Jesus Heals

  • Jesus Heals
  • Luke 22:47-51
  • Bill Couch
  • March 15, 2015
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3-15-15 from LakeRidge UMC on Vimeo.

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7 Final Days

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Jesus Heals

 

Today is the fourth Sunday of Lent–the season of preparation for remembering the crucifixion of Jesus and celebrating his Resurrection. On the Sundays during Lent,  we are looking at the 7 Final Days of Jesus’ life. Knowing that his days were numbered Jesus would focus on the things that really mattered. By observing what he said and did during these last seven days, we get a clear picture of what Jesus considered most important. One of the things that Jesus did during this time was to heal a man. Healing was something that Jesus did throughout his ministry and something that he continued to do until the very end of his life. This healing that occurred during the final week is a rather unusual circumstance. It is Thursday night. Jesus has just completed the Last Supper with his disciples. He took them to the Garden of Gethsemane where he prayed asking his Heavenly Father if there was another way to accomplish the redemption of the world without the suffering of the cross. During his conversation with the Father, he yields to the reality of the cross. He returns to find his disciples sleeping. While he is encouraging them to wake up and pray for what is about to happen, a crowd approaches. Luke tells us what happened next:

 

Luke 22:47-51

47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Some of you may remember the TV show called “The Beverly Hillbillies”. One of the characters on the show was Granny who considered herself to be an expert on numerous subjects including folk medicine. Let’s watch as she interviews one of the esteemed physicians of Beverly Hills to see how smart he is.

Video: Granny & the Doctor, Beverly Hillbillies

            “A doctor goes where he is needed. He don’t just stay on his own land”—even if it is outside of his field of medicine! Jesus did not just stay on his own land. He went where he was needed all over Galilee and Judea. When Jesus began his ministry he announced his mission statement while reading from the Prophet Isaiah at his hometown synagogue in Nazareth:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19

This passage makes it clear that Jesus came to restore a broken world and usher in the Kingdom of God. Some of the symptoms of the broken world we live in are disease and woundedness of all kinds—physical, emotional and spiritual. Jesus proclaimed that he had come to heal through “recovery of sight for the blind.”

Some scholars suggest that the second miracle of Jesus was healing. The first miracle was when he turned the water into wine at a wedding in Cana. When I meet with couples to plan their wedding ceremony, to help them cut down on expenses, I encourage them to invite Jesus to their reception and have 150 gallons of water ready to go!!

This morning I want us to look closely at the first miracle of healing and at the last miracle of healing. The first healing occurred when a royal official, probably a nobleman in King Herod’s administration, traveled from Capernaum to Cana to ask for Jesus to heal his son who was near death. (John 4:43-54) The distance between the two villages is about 20 miles about a full day’s journey on foot. If this is the first miracle of healing recorded, how did this official believe that Jesus could he heal his son? As far as we know, this man had only heard the stories of Jesus turning the water into wine. He makes a huge leap of faith: “If Jesus can do that, perhaps he can heal my son.” He asks for Jesus to return with him to Capernaum to heal his son. Jesus responds by telling him, “Your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and started home. He trusted that what Jesus said would happen. On the way home, his servants came running to meet him and told him that his son was well. When he inquired when this happened, the time that the servant’s told him was exactly the same time that Jesus had healed him. Jesus first miracle of healing was over a distance of twenty miles; he was not present with the one who was healed. The Great Physician, Jesus, did not just stay on his own land—he even healed at a distance.

Over the course of the next three years Jesus would heal a variety of diseases: fever, leprosy, blindness, deafness, paralysis, hemorrhages, epilepsy, and “many who had various diseases”. (Mark 1:34) Some he would touch, some he would speak the word and they would be healed. Most were in his presence, some were at a distance. He healed a variety of diseases in a variety of ways. Each healing was specific for each person. He did not follow a formula or consistent method. Those who claim to know the formula for healing—“Say these words. Quote these scriptures. Do this, do that and you will be healed”—need to look at the healings of Jesus in the gospels. There is no magic formula that works for everyone. Our God is too creative for that!

