Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Jesus as Healer

Sunday we talked about Jesus as Healer. We looked at several passages in the Gospel of Mark (1:21-45, 2:1-12, 3:1-6, 5:1-43, 7:31-37, 8:22-26, 9:14-29, 10:46-52). It was really neat to see how healing was so prominent throughout the book.

here are some thoughts from the evening...

for Jesus, healing wasn't always about the condition healed, but more about restoring the person healed to fellowship with God and with others, by forgiving sin and making them pure and acceptable again. Jesus often tied together physical healing and spiritual healing.

In Jewish culture, it was often believed that serious illnesses or infirmities were punishment or judgement; so the sick often deserved it. There wasn't a huge desire to see people healed or restored. As usual, Jesus went against the flow.

Many Christians, churches, and even denominations emphasize healing today, and teach that Jesus' power to heal has been passed down directly to us; that if we have enough faith, any illness can and will be healed.

My concern is that this idea makes it about and for us, rather than God and the other. I believe that God can heal, anytime, but not necessarily that He will. I believe God heals, just not on demand. 

I'm sure most of us have known very Godly, faithful people who prayed for healing for themselves or others. Sometimes we see miraculous recoveries, but more often we don't. I think the healing God offers happens in various ways at various times.

The healing stories in the Gospels reflect Jesus' intimate, powerful relationship with God, as well as his great compassion. He often healed with words, touch, and physical means.

In healing, Jesus demonstrates the Kingdom of God, one of his main themes. Healing is not just about the individual healing, not just about physical healing…it's about revealing the heart and nature of God…

So I think an application for today is not that if you have enough faith you will be healed. Rather, I think Jesus shows us that healing goes beyond the physical, beyond the here and now. It's a symbol, an example, of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is possible now in part, and eventually in full. In the same way healing often often happens now in part, but ultimately it will happen in full.

Does God heal? Yes, but not always in the way I want or expect. I pray for healing, and that prayer helps connect me to God—to be open to how He is working. It also connects me to the one for whom I am praying.

Finally, I think we see in Jesus' healings an example of how God invites us to partner with Him. Jesus is showing us not just what He wants to do for us, but what he wants us to do for him. He wants us to follow his example and be his healing agent in our world.

For us, here and now, healing is not just about God removing our illnesses or infirmities; rather, it’s about God making us more whole, more like Him, more His, both in this life and in the life to come.

How does your relationship with God enable you to be a compassionate, healing presence for people today?

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