The Role of Faith in Healing
When the Patient Is Without Faith or Unable to Express Faith
By E. Gene Rooney
18) "Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him.19) And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus. 20) When He saw their faith, He said to him, "Man, your sins are forgiven you." 21) And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" 22) But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, "Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23) Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Rise up and walk'? 24) But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins" -- He said to the man who was paralyzed, "I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." 25) Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. 26) And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, "We have seen strange things today!" Luke 5:18-26 (NKJV)
It is understood that this miracle, aside from assisting the paralytic, is included to show Jesus’ right to forgive sins. The miracles singled out for detailed reporting must have had more reason than some simply mentioned as (“healing the multitudes”) This and other miracles were written down to show readers that Jesus had this authority.
Here is a beautiful illustration of a physical problem being entirely cured by a new spiritual relationship. Nothing is said to the paralytic about his legs or to the unconscious part about walking. The curative factor is the forgiveness of sins.
Notice that Jesus never speaks to the blind or the dead about forgiveness of sins.
Here, the attitude of friends or bystanders seems to be the most important factor. The ramifications about society’s role in healing are staggering (no pun intended). “Jesus, seeing their faith” -- that is to say the patient’s friends faith.
The major unanswered question is how Jesus knew that it was sin that was troubling the boy. Of course, Jesus ay have known him. It could easily be that a mind like Jesus had telepathic powers. In fact, learning what we have recently about mental telepathy, it is hard to believe Jesus didn’t know what was in the boy’s mind. The phrase “He, knowing their thoughts…” describes the situation.
Most likely, the purity of Jesus’ spirit would know instantly when it (He) was in the presence of sin/evil.
It is not unusual in psychological work to find that a great sense of guilt causes paralysis – in bodies, minds, spirits and societies.
The mind can solve many problems by – unconsciously of course—eliminating the ability to run away. Many soldiers suffer from battlefield paralysis because the desire to run is so acute the unconscious provides the solution to “do as I stay and die or run away?” You can win sympathy by being ill. “You can’t punish me anymore, I’m already sick.”
We can safely assume, however, that the man had done or thought something and fear-produced by built – had followed. His mind, in a tremendous state of conflict, was draining him of energy. We well know that the mind can pass over it’s anguish to the body and thus ease the strain on itself. By producing a paralysis, the patient can avoid an immediate fear for his safety. Therefore, the paralysis gains for him sympathy and assistance for others, as well as maintaining a sense that I’m properly punished for my sins, at the same time. This is what is called conversion hysteria. (conversion as a psychiatric not a theological word). He has converted a mental state into a physical one.
With the typical Rabbi or Priest assuming that the paralysis is the will of God, no one would speak to the boy about forgiveness and with the guilt locked away from the conscious mind by converting it into a physical malady through the unconscious, the boy is now in a terrible state. He is locked away for recovery by the subtle workings of his own mind and the convoluted religious system that sees everything as God’s curse. Thereby, the boy’s state is beyond hope But Jesus broke up the prison by His authoritative pronouncement of forgiveness that in one fell-swoop reverses the religious judgment and bypass the self-condemnation.
Jesus could probably tell by the muscles tones hat the paralysis was not the result of broken bones or atrophied nerves. So He could tell that the unconscious was at work. He might not have know exactly what the specific sin was, but He knew self-condemnation was at work through the unconscious… so He knew sin was involved.
Now let’s move to the most important part of the story. The friends. There is a phrase “seeing their faith.” There has been a healing atmosphere built up by the crowd’s expectations, by Jesus’ love and kindness and by the boy’s friends’ faith. The “trustful expectancy” of a few true believers made Jesus’ healing power much greater in it’s potential – Matthew 17:20 warns of the dire consequences of unbelief. The disciples cannot heal an epileptic boy because of their unbelief – and He couldn’t heal in some towns. (Matt 13:58) because of communal unbelief.
We see a very few real healings in most religious settings in the West because we have a communal or cultural belief that no one can heal but the Doctor The Doctor doesn’t believe in his/her healing power (work with the spirit or the unconscious).
The Psychiatrist and Physician only believe in the efficacy of drugs and physical intervention so we’re blocked on every side and the victims are condemned by everyone’s unbelief.
The Scripture uses the term UN-belief which is a stronger word than “MIS” or “DIS” belief. MIS = mistaken. DIS = belief in the opposite direction (which can often be turned around). UN belief means a void or a vacuum of belief.
So, Jesus’ power to heal was enormously enhanced by the mindset and attitude of the crowd and the 4 friends.
In addition, when people attributed healing to Him, He would say: It is God who healed you through your faith.
Now, This is incredibly important – Throughout his life, Louis Pasteur carried on a running feud with some colleagues about where the power for bacteria/virus (illness) or cure (health) resided. Pasteur maintained it all related to the strength or lack of strength in the antigen. The opposing side said it all depended on the strength or lack of it that resided in the host – called the environment. On his deathbed, Pasteur is reported to have said: “Call and tell them that they were right.” It all related to the host’s environment or strength. Now, contrary to most people’s beliefs, Jesus seemed to be saying much the same thing.
Praise God’s grace.
It was through your friend’s faith
Disciples could do GREATER things.
This all adds up to the importance of our faith However, we should not take this so far that we wind up with a “blame the victim” mentality… that any lack of healing is the person’s fault. Nevertheless, it is well established that God wants us healed (Matt 8:1-8) His grace is sufficient, our faith is fundamental, we should never give up, and that healing is planted in the host to activate.
Now, the forgoing sets the stage for what has been called “absent healing.” It may be, perhaps, that the daughter of the Syro-Phonecian, the son of a widow at Nain, and the servant of the Centurion were all influenced at some deep level by the expectancy and faith kindled in the hearts of those dear to them when they sought Jesus for healing.
We do know that Jesus’ capacity for being the agent of healing was profoundly affected, both positively and negatively, but he atmosphere of expectancy, belief and faith.
Now, if you begin to factor in the ancient contention of some religions and the findings of modern physics that at some level all human (and perhaps other minds) are united, you being to see the power of the “faith-field.”
It could be that on that level the mind of Jesus made contact with the minds of the patients. This could render distance, or the presence of absence of the patient as irrelevant.
This does not mean that the healings in particular or miracles in general were “just mental telepathy.” But it cold be that the mechanism of like minds (where two or three agree) played in integral part in the conveying the power of spirit and energies of mind of Jesus to the deep minds of the patient.
One Western problem… we are so analytical we all suffer from analysis paralysis. The word “agree” to us, means at the cognitive level. The agreement here may mean at the unconscious or at the spiritual level of “knowing” not just mentally affirming.
This does not explain away such healing energy anymore than the discovery of wires carrying electrical current explains away the power source.
In all of the healings, the assumed factor, Christ’s love and power, are the given. The variable is the presence or absence of some psychic/spiritual conditions which Christ uses to effect the healing. His therapeutic presence is a given. The atmosphere created by the mental attitude of the patient or at least a few friends is the variable.
Professor C.H. Dodd of Cambridge states: “It appears that the authority of Jesus penetrated to the subconscious depths of personality where so many of the more mysterious disorders of the mind and body have their source."
E Gene Roooney
Jefferson City, MO
©1997-2006 E. Gene Rooney and Bobby G. Bodenhamer - All rights reserved.