With that in mind let’s focus on the last healing of Jesus. It is Thursday night. Jesus has been praying in the Garden of Gethsemane about the crucifixion that will occur the next day. A crowd of religious leaders and temple guards comes up led by one of his own disciples, Judas. They have a prearranged signal that Judas will kiss Jesus to identify him to the guards. When they start to arrest Jesus, Peter pulls out his sword and cuts off the right ear of the servant of the high priest. Peter is ready to fight for Jesus and defend him. Jesus says: “No more of this.” “Then he touched the man’s ear and healed him.” Notice Peter “cuts off” the ear. Presumably it is on the ground. Jesus did not reach down and pick it up. He touched what was left of his ear and created a new one. This was a new way of healing unlike anything Jesus had done before. Even today sometimes Jesus heals miraculously by regenerating organs that are considered dead and lifeless.

Jesus came and healed and still heals today. He heals many diseases and afflictions to demonstrate his power to restore a broken world. All of these diseases and the suffering that accompanies them was not what the Father intended when he created this world. Our sin and rebellion against God have caused this Fallen world to be broken. Because he loves us, Jesus came to absorb all the brokenness of our world into himself and to defeat it through the cross and the resurrection.

How do we pray for healing? First of all we express to God the desire of our heart. We want the miracle—the instantaneous healing with no other explanation than the power of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes God still works miracles. But miracles are by definition the exception and not the rule. The Apostle Paul prayed for his thorn in the flesh to be removed three times. The miracle healing did not come. He still suffered the pain. God’s response was, “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) God would use the pain in Paul’s life to deepen his experience of God’s grace and power through his suffering. If there was any magic formula for healing, the Apostle Paul would have known it. He had plenty of faith, but God’s answer was not a miracle. We ask for a miracle, then we trust God to heal in the way he knows best. Sometimes he heals through medicine—doctors and healthcare professionals are a part of his healing team. Sometimes he grants extended time—good days way beyond the medical prognosis. Sometimes his healing may be deeper than our physical pain—he grants sufficient grace that fills us with peace and power that transforms our souls at the deepest level.  James, the brother of Jesus, described the process: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

Award winning Christian vocalist, Laura Story, experienced this deeper healing in her life. After being married just two years, her husband was hospitalized with a brain tumor in 2006. The faith Laura sang about was put through the unexpected fires of fear and loneliness. Most young newlyweds don’t imagine being kept alive by breathing machines or having to find their way through significant post-operative vision and memory loss. Laura knows firsthand the journey to surrender gets complicated—that it sometimes involves having to redefine what God’s “blessings” could mean. She wrote a song about this spiritual wrestling match with God entitled “Blessings”. When asked about the message of the song she said: “The song shows that we still have more questions than answers. But there’s a decision that I find God is asking us to make. Are we going to judge God based on our circumstances, or are we going to choose to interpret our circumstances based on what we hold to be true about God?”

Let’s listen as she expresses this journey of trusting God when there is no miracle:

VIDEO: LAURA STORY, “BLESSINGS”

Many of you have prayed for a miracle and you are still struggling. You prayed for a miracle and watch a loved one suffer and die. You prayed protection over your kids and a terrible accident happened. Those were the blessings you sought, but sometimes God allows (not causes) things to happen in our fallen world so that through our brokenness we can experience a deeper love and trust in him. God loves you so much that sometimes he says “No” to the miracle, in order to work a deeper experience in your soul.

We are going to invite you to bring your brokenness to God for healing this morning. You may need physical, emotional or spiritual healing. You may need healing from deep wounds in your past. Bring your brokenness to Jesus. We all are broken. First, ask for the miracle. The scripture says “that you have not because you asked not!”  Always ask for the miracle. And like Jesus, surrender yourself to God and whatever healing he wants to give you. It may not be the healing you want, but it will accomplish his purposes in your life which will be the greater blessing.

Many people were healed by Jesus who were brought by their friends. Perhaps you will want to come to pray for a friend or family member. Members of our healing prayer team will be at the altar to pray with you and anoint you with oil if you would like. Or you may come and pray by yourself. They will ask if you want someone to pray with you. You can decide. But come and pray. Bring your own brokenness or your prayer for healing for a friend or family member. Surrender yourself to God’s healing for your life.

Will the prayer teams come as we as we stand and sing together?

Sanctuary: Praise Team repeats “Healing Rain” with keyboard only

After singing through once, keyboard will continue to play

Lights remain soft until the conclusion of the prayer time.

 

LR Praise: Jon Mark will select closing song.