In 2013 I was engaged in a conversation that took place in an online forum. The conversation pertained to spiritual topics, and, as is often the case with such topics in a secular setting, there were many voices of disagreement.
Most of the arguments were ones that I had heard before. Some were claiming that the Bible is flawed. Others were claiming that Jesus isn't special. Still others claimed that there's more than one way to get to Heaven. These are all views that I had heard many times before. However, one view was particularly new to me. There was a man who claimed that Jesus never healed any amputees -- implying that Christ didn't have the power to do so, or that he just didn't care about amputees. It was a bold statement that immediately appeared silly.
Jesus healed many people of all sorts of ailments. He walked on water, turned water into wine, and calmed a storm with a simple command. He even brought dead people back to life. So what would give anyone the impression that Jesus couldn't, or wouldn't, heal a person who had lost a limb?
During the conversation, I quickly pointed out that the Bible clearly states that Jesus performed many miracles, and that not all of them are recorded in the Bible (John 20:30-31). I also reminded them of the time when Jesus reattached a man's ear after it had been cut off (Luke 22:49-51). However, this wasn't good enough for this man. He still wanted to imply that Jesus didn't have the power to regenerate a limb, or that he didn't care about amputees. He, and others, persisted to mock God by mentioning technological advances of mankind -- touting that man would soon be able to do what God either didn't have the power to do, or simply didn't have the compassion to accomplish.
I left the conversation before addressing this notion as thouroughly as I would have liked. The man's claim was one that I hadn't heard before, so I wasn't sure whether others were asking the same question on a regular basis.
After leaving the conversation I began to think of more answers that I wish I would have given. These are answers that didn't occur to me at the time.
The purpose of this article is to say what I didn't say during that conversation. This article is designed to address those who want to say that Jesus never healed an amputee. It's for those who want to imply that Jesus either doesn't have the power to do so, or that he doesn't care.
I didn't think of it at the time, but it's probably very likely that there weren't very many amputees in Jesus' day. Therefore, there were fewer opportunities for Jesus to perform the miracle of limb regeneration.
There's no doubt that people lost limbs back then. It probably happened very often in battle, since many warriors used swords as weapons. However, when a person lost a limb, it's not likely they survived the injury.
If a person loses a limb today, it's not uncommon for that person to survive. It's common knowledge to tie off the injury and stop the bleeding as soon as possible. This is because most people have a basic understanding of the circulatory system, and we know that significant blood loss is fatal. But back then, the circulatory system was not clearly understood.
As is often the case with scientific knowledge, an accurate understanding of the circulatory system didn't take place instantaneously. It developed over a vast period of time.
Based on what I was able to quickly find online, the earliest known writings of the circulatory system date back to the 1700s BC, and an accurate description of the system dates to 1242 AD. This is a large gap of technological confusion.
When Jesus was on Earth, mankind's understanding of the circulatory system wasn't completely accurate. And just because the earliest known writings date to a time before Christ, that doesn't mean that it was common knowledge at that time. Not only must we examine whether this knowledge was common to most individuals, we have to also understand whether it was commonly known to those who were within the vicinity of Jesus?
So try to imagine a battle field during that time. Soldiers are using swords, spears, bows and arrows. Any injury, that was the result of a sword, happened during a fight of close combat. How feasible is it that anyone would have the chance to torniquet a wounded warrior who had just lost a limb? Even if soldiers understood what was needed to save a person's life, it's not likely they were ever able to do anything about it. Enemy fighters would certainly have killed anyone who took the time to help a man who had lost a limb. After all, the enemy was only an arm's length away. As a result, soldiers either walked away whole, or didn't walk away at all.