Was Jesus Ever Sick?
by Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 1999
Read the accompanying Newsletter for June 1999
The title of this Doctrinal Report is plain enough and it is vitally important that we understand the answer. So essential is the proper answer to this question. It was one of the first queries in my initial theological quest that I began to ask myself. I also asked ministers of the Gospel for their answers. All of us should want to know (and we need to know) if Jesus was ever ill? Was he ever violently sick or perhaps mildly infirm for even a day in his life? The principal reason we ask such a question is because Jesus is defined in the New Testament as the very Son of God, the firstborn member of the Godhead (Colossians 1:15-22). So, can God get sick? Can a person without personal sin (such as Jesus) ever bear the consequences of sin that result in sicknesses and infirmities? Recall what the apostle Peter taught under divine inspiration. He wrote: "Who [Jesus] did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who [Jesus], when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self [Jesus] bare our sins in his own body on the tree [a real live tree, not some dead planks of cut timber], that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes [by the cuts and the wounds of Jesus] ye were healed" (I Peter 2:22-24).
There is also something else to consider. Not only should we ask "Was Jesus Ever Sick?" but we should also ask "Can True Christians Get Sick Because of Their Sins?" Why should we inquire of such a question? Because Peter said that because Christ bore our sins on the tree of crucifixion, that "ye were healed." It seems to say in this inspired word that if Christ suffered for us on the tree (and also dying for each of us) and that Jesus actually paid for the sins that made us sick, then none of us should ever get sick because of our sins. Yes, that is correct. That is the proper interpretation. Note that Peter said without equivocation to all Christians: "ye are healed"? True, that is what Peter dogmatically states. The simple truth is, biblical teaching shows the practicing of sin can bring on sicknesses, and the greater the sins the worse the sicknesses to which humans can be subject. Note what Christ taught after he miraculously healed a man of his malady: "Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more lest a worse thing come unto thee" (John 5:14). Yes, but this event happened BEFORE Christ bore our sins for us and died for us on the tree. The fact is, NOW that Christ Jesus has borne our sins and died for us, NONE OF US ever get sick any longer because of our sins (no matter how minor or major they are). Read my new book titled: "The Essentials of New Testament Doctrine" where I place all of the teaching of the Scriptures together in a format that can easily be understood. That book points out the biblical teaching that all Christians are now considered sinless in God’s eyes (I John 3:9). God no longer chastises us because of sins that we may commit (and recall, we are sinners – see I John 1:8). He does not use that kind of punishment upon us who are "in Christ." All of us are now healed from such sins (I Peter 2:24).
If this is the case, why do we yet get sick or have infirmities? I just recently had what some people call a "pinched nerve" that gave me severe pains down my right leg into my foot and toes. I could literally not walk except in agonizing pain. I was bedridden for two and a half months. I am now up and around by finding out the problem to my pain and by doing exercises to relieve it. True, God may have been chastising me for some reason (though I have no idea what it could have been), but I know one thing for certain, God was NOT punishing me for some sin or sins that I have been committing. God no longer brings on sickness and afflictions on His people because of their sins. After all, our sins have been taken away by the bearing of Christ of our sins (and those of the world) and because of this "ye are healed" of all sicknesses that were formerly given by God as a result of sins. But why did I become ill if it were NOT for some sin (or sins) that I have supposedly committed? The answer is simple if one will pay close attention to the Holy Scriptures. Note what the apostle Paul said in Romans 8:19-39.
"For the earnest expectation of the creature [that is, the creation, the physical Universe] waiteth for the manifestation of the Sons of God [for the time of our resurrections]. For the creature [again, the creation, the physical Universe] was made subject to vanity [Greek: debilitation, weakness and decay], not willingly [creation did NOT willingly desire to be in a decaying state], but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same [to weakness and decay] in hope, that the creation itself also shall be delivered from that bondage of corruption [of debilitation and decay] into the liberty of the glory of the Children of God [at our resurrections from the dead]. For we know that the whole creation [all the physical Universe] groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they [the physical Universe], BUT OURSELVES ALSO, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, EVEN WE GROAN WITHIN OURSELVES, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body…. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities [our sicknesses and weaknesses in the flesh]: for we know not what we should pray for: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us [that Spirit who intercedes in Romans 8:34 is identified as Christ] with groanings which cannot be uttered…. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his [God’s] purpose."
Listen, that sciatic nerve pain that I experienced for two and a half months was not God chastising me for a sin or sins that I have done, are doing, or will do. Since Christ bore our sins in His body during His life (John 1:29) and on the tree of crucifixion, the Father no longer reckons us as sinners and we are accounted to be completely righteous as is Christ because we are now reckoned to be "in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21). We have no sins on us or in us (that is, reckoned to us by God) so we do not get sick because of sins (any type of sin that we might commit). But why do we who are "the Firstfruits of the Spirit [Christ]" still get sick – and quite often and sometimes severely? It is simply because we are still fleshly in body. We have not yet inherited our spiritual body that we will obtain in the redemption [the resurrection]. We are no different than all other physical things in the Universe that God has made subject to debilitation, weakness and decay. Indeed, look at the animals. Cattle and horses cannot sin, but they get sick just like we humans do. Dogs and cats cannot sin in any way, but they also get sick. Look at the Flora World (all plants). They also can become plagued and even die, and they do not sin in the least. And so it is with us. God no longer allows us to get sick because of our various sins (of course, if you call eating a green apple and the consequent stomach ache a sin, then your designation of "sin" can cause discomfort).
The simple truth is, all sicknesses and infirmities that people now experience (even we who are the Firstfruits of the Spirit) are because we are a part of the physical Universe that has not yet been redeemed from its debilitation and decay. Now, you can overeat, undereat, not eat the right things, overwork, underwork, and get banged up in a football game and you (or I) can suffer for such actions. But God does not reckon that these are sins that bring on your sicknesses. Indeed, as far as those sins are concerned (as Peter said) "ye are healed" (I Peter 2:21-24). All our sicknesses now are a result of our weak body frames (being made of tenuous flesh) and they are subject to decay and ruin (and finally death, see Hebrews 9:27). True, God can show mercy and heal us of our afflictions, or He can let us continue to be ill, but we can rest assured that none of our infirmities is brought on us by God because of our sins or our evil ways. God has eliminated our sins in Christ. Read my book on the "Essentials."
As for Jesus and sickness, the question should be rephrased: "Was Jesus Ever Well?" Though Jesus was never a sinner, He was bearing our sins during His entire life on earth. This made Him continually sickly (read Isaiah 53:1-12). People were always saying to Him: "Physician, heal yourself" (Luke 4:23). For a full account of the sicknesses that plagued Jesus during His lifetime, read chapter 23 of my book "Secrets of Golgotha." Recall, Jesus was sickly not because of His sins, but because He was bearing our sins (and the world’s). So, sins are no longer a factor in Christian illnesses. "Ye are healed."
Ernest L. Martin
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