Why Did Jesus Heal the Sick?

AN ANSWER FROM THE PAST AGE

God’s design for your body was initially perfect. There was no sickness/disease, sin, or death in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve both sinned and fell short of the glory of God. Decay and death entered creation, affecting all the created order including our body.

Enter God and His faithfulness to His followers. He provides healing for sick bodies in the wilderness for Israel (every healing then a “sign” of the eternal promise of a redeemed creation). He even reveals a portion of His glorious nature for healing, calling Himself the title,I AM THE LORD YOUR HEALER (see Exodus 15: 22-26 for further study).

Hundreds of years later, the people rebel, sickness and disease take over, and the promise of His healing seems lost. Enter Isaiah! His promise is music to our ears! Deliverance is coming in the promise of the Messiah.

“Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble! The eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert” (Isaiah 35: 3, 5-6).

So healing is coming! Literal eyes will be opened! Literal ears will hear! Literal lame will walk again! And all are the signs of the promise of restoration of all creation.

AN ANSWER FROM THE PRESENT AGE

Jesus, claiming to be the MESSIAH who, as promised, would begin the restoration process of His own created order, does it. He preaches and then offers one of the signs that His word is true: the sign of healing the sick. Sickness is “death in process” and was not a part of the original plan, and certainly is not part of the future plan. It is an enemy and must be destroyed.

So He set about doing the initial work of breaking the three-fold curse from Adam and Eve in the Garden: sin, sickness, & death. All three are part of the curse, and in His ministry, He began the reversal of these curses in all 3 areas. He forgave sin, He healed sickness, and He raised the dead.

And even more startling: He commands His followers to continue this ministry until His return, in His name and for His glory! Forgive people their offences in His name, and receive daily forgiveness yourself. Heal the sick. And raise the dead too, while you are at it. All in His name, of course!

So Jesus, through His followers, continues His own ministry, until He returns and there is no more need for it.

Thus He commands all who will follow Him to follow in His footsteps and keep on with healing the sick:

“And these signs will accompany those who have believed (that command from Jesus still remains in effect), they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16: 17a & 18b).

AN ANSWER FROM THE AGE TO COME

Every healing that Jesus did (and still continues to do) is a kind of “foreshadowing” of the future coming Kingdom, a realm which contains no sickness or disease and is shown to us briefly in the closing visions of Revelation,

“And on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month (continuously!); and the leaves of the tree were for the HEALING of the nations” (Revelation 22:2b).

IN CONCLUSION, AN IRISH TESTIMONY

On one of my earliest missionary endeavors, God sent me to Ireland. While there, I was invited to pray for people in a youth service on a sprawling country estate. A young girl, about the age of 8, came up holding her mother’s hand. She told me, “She cannot hear. She was born completely deaf in one ear, and only partly able to hear in the other. Can you pray for her?”

I looked to heaven. Surely the God who created hearing can re-create that blessing for this young child?

I reached out my hands in faith, and only had time to lightly touch her one ear. I prayed out the words, “IN THE NAME OF JESUS” and she fell instantly to the grass. When she looked up from the ground, her countenance changed and she began to weep.

She shared that when she landed on the grass under the power of God, her deaf ear opened up instantly, and her other ear was healed almost fully. For the first time in her life, she could hear the worship music, and wept because now she could fully worship the LORD with her hearing restored!

So then I started crying! I tear up when I think of it.

Jesus stepped in. I did not heal this girl. HE did it. For His glory.

Isaiah was right, “the ears of the deaf will be opened.”

A sign of His glory now. A future sign, too: that in eternity with Him, we will all hear and participate in the worship together. The curse of sickness forever broken, and the leaves of the Tree of Life, next to the river of life, eternally present for us.

And that’s why Jesus healed the sick. Amen.

Feel free to join this conversation and post your own thoughts or testimonies.

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Is Your Prayer Life a Monologue or a Dialogue?

Is Your Prayer Life a Monologue or a Dialogue?

Welcome to my second blog post on the subject of prayer as a dialogue with God.

For some, this may be a challenging thought!

I must confess that it’s taken me many years of walking with God as a Christian to become comfortable with a prayer life that dares to listen to the Almighty. I was raised in a traditional Lutheran church setting. The evangelical community around me prayed, but nobody seemed to be listening on the other end of their prayers. That was my impression. We prayed as a family at every meal. The prayers we prayed were memorized and short. “God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food, Amen!”

It was the perfect “monologue prayer.” William Shakespeare himself would be proud. All I was missing was an English accent!

Easy. No need to expect God Himself to answer that prayer. I’m sure He appreciated hearing how thankful we were to eat that day, but I never even considered the idea that, in these and other prayers we prayed, perhaps He would TALK BACK to me in prayer (if I was willing to listen).

In the ancient world, approaching God in dialogue and praying to Him, while also expecting Him to speak and communicate back, was virtually unheard of. Genesis of course is the place to start. After the Fall (the sin and disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden), we find very few instances of God initiating dialogue with man. Abraham is a prime example of how rare it was for God to speak to man (you can read Genesis 18 and find a record of a most incredible dialogue between Abraham and God).

Thousands of years of history pass by until the Son of God Himself, Jesus Christ, would enter the scene of world history and recreate God’s heart of relationship with us. He opened up the lines of communication! Heaven itself thundered with the voice of the Father, who declared, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased. Listen to Him!” (Luke 4:22 & Matthew 17:5). On the cross, Jesus became the final blood sacrifice for mankind, and poured out His life as an offering of love. He restored man and woman to relationship again with Father.

As a Christian, you have the unique privilege to call God, “FATHER,” just as Jesus did. You can expect that as you call out in prayer, He will answer you in one of a number of ways, out of His own love for you, personally. Jesus showed us how to pray and receive His love. His own prayer life was a moment-by-moment dialogue with the Father, and they walked closely, like Abraham once had.

It’s time to transform your prayer life from a monologue to a dialogue!

The greatest need of this desperate hour is to hear from God: for ourselves. Don’t rely on others to hear from God for you. You must develop a listening ear and a heart that is ever seeking to share an ongoing dialogue with your Father.

I invite you to lay down your “prayer monologue” and stop “doing Shakespeare” every time you approach God! Talk with God like Abraham did. Listen to Father like Jesus did. Dare to listen as He desires to speak back to you!

Here are 2 keys to get you started, and 4 simple ways to open your dialogue with God:

  1. EXPECT HIM TO SPEAK (BY FAITH) CLEARLY: “Anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that He exists and that He cares enough to respond to those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6b, The Message Translation).
  2. TAKE TIME TO LISTEN: “And your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21).

4 SIMPLE WAYS TO DIALOGUE WITH GOD: God initiates communication with you in many creative ways; in fact, in the Book of Acts there are at least 10. Here are just 4, and I invite you to open your heart to all of them on a regular basis.

(1)  He dialogues with you through His Living Word.
(2)  He speaks in the “still, small voice” of your inner spirit.
(3)  He communicates through other people to you.
(4)  He leads you through dreams and visions.

So, are you ready to listen to God by faith today & transform your prayer life from a monologue into a dialogue with Him?

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