Perspectives on healing in the New Testament : a comparative study of Mark, Luke and Paul
The healing was an important issue in the first century is established first. The views of Mark, Luke and Paul in relation to the healing ministry of Jesus, and healing in the early church, are then compared. With respect to Jesus' healing, Mark's account shows his descriptive ability, and sharp eye for detail, as well as his theological views, while Luke is concerned primarily with theological aspects of Jesus' healing. There are important differences in their theological understanding of the source of Jesus' power to heal. The shape of the two gospels allows the conclusion that, for Mark, Jesus' healing is the obverse side of the crucifixion, with Mark's overall picture of a theologia crucis, while in Luke's gospel, Jesus' healing is depicted as showing primarily the glory of God, with Jesus as the powerful, obedient son, a picture which extends into the resurrection events. Healing in the early church is considered in the book of Acts and in Paul's undisputed letters. In Acts, Luke emphasises the power and evidential value in spreading the gospel of healing, often as the result of opposition. Paul emphasises the 'essence' of Jesus' ministry, his love and compassion, and healing, both by Paul and church members, is not stressed. The main reason for this is related to Paul's 'thorn in the flesh', since his physical weakness demonstrates that the truth of the gospel shines through because of the power of Christ, not by his own power; and he develops a theology of weakness. Although the later New Testament letters have few references to healing, yet the history of the church over the following centuries indicates that healing, and care for the sick, remained very important. The main findings of the thesis concern the different attitudes towards divine healing of Mark, Luke and Paul.