Jesus Healing the Sick,
Painted by Gebhard Fugel (1863-1939),
Painted circa 1920,
Oil on canvas
© Dommuseum Freising, Bavaria, Germany
He laid His hands on each and cured them
Leaving the synagogue, Jesus went to Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever and they asked him to do something for her. Leaning over her he rebuked the fever and it left her. And she immediately got up and began to wait on them.
At sunset all those who had friends suffering from diseases of one kind or another brought them to him, and laying his hands on each he cured them. Devils too came out of many people, howling, ‘You are the Son of God.’ But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ.
When daylight came he left the house and made his way to a lonely place. The crowds went to look for him, and when they had caught up with him they wanted to prevent him leaving them, but he answered, ‘I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God to the other towns too, because that is what I was sent to do.’ And he continued his preaching in the synagogues of Judaea.
Reflection on the painting
In our Gospel reading today we read about how Jesus is healing people. Healing was essential to Jesus' ministry. The healing power flowed from within him to cure the crippled, blind, deaf, and leprous, and even to raise people from the dead. But Jesus knew that the healings he performed during his lifetime would go beyond his time spent here on earth and would serve also as a physical symbol of forgiveness. Just as he healed the sick in his time, he continues to heal our souls in the spirit of forgiveness. The physical healings in the Gospels symbolise something more crucial, more essential, more lasting, more breathtaking, more momentous than just temporary relief from earthly sufferings…
Our painting is by Gebhard Fugel, a German painter specialising in Christian themes. Jesus is not depicted as a majestic figure, but rather as someone rolling up his sleeves and attending to the needs of the sick. He is helping a sick man to sit upright. There is great tenderness emanating from this picture. Behind Jesus, we see a woman praying after she has been healed; another woman is touching Jesus' cloak. In the foreground on the right, we see sick and blind men waiting expectantly to meet Jesus. The sunlight that touches Jesus' head gives him a natural halo.
Our painter founded in 1893 the German Society for Christian Art (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Christliche Kunst), as an "oriented forum for a lively dialogue between artists, theologians, philosophers and art lovers". They looked at the healing power of art in society: by bringing Christ to people using art, it could serve as a lifeline for those affected by personal traumas, suffering and pain.
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Readings related to Luke 4:38-44
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