statement is key in understanding healing for Peter ascribes the healing to Jesus alone. In the Old Testament, the Scripture presents a title of Jehovah Rapha, the Lord God who is healer (Exod 15:26). Peter in the healing of Aeneas stated “Jesus Christ heals,” meaning that he recognized the source of healing as Jesus. It is imperative that we come to this realization. Just as Jesus saves us from sin, He also is our great physician who heals us.

Third, we also must realize that all physical healing is in accordance with God’s sovereignty. In this sense, the Lord God in His eternal sovereign program is the determiner of the healings that people experience and the means by which they are executed. The Psalmist gives us these words regarding God’s sovereignty. “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16, ESV). God has determined the affairs of our lives and this includes our healings and our part in the healings of others.

Therefore, as we look at healings in the Bible and in the present, we must conclude the following. God is the determiner of all healing and Jesus is the Lord God who heals us. In His sovereign plan, He has often chosen to use human participants in healing. However, all healing is from Him and for His most glorious purposes. Thus, we are to trust Him in our physical healing and realize that He will use a variety of means in it.

Sometimes men will attribute physical healing to a miraculous work where we see no medical intervention. Yet, on other occasions, men will see it as less than miraculous because medical technology seemed to make the difference. Moreover, men will often say, that it was just a common cold or a misdiagnosed illness. It seems best to view it this way. It is a miracle that any of us even have breath to sustain our lives anyway, and all healing is a work of God’s providence in accordance with His sovereign program. He is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord god who heals us.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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