Spring 1969

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Page 90



the Kingdom, portrays what the Kingdom is like and actually initiates and spreads the Kingdom. He does the same in the parables of the Kingdom (cf. Mt 13:33 If.; Mk 4:26 If.). Thus Christ's gift of healing was used to¡ announce, describe and institute the Kingdom of God. Extending this concept to the whole Church (cf. Mk 6:7-12; Mt 10:1-5; Lk 9:1-6; 10:1-20; Acts 3:1-16, 5 :15-16), we see that the Church's healing work throughout time is not only done in the imitation of the compassion of Christ, but as proclamation and description of the gospel, the announcing and bringing in of forgiveness and salvation. These signs (i.e. healing miracles and healing in general) are part of a developing situation bringing about the very thing of which they are signs-that is the Kingdom of God. The healing acts of Christ are not merely individual compassionate acts of Jesus or the result solely of personal acts of the faith of the sick person. Just as it is a mistake to take the "scientific" norms of the miracle back into gospel times, so it is equally a mistake to take the modern interest in the predicament of the desperately sick individual and the possibilities of his obtaining relief by appropriate personal acts of faith, and apply this mind-set on Christ's healing works. What is of primary importance to the gospel writers are the attitudes of the witnesses to the healing. Mark's version of Christ's healing of the epileptic is one example¡ of a miracle being performed in relation to the crowd primarily and only secondarily to the one healed. We see too in the gospel accounts of the healing miracles a great emphasis upon the "crisis" nature of the individual healed: the individual is confronted by Christ and his own need for faith, repentance and healing. But we must not forget that this healing work is also a "crisis" for the witnesses to the miracle. God's kingdom is being manifest through this particular act. His dynamic "Word" is being spoken through this miracle and it is calling fot¡ the response of repentance and covenant renewal. The healing work results not only in placing the community of witnesses in a state of crisis, but also of changing them as individuals whether they accept the miracle or not. Both from the concept of corporate personality, the