Kingdom of God
in 13 Weeks
Power over Disease. Is Sickness A Work of Satan?: Week 11
Observing the Stuff!
The words disease and suffering in the following passages do not communicate the force of the original language.
The original word is martix, which is defined as a whip or a lash. It is the same word which is translated as scourging in Acts 22.24 and Hebrews 11.36. It appears that whip is closer to the meaning in these passages. The idea is that sickness can be viewed as being whipped by the enemy.
The whips, scourges, and lashes inflicted by the evil one were ordinary diseases which the Western mindset often accepts as ordinary experiences-fevers, cancers, and heart problems-Jesus considered the result of satanic oppression. Satan uses a spiritual whip to inflict pain on humans.
Sickness is not a part of the plan of God for his creation.
Satan rules his captured realm by causing suffering and agony in the world.
Jesus came to take the whip off the backs of those enslaved by Satan
The Crippled Woman:
We who are living with a Western mindset often see crippling diseases as the will of God in a person's life; or that we will understand it better when we get to heaven. Western theology does not make room for satanic intervention in illness. This was not so with Jesus. On many occasions he looked at a sick person and called his or her infirmity the work of the devil, not the will of God (Luke 13.11-16). This passage is loaded with profound theological significance. One might note that the woman had a spirit of infirmity. The doctor confirmed the idea that illness can be inflicted by a supernatural force. Luke equated this spirit of infirmity with Satan, the one who stood behind the twisting and binding.
Jesus attacked the demonic host when he healed this sick woman (Luke 13.13). Edward Langton believes that special demons came to be associated with particular forms of disease or sickness. Certain diseases were held to be caused by particular demons (Essentials of Demonology).
The Demonized Boy:
Are You the One?
Later, when John was in prison, he sent word to Jesus asking for assurance that Jesus was indeed the one to bring the Kingdom. Jesus replied to John by first performing a healing and then sending his disciples back with this word, "Go tell John what you have seen and heard" (John 7.22). Jesus summarized his ministry by talking about what had been seen, his works, and what had been heard, his words.
He told John that the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news preached to them. What good news? Satan's power was being broken by the ministry of Jesus. How do the poor know this message? The blind were being healed. The lame began to walk. The lepers were made clean. The deaf could hear. The dead were alive. The Kingdom/Rule of God was invading the kingdom of Satan.
The View from Today!
Take Two Aspirin and Call Me Tomorrow
It is not the point of this discussion to disdain medical technology or the medical practice of doctors. Every time we have a throbbing toothache we should not automatically cry that Satan is stabbing us in our molars. We can acknowledge the value of modern medicine and still have a biblical belief and practice which understands that Satan can be the cause of physical suffering.
Have we become so profound because we can isolate a death-dealing virus and give it a Greek or Latin name? A virus that destroys children, wipes away our hopes, and ravages our loved ones? There is an element of mysterious and malignant evil in sickness. When Jesus encountered it, he did not philosophize about it; he did not do a psychological study on it; he did not theologize about it; and he did not explain it in medical terms. He simply healed the disease. Oh, to be like Jesus!
Doin' the Stuff!
BibleHandbook: Resource Stuff
Read the following Dictionary Articles from Easton's Bible Dictionary. Easton's is about a century old, therefore, some of the information is not current with newer Bible Dictionaries. You might read the articles off-line in a number of different Bible Dictionaries. If you do not own a Bible Dictionary, I would recommend New Bible Dictionary 3rd Edition. If you like lots of color pictures, try Revell Bible Dictionary. One of these should suit your personal needs.