The sacramental principle
Our Lord’s Ministry
Jesus spent much of his Ministry in doing two things – teaching, and healing sick people. And, just as huge crowds used to follow him in order to listen to his teaching, so wherever he went there were almost always sick people waiting for him as they lay on mattresses by the roadside, or else trying to catch him up in the crowds.
The healing Ministry of Jesus
Jesus cured people in different ways. Sometimes he just spoke to them and they were at once made better. When Bartimaeus, the blind beggar at the gate of Jericho, was brought to him Jesus said, “Receive your sight…”. And, as St Luke tells us, “Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God…” (NRSV, Luke 18:42,43).
Another time a man with the disease of leprosy came to him and, kneeling down, said, “If you choose, you can make me clean”. This time “Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I do choose. Be made clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean” (NRSV, Mark 1:41,42). In fact, Jesus cured so many people by laying his hands on them that men and women used to bring their sick relations and friends to him and beg him just to lay his hands on them (Mark 7:32; Luke 4:40).
On one occasion he did something quite different and used a material substance. This was when he came across a man in Jerusalem who had been born blind. Jesus first smeared some clay on the man’s eyes, and then told him to go to the Pool of Siloam and wash it off. He went away, therefore, and washed in the Pool and came back able to see (John 9:6,7).