Matthew 8:1-17, “When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, ‘Lord if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, ‘See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’ When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.’ Jesus said to him, ‘I will go and heal him.’ The centurion replied, ‘Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him. ‘I tell you the truth. I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Then Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.’ And his servant was healed at that very hour. When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.’”
Note that as opposed to actual faith healing, there is nothing in these verses here that state that faith was a prerequisite for being healed. Jesus healed, plain and simple. We do have the centurion, whom Jesus singles out as being the holder of a greater faith than that which he had seen in Israel, but that wasn’t necessary for him to heal his servant. Jesus did ask for the leper to not tell anyone after he healed him, but that wasn’t a request of faith, but probably more an issue of making sure that the miracles he performed didn’t over-shadow his message of love.
I find it interesting that Jesus did not require faith for healing. We currently believe that faith is required for salvation, but Jesus did not require it to physically heal those who asked. Nor is there mention that people believed because of these acts (although faith that Jesus has some amazing power would have had to have occurred). These were acts of love, as was his ultimate act on earth. Could this perhaps be another sign that salvation is truly for all? This immediately brings me back to my question (not listed on this site until this point) regarding 1 Timothy 2:3-4. Note the phrasing in that passage. God desires that all men be saved AND come to a knowledge of the truth. If faith is required for salvation, should those two actually be separate. If a knowledge of the truth is necessary, could this passage not just state saved or knowledge alone and left the other one out? And note that saved is listed first. Salvation was intended for all mankind, and God wants all men to be saved, so, what makes us think that he’s not able to do so.
But, of course, then you have to look back at the selection above. Verse 12 states that the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is generally considered an image of hell. But, the subjects of the kingdom are generally considered to be the Jews who believe that Judaism is their ticket to heaven. Even so, it would appear from this selection that even those who are thrown out were actually included in the feast at one point before being thrown out. The imagery here is very confusing to me.
I’m not attempting to state anything outright here, just pointing out some thoughts. I’ve long wondered why God would want all man to be saved, but tie his own hands against those who would not believe, as he is the one who makes the rules regarding how salvation is attained. And when we see Jesus acting altruistically here, not asking for faith in return, or faith in order to receive healing in the first place, it once again causes me to wonder what God truly intends to occur beyond the grave for those who do not believe.