13 March 2013

Luke 6:17-19

"Power came out from him and healed them all" (v. 19)


Today's passage marks the introduction to what has become known as 'the Sermon on the Plain' and what follows is a long section describing Jesus' teaching. However Luke's Gospel has already made it clear that Jesus' teaching ministry goes hand in hand with his healing ministry, hence the focus on healing before his teaching begins.

Not only has he already described the healing of Simon Peter's mother-in-law (Luke 4:38-39) but also that of a man with an unclean spirit (Luke 4:33-35), a man with leprosy (Luke 5:12-14), another who was bed-bound (Luke 5:18-25) and a man with a withered hand (Luke 6:6-10). At a time when there was little or no understanding about the illness and disease that affected many people, and with no health services as we understand them today, it is no surprise that Jesus' reputation as a healer spread quickly and attracted many people, with "a great multitude of people" from all over the country (v. 17) now both following him and "trying to touch him" in order that they too might be healed (v. 19).

The scene must have been chaotic and it is perhaps no coincidence that just before this reading Luke's Gospel tells us that Jesus had chosen 12 of his disciples to become apostles (Luke 6:13). As the crowds following Jesus get bigger, and as his reputation as a healer spreads more widely, Jesus would undoubtedly need some practical help in controlling the events that were occurring.

Jesus was clearly seen to be a man with a special power, which flowed from him to those around him. However unlike many powerful people who can become remote and separated from ordinary men and women, Jesus "came down to with them" (verse 17) and he met people at their level. Jesus stood alongside people in pain and suffering, and reached out to them in their distress, bringing a holistic healing that went much deeper than those in the crowd could possibly have imagined.

To Ponder

  • In what areas of your own life do you need healing? If you feel able to, talk to someone about this.
  • Jesus is often described as bringing healing to people whose illness created a barrier between them and full engagement in their society. What barriers need to be overcome in our society to bring healing to all?
  • Pray for those with a healing ministry.  

Bible notes author

Dr Richard Vautrey

Richard Vautrey is a local preacher and church steward in Leeds, and a former vice-president of the Methodist Conference. He works as a GP, is an elected member of both the BMA council and Royal College of GPs council as well as being the deputy chair of the BMA's GP committee.