The Day When Jesus Heals Everyone

Photo by *Arielle*

In September 2014 I had a sudden cardiac arrest in a Canadian Tire parking lot. No cause was ever found, but God provided immediate care and I lived through the experience with minimal damage, though I am told I was technically dead for twelve minutes.

The hospital where I recovered, Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital in Windsor, is a merger of two older institutions: Hotel-Dieu, founded by Roman Catholics, and Grace Hospital, founded by the Salvation Army. Although it’s government run now, the signs of faith are still everywhere in this hospital and infuse the atmosphere.

On the wall in the lobby is a two-story mural of a tree, with the words “The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2).

Viewable from a broad window in one of the halls is a garden with another mural: this one a long piece of sculpture, three granite slabs with carved depictions of every healing Jesus performed in the gospels. On those stones, the blind see and the lame leap; paralytics dance and the withered are made whole.

This is how we as the world remember Jesus: as one who healed. Instinctively we know this was more than just a sign of his legitimacy: it was a revelation of his character, a signpost of his purpose and desire for the world.

Matthew 4 describes the very beginning of Jesus’s ministry:

Jesus was going all over Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. Then the news about Him spread throughout Syria. So they brought to Him all those who were afflicted, those suffering from various diseases and intense pains, the demon-possessed, the epileptics [or “lunatics” or “insane”; literally “moon-struck”], and the paralytics. And He healed them. (Matthew 4:23-34)

For me this passage simultaneously offers hope and raises questions.

It’s so significant to our whole conception of God that this is our first real glimpse of the incarnation in action: in human flesh, God heals everyone who comes to him.


The story of humanity as the Bible tells it is the story of a beautiful vision marred and broken by a failure of trust and relationship. In the garden of Eden, a perfect world was destroyed by the willingness of Man to stab God in the back. That brokenness affected all of creation in ways we don’t fully understand, both physically and spiritually.

Our brokenness is summed up in the twins of sin and death. We miss the mark, and everything dies. That is the curse of our world.

In Matthew’s account, “all who were afflicted and suffering” came to Jesus. There are many kinds of affliction and suffering in the world that are not mentioned here, but the kinds that ARE mentioned function as bookends, framing all the brokenness of creation and human life. At the far physical end, those suffering from disease came to him. At the far spiritual end, the demon-possessed came.

All the rest of our pain lies between those bookends: a combination of physical and spiritual factors that make up the totality of our lives.

I’m struck by Matthew’s pointing out that those who were healed could not even come themselves. These were people so struck down by their afflictions that they had to be brought. He doesn’t say who brought them; just that news of what Jesus was doing spread, and the people were brought.

And he healed them.


One of the details that moves me most in this account is that Jesus healed everyone who came to him. This is stated elsewhere in the gospels as well: when people came, when they were brought, Jesus did not turn them away without giving them what they were looking for.

He was a generous healer, a no-strings-attached physician. He did not require them to respond to his message first or to follow him afterward. If they had faith enough to come, he healed them.

In a world where it often feels like there isn’t enough of what we need to go around, I am profoundly moved by this. They didn’t have to earn healing; they didn’t have to qualify. They just had to come. Jesus’s power and will to heal were abundant.


Healing was part of Jesus’s mission from the beginning, and in the end his whole enterprise will be seen as one of healing–not just individuals but the cosmos, the whole world.

When John the Baptist questioned whether Jesus was the prophesied messiah, Jesus sent back his resume:

“Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind see, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news.” (Matthew 11:4-5)

What Jesus did locally in Galilee, for a relative handful of people, is intended to eventually release the entire world from the curse of death:

For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it—in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children. (Romans 8:19-21)


Jesus still heals today. That’s not just a doctrinal stance on my part; it’s a fact. (If you’re interested in a scholarly treatment of the topic, check out Miracles by Craig S. Keener. It’s a two-volume, 1248-page discussion of the topic.) I have personally witnessed divine healing and know many people who have experienced it.

The heart and power of God to heal our brokenness–ALL forms of brokenness–remains.

At the same time, I know many people who have prayed for healing and not received it. The New Testament indicates that this was the case for the early church as well: while healings and miracles did continue into the apostolic era, we get glimpses in Paul’s letters especially that universal healing wasn’t expected, and some Christians (including probably Paul himself) suffered from illness and physical ailments that were not miraculously healed.

Some today place all the “blame” for this at the door of those who are sick or those who are praying: somebody doesn’t have enough faith. But given the testimony of the New Testament, I don’t think that’s a right view.

I don’t have all the answers as to why some are healed and some are not, but I believe in the heart of the God-Man seen in Matthew, and I know that his mission is to heal all our brokenness, completely and forever, in the end.

Everyone and everything dies, and that is the curse of our world. The consummation of Jesus’s mission is the resurrection, when those who are in Christ will be physically resurrected, never to die again.

Healings now are like bursts of that future resurrection coming into the present: down payments in a sense, or foretastes, of the day the curse is entirely halted and creation is set fully free. In this cosmic and eternal sense, ALL who come to Jesus for healing will be healed, as they were in Galilee.

But this time corruption will never get the better of them again.

The mural in the lobby at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital looks forward to that day:

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life … and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2, KJV)

(This is Part 18 in a series on the Gospel of Matthew, which you can access here. Unless otherwise marked, quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)



, ,




2 responses to “The Day When Jesus Heals Everyone”

  1. Elizabeth Postma Avatar
    Elizabeth Postma

    Thank you for your insights and for sharing your personal experience. I too am “wowed” by the beautiful simplicity of our just needing to “come”. We receive so much from Him, none of it deserved. I am encouraged and inspired by your writings; keep them coming.

    1. Rachel Avatar

      Thank you, Elizabeth! I’m glad you’re reading :).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *