In Acts 28 there is the thrilling story of shipwreck and snake bite. It is a ripping good yarn with superstitious Malta Islanders who exhibit a fascinating characteristic as sinful human beings. Paul is first considered a terrible criminal because he is snake bit, and then he is considered a God when he shakes it off. That progression in thinking happens many times in Acts.
The “head man” of the island had an estate near where the wreck occurred. He took the victims in and showed them hospitality. He also had a sick and old Dad who had dysentery. Paul comes in to see him and lays hands on him and prays and heals “isato” him. This word is very specific. It means a supernatural healing that intends to draw attention to God as the great physician.
When the word is spread about the old man’s healing people start coming to see the shipwrecked group and are healed ” etherapeuonto” derived from “therapeuo” where we get the word therapeutic. It means the natural process of healing using natural things.
The Bible doesnt lump healing into miraculous categories all the time. Luke the physician is too precise and fussy for that. No doubt he was busy with his medicines and prescriptions at the “headman’s” house.
I had a treatment Friday and had time to think about how interesting the therapy part of the equation is. You can be clinically doing fairly well while still infested with a disease and you can clinically be a mess and still feel fairly well. Then there is the therapy side that call for exercise and work to make stronger what we might want to let rest and atrophy. Then in discussions with folks putting bags of strange sounding drugs into your body, comes the “isato”, the healing that brings attention to the great physician. So many folks I have been acquainted with are trying to give me therapy while praying for the Great Physicians healing of their loved ones far away or in the hospital next door. It brings back the statement of Luther that world is a “krankenhaus” a hospital, but so is the church.