In this chapter we are presented with three pictures of healing. The first is the demon- possessed man. The key to understand his healing, is the phrase, “they … saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind,” (vs. 15). Before, he had been a wild man, not able to live in society, preferring to live with the dead, and wailing and cutting on himself. But when he was delivered of the demons, he was calm and in his right mind. He experienced a healing of the mind.
Not all mental illness is caused by demon possession. But demon possession often manifests itself as a mental illness. This is because the weapon for destruction which Satan wields is lies (Joh 8:44, 10:10). Lies which are received and believed in the mind, cause torment. And torment drives a person to destructiveness. It is my belief that demon possession is still alive and well in our day and age, even in first world countries like the U.S. It often manifests itself as mental illness. (But go back and read the first sentence of this paragraph: not all mental illness is caused by demon possession.) Have you ever met a troubled teen who cuts on himself? What is causing his trouble? It is the lies which bring torment that he is being lied to, by an evil intelligent speaker (demon) who is speaking them to his mind.
Demons try to attack every believer, and every person, especially if some lie finds a place to dwell in someone’s heart. I believe that belief in the lie is the open door that lets that demon attach itself to that person. Once they gain entrance, they stay, unless they are specifically driven out by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
A person can receive the lie and the demon speaking that lie, and then later in life receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, and still be tormented by that lie and the demon speaking that lie, if that lie has not been demolished by belief in the truth that countermands it (Joh 8:32).
As far as whether the demon is within the person or without the person, merely oppressing him with lies, I don’t know all that. All I know is that torment is torment, whereever it is coming from, and as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have been empowered by the Holy Spirit within us, to cast out demons (Mar 16:17-18). They must bow their knee at the name of Jesus, and leave (Phi 2:9-11), just as the demons did when Jesus commanded them to depart from the man.
The second healing is the healing of the physical body of the woman with the issue of blood. Jesus makes it clear that it was her faith that healed her, yet the story tells of power which Jesus felt which went out from Him. I believe that our faith works like flipping a light switch to the “on” position, to activate the power that is always there. That is the mechanism the Scriptures describe.
What about those people who believe God for healing and they never get it? Didn’t they have faith? This question is the reason some people have decided that miracles passed away with the apostles or that faith is not the mechanism that activates the power of God. James says that God gives to all who ask liberally and without reproach, but let us ask in faith with no doubting, for he who doubts is double- minded, who will not receive anything from the Lord (Jam 1:5-8). There is a remedy for double- mindedness (Jam 4:8)! But denying that this is our problem because it puts the reason we have not received on us, instead of on God, is not it!
I believe that the vast majority of the time, faith is the issue if we have not received from God, but there are others. Sometimes illness is a consequence of our choices, thus we might not be unwell if we had believed God’s Word from the beginning and obeyed it (for example, gout often manifests after eating shellfish, something God told us not to eat). Sometimes it is so that God can show forth His glory at the right time (Joh 9:1-5), and sometimes, God allows us affliction in this life for wisdom He alone knows (Job, 2 Cor 12:7-10). If we ask God to show us why we have not received the healing we are praying for, He will! He will show us the honest reason, if we are willing to hear it. But we can rest assured that all that He does and does not do, He does because He loves us perfectly and knows what is best for us.
The third healing is, I believe, a spiritual healing, because the body of the little girl was dead and her spirit was departed. When Jesus raised the little girl to life, He had to do more than just heal her physical body, because death had already come. He had to swallow up death with life, which is what happens to us when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior and our spirits are reborn! He had to recall her spirit from Sheol!
There is so much more that we could say about these healings, but suffice it for now that Jesus has the ability to heal every part of our person, spirit, soul (mind) and body, and not only the ability, but the desire to do so! Thank you Lord!