At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee. – Mark 1:28
Over the past few days I’ve been reading Mark 1:21-2:12, which focus on Jesus’ healing ministry. This has called to mind a point made by Dick Lucas in relation to these chapters, in particular verses such as the following:
That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. (1:32,33)
But [the cured leper] went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter. (1:45)
So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them.
Now, one of Dick Lucas’ favourite targets is Morris Cerullo, who held a number of large “healing” events in London in the early 1990s. These were heavily advertised on billboards and on the radio, and Dick contrasted this with what we see in the early chapters of Mark:
You see, brothers, when healing really is happening, there’s no need to advertise it. The whole world will beat a path to your door without any need of advertising.
Nailed it. If we want to assess the claims of those churches where miraculous healings are supposedly taking place on a large scale each week, all it takes is a moment’s imagination – or a quick read of Mark 1 & 2 – to visualise what would happen if people really were getting incontrovertibly healed of real, physical (and mental) illnesses at these churches in the way that Jesus was healing people. It would lead every news bulletin in the world, traffic would be gridlocked, the army would need to be called out to protect the church buildings from the desperate crowds, the churches involved would need to move their ministry to the Glastonbury Festival site just to survive.
That’s not to say miraculous healings don’t happen today: it’s just that any claim for healings on the same scale and in the same manner as those seen in Jesus’ ministry, or any attempt to invoke John 14:12 (“greater works”) in relation to them, is demonstrably false.