DO YOU WANT TO BE HEALED 1-12-20

Do You Want to be Healed?

January 12, 2020

Jesus healed many people during His time on earth.  His compassion was as limitless as his power, and was extended to all who came in search of healing, both physical and spiritual.

In our first Scripture reading (Matthew 9:18-26) you heard the example of a synagogue leader who came to Jesus because his daughter had recently passed away at home.  First he worshipped Jesus, and then displayed a faith so strong that he not only believed Jesus could heal, but that he could raise the dead.  This contrasts with the Pharisees in our second Scripture reading (John 5:1-15) who demanded to know who healed the paralytic that had laid by the pool of Bethesda for 38 years, and had the audacity to tell him to pick up his mat and walk – on the Sabbath day.  Instead of glorifying God that this man was healed, they were only concerned with the fact that their interpretation of Jewish law had not been followed.

Also in our first Scripture reading, you heard about the woman who believed that if she only touched the hem of Jesus’ garment she would be healed of the issue of blood she had suffered from for 12 years.  And because of her faith in our Lord she was healed instantly upon doing so.  But did you know that it took great courage for her to even be out in public, much less touch another person?  According to Jewish law, during a woman’s menstrual period she had to stay in her house and not touch any person or utensil.  This woman was considered ritually unclean for 12 long years.  And yet Jesus not only allowed her to touch him, but healed her as well. 

Now, let’s go back to our second Scripture reading (John 5:1-15) and take a closer look at how Jesus’ dealt with the paralytic.  There were many people crowded around the pool that needed healing.  They did so because they believed that when an angel stirred the waters, the first person to step into them would be healed of whatever illness they were suffering from.  But this paralytic claimed he had no one to help him get into the pool first so he might be healed.  I see a contradiction here.  Obviously the paralytic who lay close to the pool for 38 years did not go for that long without food or water, or without having someone to help him with bodily functions and cleansing.  And yet he claims that no one who helped him had enough compassion to actually help him into the pool one time in 38 years so that he might be healed?  Does it not seem odd that people would be willing to help him enough to see that he was fed, but not to see that he was healed, which would have relieved them of the burden of seeing to his care?  Jesus could have healed any one of the people who were waiting to step into the pool, and yet he went to this man and asked him, “Do you want to be healed?”  Even today, there are some who suffer from what is termed ‘Munchausen syndrome’.  Being ill gets them attention and sympathy, and those are things they want more than healing.  But the paralytic didn’t answer “I don’t want to be healed”.  He said he couldn’t be healed.  And yet Jesus showed him that he could.  Some people have resolved themselves to their condition, be it a physical illness, or a mental or spiritual one, such as depression or addiction.  But there is nothing that Jesus cannot cure.  Even if the pool of Bethesda couldn’t cure the paralytic, Jesus himself could. 

Now let’s not forget about the last part of this Scripture reading, as some are prone to doing.  “But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, ‘Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.’” (vs. 14).  Some people need both physical healing and spiritual healing, and this man was in need of both.  He had not yet come to a knowledge of who Jesus was or that he needed the redemption that only comes through Christ, as was evidenced by a life unchanged aside from his physical healing.  But once Jesus revealed to him who he was, this man showed that he had come to have a saving faith by publicly acknowledging Jesus, even to the very people who were against him. 

And Jesus still heals people today through the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is the same power that worked through the early disciples, who carried on Jesus’ ministry, curing both physical and mental illness.  Peter and Paul even raised some who had physically died (Acts 9:36-43 and 20:9-12), and of course, they all gave life to those who were spiritually dead through the power of the Gospel message. 

And yes, I did say that Jesus still heals people today through the power of the Holy Spirit.   And I don’t just mean through the marvels of modern medicine, although I am not dismissing that God can work through doctors and surgeons.  I am certainly not advocating refusing medical treatment altogether as a ‘show of faith’ as some cults do.  But on the other hand, relying completing on human doctors and human knowledge only allows for a limited amount of what is necessary for complete healing, and sometimes even complicates the problem.  Take for example our reliance on antibiotics, once heralded as a miracle cure for almost everything.  Now we have to deal with antibiotic resistance, which “is one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health. Antibiotic resistant bacteria can cause illnesses that were once easily treatable with antibiotics to become untreatable, leading to dangerous infections. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are often more difficult to kill and more expensive to treat. In some cases, the antibiotic-resistant infections can lead to serious disability or even death.”  (https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/community/about/antibiotic-resistance-faqs.html)

But don’t forget what the people in Jesus’ hometown so clearly illustrated in our third Scripture reading (Matthew 13:54-58) - without faith that healing power won’t be effective.  Like a pill sitting on a nightstand - if you don’t believe it can help you, and so you don’t actually take it, it won’t do you any good.  You have to believe who Jesus is, and believe in His power to heal.  

The apostle James wrote, “Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.”  (James 5:14-15).  The key words here are “offered in faith”.  You display your faith by allowing the elders of the church to pray over you, but they must also offer that prayer in faith.  Just mumbling the words, without actually believing that God hears them and will answer their prayer, does nothing.

And so I ask, do you want to be healed?  Then come forward now, in faith, resolved in your heart to follow God’s Word and sin no more, earnestly seeking God’s healing of body and soul.  Come as the congregation sings “Just As I Am”.  Come and be anointed and prayed over…

Amen.

VIDEO:  “You Are the God that Healeth Me” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0H2PxM4LmnM