Unhealed Healers

Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Matthew 10:1-4

In the popular television series, The Chosen, they often tackle some difficult issues in the life of Jesus and His disciples. One such issue is the question of why some people get miraculously healed and others do not. They tackle this issue in Season 3, Episode 2 by having James son of Alphaeus (or “Little James” as he’s called on the show) ask Jesus why Jesus hasn’t healed him. Little James walks with a limp and deals with “a kind of paralysis” on the show, yet, Jesus still chose to send Little James out to do ministry where James is used by God to bring healing to others. (You can watch this poignant scene here.)

This scene is particularly powerful because the actor who plays Little James, Jordan Walker Ross, isn’t acting when he walks with a limp. He was born with cerebral palsy and scoliosis. The struggles and questions of the character Little James were similar to Ross’s own real life struggles and questions.

Whether you agree with the particular answers Jesus gives in the scene or the particular theology of healing that the show portrays, it still raises and important question.

Why would Jesus use a person to heal others while not healing the person He’s using?

This question hit home with me as I listened to Ross being interviewed about this scene. He was very honest about his struggles with not being healed and the insecurities that he has battled. (You can watch that interview here.)

I had just finished a lunch meeting with someone and was sitting in my car, outside of Panera, watching the interview on my phone. And before I had a chance to even ask the Lord why He chooses to heal through people whom He hasn’t yet healed, the Lord answered the question. Maybe my spirit asked the question before my brain could catch up, and God decided to answer my spirit before my brain knew what was happening.

So, as I sat there in my car, the Lord brought to mind my own prayers about myself, that God would change certain parts of me to look more like Jesus. I had just prayed those prayers that morning. And as the Lord brought those prayers to mind, suddenly I knew what God was telling me.

“I only heal through people who are still unhealed.”

God was reminding me that He has healed people through me, and yet there are parts of my life that are still unhealed. The parts of my life that are unhealed are not as obvious as Ross’s or Little James, but they are still there. There are parts of my character, my heart, my thinking, and more that are yet to be fully healed. In fact, I will never be “fully healed” in totality this side of heaven. No one will.

So, yes, God will heal through people who are still unhealed because that is all of us. That is all He has to work with. The only One who walked this earth who was completely healed and whole was Jesus Himself. So, now, whenever Jesus heals someone through the prayers of another person or through the laying on of hands of another person, He is healing through someone still unhealed in some way. That’s all He has to work with.

Sometimes our “unhealed” parts are physical. Sometimes they are emotional or spiritual. Sometimes they have to do with parts of our personality or character. Sometimes it has to do with the condition of our heart or mind. All of us walk this earth partially healed and partially not. In Christ, we have been made new creations, yet that new creation is still working its way through us toward fullness.

We are already new creations in Christ, and we are not yet living in the fullness of it all.

Jesus healing others through people who themselves are not yet physically healed is a prophetic sign to us all. It’s a mirror showing us the reality of our own lives. It’s both a celebration of the grace of God who is willing to dwell in and use imperfect vessels of clay, and it is a humbling reminder of our own unhealed, unwhole parts yet to be brought into their fullness.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

2 Corinthians 4:6-10