All this is simply giving us a picture of God, a portrait in oil, in warm living colours. And that is the one point of the question we're talking about.
What sort of a God is He? What is He willing to do? It is not a question of power, but of His willingness, His purpose. Not can He but will He?
The picture in the Old Testament is quite enough to answer the question. The warmer living colours of a Man actually living in touch, underscores the answer in bright red colouring.
The tenderness, the sympathetic heart, the eagerness of God, takes hold of one's heart with a grip as His Only-Begotten actually becomes one of us.
And so we come back to that sentence put in at the first. It is God's first will that we should be pure in heart, gripped by a nobly strong purpose, poised in our understanding of things, humanly gentle in our personal contacts, at sweet peace within, content in circumstances, and, hearty and healthy in our bodies.
But note that word "first," God's first will. That's a doorway into God's schoolroom.
Christ does heal today. It is His eager will to do so, and to do it now. One may reach out his hand. and have what he needs of this sort, now as he is reading, so far as God's side is concerned.
If there be any delay, it need not be longer than it takes for a man to come into simple full touch of heart and life.
In healing Christ is thinking of two things, always two. The first presses in most with us, if we 're needing it, maybe needing it sorely. The second is really the thing of greater meaning.
Christ wants to heal our bodies. He wants to heal our spirits, our lives, our very selves. He wants to do the first, but in such a way as to include the greater thing, the second.
The first is delayed sometimes, often times, until we are willing for the second, too. But the length of the delay is fixed by us. Christ eagerly reaches out to do both for each of us now.
There is one exception to be noted in all this teaching. We are never promised immunity from bodily death. There are the three instances in the Gospels of the dead restored, and two, possibly a third, in the Acts.
Yet, the plain teaching throughout does not include this. A bit of the promise definitely made is, that through the touch of Christ on the body, the full span of natural life will be filled out. (Note Psa_103:4 f.c. see paraphrase already given. Exo_23:26. Deu_4:40; Deu_32:47)
So far as death itself is concerned, the resurrection of our bodies at some future day is plainly taught for those believers who do not live until Christ's return. The teaching does not go beyond these two items.
Now a bit from the other book, the book of illustrations, Book of Life.
A friend of mine told me a bit of his experience of bodily healing. It's a double story. He is a business man, still living, well known in the city where he lives, and active in Christian service of the more spiritual sort. He is now probably in his late fifties or early sixties.
In his thirties he had a stroke of paralysis, as a result of overwork. It affected one side. His arm hung limp through not wholly disabled. He could walk some, dragging his limb.
The side of his face was affected. Through loss of self-control the spittle would ooze out of his mouth. He showed me his diary which he was still able to keep. But the writing on the pages at the time was a scarcely legible crawl.
He went to a friend, a physician, who taught that Christ heals by direct touch of the old. The friend made a very simple brief prayer for his healing. And my friend limped up out of the other's home as he had limped in, and started back to his own home.
As he was painfully dragging his foot along he felt a sense of warmth come into his body, running through his affected side, down the arm, and as though out at his finger-tips. And he knew the healing touch had come.
He entered his home with his latch-key, and his wife came running to meet him, and then stopped short as she looked, startled, and said, "Oh Frank, you have been healed!"
My friend had unusually intimate relations with his pastor who lived near him. The pastor had suffered for years from heart trouble. He had applied repeatedly for life insurance wit various companies. But he always had been rejected because of his heart.
Now, my friend went to see his pastor, and told his story of what had occurred to him. And there was a time of praise and prayer together.
The pastor was the more deeply impressed because of his own need. Much time was spent alone in his study on his knees with the open Bible. And he had evidence within that led him to believe the healing touch had come.
Again he applied for life insurance, was examined with the usual rigid care, and now was accepted, and the insurance written.
He began to speak of healing in his preaching. But it was not acceptable to his denominational leaders. And so it was not taught in any outstanding way, and gradually slipped out of his preaching.
He afterward became a president of a leading Methodist university, and later was made Bishop, and was prominent in the broader counsels and activity of his communion. I had the privilege of his personal acquaintance in the after years.
My friend, a quiet-spoken methodical business man, told me the story quietly, with a business man's care in details. He has led a very busy life since, and seems to be in perfect health.
It seems like an added page of the unfinished Book of Acts. Clearly there would be many more such pages added if our great Christ had His way with us.