Healing: Then and Now

By Mark D. Roberts

August 6, 2023

Scripture — Isaiah 35:5-6 (NRSV)

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf shall be opened;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness
    and streams in the desert . . .


Isaiah 35 envisions a time when God’s healing will touch all people and all things. Jesus began to fulfill this vision through his ministry of healing, which demonstrated the presence and power of the kingdom of God. If we live as citizens of God’s kingdom, healing is possible, though incompletely in this age. We long for the pervasive and perfect healing that is yet to come.


The book of Isaiah is not an easy one. Much of this book reveals God’s judgment of sin, even God’s righteous vengeance, as we saw in Isaiah 34.

But then we come to chapter 35, which can feel like an oasis in the desert. In this chapter, we glimpse a vision of the future, a time beyond judgment when God will restore creation. Part of this restoration includes healing: blind eyes opened, deaf ears unplugged, the lame leaping, once voiceless people singing. Isaiah 35 inspires Israel to hope for the day of God’s salvation when all things will be renewed.

This hope in Isaiah helps us understand the ministry of Jesus. He healed people, not only as an expression of love but also as a sign that the kingdom of God had dawned. In fact, when John the Baptist questioned Jesus’s messianic credentials, Jesus sent the following message back to John: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them” (Luke 7:22). In other words, Jesus was explaining that he was the one through whom God was fulfilling Israel’s hope once proclaimed by the prophet Isaiah.

In Jesus, the kingdom of God had indeed come near. And it is still near today for those of us who put our trust in the Lord. Thus, healing is possible in today’s world, not only for individual diseases and disabilities, but for social ills as well. We who know the Lord have begun to experience the healing Jesus offers. Moreover, we become, by his power, wounded healers for others.

Yet, like those who first heard the prophecy of Isaiah 35, we yearn for the complete healing that has yet to come, for all things, including ourselves. We live in the “already and not yet” of the kingdom. It’s already here, thanks be to God! And it is still yet to come in all fullness.


Have you experienced God’s healing in your life? How?

Do you yearn for the fullness of healing yet to come? In what ways?

How could you be an agent of God’s healing in your part of the world? In your family? In your workplace? In your neighborhood? And beyond?


Talk with a wise friend or your small group about how you have experienced God’s healing.


Gracious God, for all the ways I have experienced your healing I give you thanks. I can’t even imagine what I’d be like apart from the outpouring of your grace in my life. You have healed me, not only physically, but also emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. All praise be to you, my Healer!

Help me to be an agent of your healing in this world. I have no power to do this on my own. But your power through me can do wonderful things. Give me faith, Lord, as I pray for the sick. Give me compassion as I reach out to those who are broken. Give me wisdom as I seek to mend broken systems. May I be used for the work of your kingdom today, even as I look forward to the full coming of your kingdom in the future. Amen.

Banner image by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the High Calling archive, hosted by the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Drinking Living Water.

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Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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