Many Christians view the call to follow Jesus as some sort of out-of-body, other-worldly affair that shouldn’t occupy itself with this-worldly concerns. The Christian life is largely arranged around the concept of escape – we will one day leave this world for good, go to heaven when we die, and forever live in some kind of angel-like existence. Those […]
Our experience of God should always have a role to play in our attempts to better understand God and God’s activity in the world. Experience can help us determine the validity of a certain theological idea about God when we put that idea to the test in the real world of everyday life. If it seems to work with […]
I recently completed reading through the Psalms and noticed two themes in particular that came up over and over again. Both of which I really didn’t anticipate seeing in this context, but were found throughout. While I won’t take the time to list every passage within each category, I thought I would share a few […]
Sometimes, in order to learn about something, we have to (un)learn all of the things we thought we knew about that something first. In our pursuit of Jesus, sometimes we have to (un)learn what we thought we knew about Jesus, in order to (re)learn about the real Jesus that lay behind our presuppositions, prejudices and […]
The most common questions about God in contemporary society center less on whether or not God exists and more on what kind of God exists. And, by way of extension, what kind of world did God chose to create? This question forms the basis of director George Nolfi’s film, The Adjustment Bureau. The storyline of […]
My theological journey has less to do with changes made to specific theological categories, though many such changes have occurred, and more to do with the posture, mood and style in which I engage in the theological task. In the past, my approach to theology and biblical studies could have been characterized as a strict, […]
Healing, Miracles and the Launching of the Kingdom of God in Jesus
Matthew makes it clear that Jesus’ ministry centered on proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and the demonstration of that kingdom through the healing of various diseases (Matthew 4:23). We see an immediate connection between the in-breaking of the kingdom of God in the person of Jesus with the proclamation of the good news and healing.
Ron Kydd concurs that, “In Jesus, God was launching a revolution aimed at the total transformation of human experience,” and healings were a part of the program. (1)
Through healing, Jesus gave his audience a glimpse of what the fullness of the kingdom of God will look like. They were signs, or pointers, to the future kingdom finding expression in the here and now. “The exercise of this power was evidence that the longed-for kingdom of God had already come upon his hearers.” (2)
God’s will for the earth was breaking into the world through Jesus. The kingdom had been inaugurated and healings were a sign of its arrival. Yet, while the time of ultimate fulfillment lay in the future, when everyone will experience the fullness of the kingdom, God’s reign was now being seen in its early stages.
In this light, the miraculous takes on a whole new meaning. It is something that should be anticipated, even today, as evidence of the in-breaking of the kingdom of God.
However, as a partial in-breaking, the reality is that not everyone, in every situation, will experience its effects. Signs are often sporadic in nature; incomplete pictures that point us toward the future, when the fullness of God’s kingdom will be realized. In that day, God’s reign will be made complete and the world, along with everyone in it, will be made whole (Rev. 21).
1. Ron Kydd. Healing Through the Centuries: Models for Understanding. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1998. 3.
2. James D.G. Dunn. Jesus and the Spirit. London: SCM, 1975. 47.
The most important question we will ever ask.