In the last chapter, we began studying God’s great mercy. We read several New Testament examples of how Jesus displayed mercy during His ministry on the earth. In this chapter, we are going to show that God’s mercy hasn’t been modified since Jesus’ ascension but rather is still being manifested in Jesus’ present-day ministry as our faithful High Priest.
The first text I want to look at is John 16:7.
7 Nevertheless I [Jesus] tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
The word “expedient” in this verse means profitable. So in other words, Jesus told His disciples, “It’s profitable for you that I go away.” That means Jesus thought it was a good thing that He go to Heaven and the Holy Ghost or Comforter be given unto man. In his book Christ the Healer, F. F. Bosworth points out that Jesus’ going away could not be profitable (and thus Jesus’ statement proved untrue) “if His going away would withdraw, or even modify, the manifestation of His compassion in healing the sick.”1
Brother Bosworth went on to say, “Every man who teaches that healing is not for all who need it today, as it was in the past, is virtually teaching that Christ’s compassion toward the sick has been at least modified since His exaltation. Worse yet, others teach that [Jesus’] compassion in healing the sick has been entirely withdrawn. To me, it is a mystery how any minister can take a position that veils and interferes with the manifestation of the greatest attribute of deity, God’s compassion which is Divine Love in action.”2
Jesus Is the Same Yesterday, Today, and
Why would Jesus be any less compassionate in His present-day ministry as our faithful High Priest than He was in His earthly ministry? Jesus is the same now as He was when He was on the earth. He never changes. He’s the same now as He was back then. So if He was gracious then, He’s gracious now. If He was full of compassion then, He’s full of compassion now. If He was merciful then, He’s merciful now.
17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a MERCIFUL and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
The same Greek word translated “merciful” in this verse is also translated “compassionate” in other passages. We’ve already brought out the fact that both the words “merciful” and “compassionate” can be used interchangeably. Therefore, the Greek adjective translated “merciful” in Hebrews 4:17 could also be translated “compassionate.” Both of these words accurately describe Jesus our High Priest.
Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus our High Priest understands what we’re going through and has compassion on us.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be TOUCHED with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
We know that this verse refers to the compassion of Jesus because the same Greek word translated “touched” here in verse 15 is translated “have compassion” in Hebrews 10:34, which says, “For ye had COMPASSION of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.” You see, Jesus is touched with, or has compassion for, the feeling of our infirmities. He’s no less compassionate now than He was two thousand years ago.
So if Jesus is the same today as He was yesterday—if He is the same now as our exalted High Priest sitting at the right hand of the Father as He was when He walked the shores of Galilee— then He is full of just as much compassion now as He was then. That means Jesus is full of just as much compassion and mercy today as He was in Matthew chapter 20 when He departed from Jericho and two blind men cried unto Him, “Have mercy on us, thou Son of David.” He stopped and asked them, “What will you that I do unto you?” They said, “That we might receive our sight.” And Jesus had compassion, or mercy, on them and healed them (Matt. 20:29-34).
If Jesus is the same now as He was then, then He’s still full of compassion. And the Bible tells us that He is the same now as He was when He was on the earth (Heb. 13:8). When you can get people to see that, getting them healed is no problem at all.
The Lord Wants You Healed
Very often I tell people who want healing that the Lord wants to heal them even more than they want to be healed. Most of them look at me in astonishment
when I say that. I tell them, “He wants you to be well more than you want to be well. He yearns to heal you.”
I have asked individual people, “Do you believe in divine healing?”
And I’ve had born-again, Spirit-filled people answer, “Oh, yes. My church believes in divine healing.”
I tell them, “Just because your church believes in divine healing doesn’t mean you’re going to get healed.”
So they reply, “Yes, sir. I believe in divine healing.”
But then when I tell them that God wants to heal them even more than they want to be healed, some of them, without even thinking, blurt out, “Oh, I wish I could believe that.”
People who are wishing that they could believe that the Lord wants to heal them, don’t really know that the Lord wants to heal them. Well, how can I get them to see that God does want to heal them? There is only one way, and that is to just keep giving them the Word of God.
During the many years I’ve been in ministry, I’ve had to give people the Word of God again and again. Some people I prayed for told me to leave them alone. I just said, “No, I’m not going to leave you alone,” and then I’d hold them against the Word. In other words, I kept telling them what God’s Word says about healing, and after a while, it registered in their hearts.
Compassion in Jesus’ Present-Day Ministry
Because of the Lord’s compassion and mercy, He wants to heal you. Just because Jesus has been exalted doesn’t mean He’s lost or modified His mercy. The Bible doesn’t teach that His mercy has been done away with or modified. Rather, the Bible teaches that God’s mercy has been increased. John 14:12 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and GREATER WORKS than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”
Acts chapter 5 gives us an example of Jesus’ compassion being displayed in His present-day ministry. It’s another wonderful proof of Christ’s compassion toward the sick and another proof that He is the same now as He was when He was on the earth.
15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.
16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.
Many Christians miss it here because they say, “Well, yes, that happened, but Peter did that.” No, Peter didn’t heal those people. And Peter’s shadow didn’t heal them either. It was Jesus, full of compassion, who healed them. Sometimes, our thinking is so limited that we get our eyes on people. Remember Jesus is the Head of the Church (Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18), and He is the Healer!
God Wrought Special Miracles
In Acts chapter 19, we find an example of the Lord’s compassion being displayed in the ministry of the Apostle Paul.
11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
Who healed the sick in this passage? Was it Paul? No, it doesn’t say, “Paul wrought special miracles by the hands of God.” Verse 11 says, “. . . GOD wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul.” It was God who healed the sick. If we’re not careful, we can get our eyes on man and think that man works the miracles.
Someone might say, “The handkerchiefs are what caused the miracle.”
No, the handkerchiefs themselves didn’t work the miracle. If that were the case, then any handkerchief could do it. No, God has to be involved.
Likewise, if it was just Peter’s shadow in and of itself that healed the people, then years later, people would have still been getting healed by being in his shadow. But we don’t see that happening. It was God who healed the people! He simply chose to do it through Peter’s shadow. The Lord wanted to help the people so badly that He wrought special miracles as a display of His compassion and mercy.
The Lord’s Compassion Is Manifested
In Acts chapter 28, we find the Lord’s compassion manifested again through
Paul in the healing of all the people on the island of Melita.
8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.
9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed.
Publius’ father was healed after Paul laid hands on him, but it wasn’t Paul who healed him. It was God. The man wasn’t healed because Paul was a mighty apostle or because of any human ingenuity from a natural standpoint. Paul didn’t minister to those people just as Paul the man or the apostle. He ministered to them empowered by the Holy Ghost and directed by the Lord Jesus Christ—the Head of the Church.
Notice that Paul entered in, prayed, and laid his hands on the sick man, and the man was healed. Why did Paul pray and lay hands on the man? Do you think he just thought that up himself? No. Remember what Jesus, the Head of the Church, said: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name . . . they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17,18).
The Lord is still healing through His Name and through His followers. Are you going to do the greater works Jesus spoke of in John 14:12 because of your natural abilities? No, you will do the greater works because of Jesus and because He went unto His Father.
God Has More Than One Tender Mercy
We studied Psalm 145:8 and 9 in the previous chapter, and I want to look at it again in depth. In the light of all that we’ve studied, I think these verses will take on new meaning or will become more meaningful to you.
8 The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
9 The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
Think about that last phrase for a moment: “His tender mercies are over all His works.” Were His tender mercies over His works of healing the sick? Yes, they were! The Bible tells us that Jesus was “moved with compassion” for the leper and healed him (Mark 1:40-42). We also read in the Bible that when Jesus saw the multitudes, He had compassion on them and healed their sick (Matt.
14:13,14). We know that “mercy” is another word for “compassion.” His tender mercies are over all His works!
It is time to start believing in the Lord’s mercy of healing. You probably don’t have any problem at all believing in God’s mercy of forgiveness because you’ve heard the message of forgiveness preached all your life. And you probably don’t have any problem at all believing in God’s mercy toward the sinner. If a sinner came to the altar and you were praying with him and he said, “Well, I don’t
know whether the Lord will save me or not,” you’d be quick to tell him that the Lord would certainly forgive him. You might give him scripture after scripture about the Lord’s mercy.
But, you see, that’s as far as our thinking goes. We need to expand our thinking. We need to think God’s thoughts after Him. How are you going to think God’s thoughts? Think in line with what the Word says.
Someone may ask, “Is the mercy of healing available to me?” Well, is God’s mercy of forgiveness available to the sinner? Yes, thank God. Is His mercy of forgiveness available to the Christian who has sinned or failed? Yes, thank God. But God’s mercy doesn’t stop there; His tender mercies are over all His works.
Well, we can thank God for the remission of sins and the New Birth. But that’s not all His works. Notice again that Psalm 145:9 says “tender mercies,” which is plural. The word “mercy” in this verse has to be plural because the verse says that God’s mercies are over all His “works” which is plural. God’s works are plural, and His mercies are plural.
Where does His mercy reach us? It reaches us in the spiritual realm, and it also reaches us in the natural realm. And, thank God, it reaches us in the financial and material realm. Because of God’s mercies, not because of justice or because we deserved anything, we are blessed in every area of our lives.
The Lord Is Good to All!
Let’s read Psalm 145:8 and 9 again and study it phrase by phrase.
8 The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
9 The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
Psalm 145:8 says that the Lord is gracious and full of compassion. When I think of something being full, I automatically think about a glass being full of water. When a glass is full of water, then there isn’t room for anything else. Well, the Lord is full of compassion!
Verse 8 also says that the Lord is slow to anger. I’m glad that He is! And I like the next phrase too: “He is of great mercy.” If it just said that God was merciful, that would have been good, but this verse says that God is of great mercy!
Psalm 145:9 says, “The Lord is good to ALL.” “All” means everyone! I’ve heard Christians say, “The Lord’s been better to So-and-so than He’s been to me.” As a matter of fact, in times past, I’ve actually told the Lord, “You were better to So-and-so than You were to me.”
You might ask, “Were you saved?” Yes, I wouldn’t have been talking to Him
if I hadn’t been. Then you might ask, “What did He say to you?” Nothing. He just let me gripe and complain and fuss until I repented, and then He talked to me.
It would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic. I’ve heard some people say, “Well, it looks like the Lord is better to everyone else than He is to me.” And I’ve heard other people say, “The Lord is good to some people and bad to others.”
People who say these kinds of things haven’t experienced God’s goodness for themselves, not because God isn’t good to them, but because they haven’t received His goodness. Even in the natural, there are some people who won’t let you be good to them. Have you ever tried to be kind to someone, and they wouldn’t receive it? Well, people can also reject God’s goodness.
Again, Psalm 145:9 says, “The Lord is good to all.” Now, we might think about someone as being a good person and say, “He’s a good man,” or “She’s a good girl,” or “So-and-so is a good person.” Although God is good in the sense that we might say a person is good, that’s not what this verse is saying. This verse is talking about God’s goodness or His compassion toward us.
Naturally speaking, it’s easy to be good to some people. But then there are others who make it difficult to be good to them. But, God is good to all!
Notice that “good to all” is in connection with the Lord being gracious and full of compassion. If God is good to all, then His compassion and mercy are available to all. In other words, God has made the same provision for every single one of us.
We know that God has made the same provision for everyone in the area of forgiveness of sins. No one doubts He has made the same provision for us in connection with the remission of sins. But, in His goodness and mercy, God has also made the same provision for us in the area of healing.
Matthew 8:17 says, “. . . Himself [Jesus] took OUR infirmities, and bare OUR sicknesses.” Who is the “our” in the verse referring to? All of us! And that includes you!