Jesus the Healer

I am deviating from my study in John today and looking instead at the lesson I will be teaching in church this sunday.  Today’s lesson is a continuation of our series “Evidences of Jesus as the Messiah.”

Demonstrated Acts of Healing

Matthew 9:27-34 (New International Version)

Jesus Heals the Blind and Mute

27As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”

28When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
“Yes, Lord,” they replied.

29Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”; 30and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” 31But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region.

32While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. 33And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”

34But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”

John Wesley said:  “Let us examine the gift of healing. I have frequently said that it is not a sin to be sick or to die. It is, however, a sin for sickness and death to go unchallenged because there is no one to pray.”

Let’s begin by looking at these blind men to see how they received their healing.

(1)The blind men knew Jesus was in the area, they had heard about him, and they knew who He was.  What did they call him?  Son of David, which indicates that they acknowledged Him as the Messiah.

(2)They did not wait for Jesus to come to them, they sought Him out.  They did not wait for someone to go to them and say, “we’re praying for you,” they went directly to Jesus themselves.

(3)Even when it seemed Jesus was not going to help them, they followed  Him into the house–they were not going to leave without their healing.

Desperate need generates radical faith.  These men might leave without being healed, but it would not be for lack of trying.

Jesus told them again to be silent about their healing.  We have discussed this before.  It could be Jesus knew the time of His kingdom was not yet at hand, and he still had work to do before He was fully revealed as the Messiah.  Or, perhaps he was already having difficulty in handling the crowds, and knew the problem would only grow the more people learned of these miraculous healings.  But to me, the one thing that can not be overlooked is that whether these blind men told anyone of their recovery, certainly people would have noticed.

The mute man presented a somewhat different story.  While the blind men needed a physical miracle, the mute man was said to be demon-possessed.  He needed a spiritual miracle.  Which is harder, healing a man who cannot physically see, or a man who cannot spiritually see?  For Jesus, they both seemed to carry equal weight.  He had authority over the physical and the spiritual and He still does today.

Why did Jesus come to earth?

  1. Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
  2. 1 John 4:14: “That the Father sent the Son as the Savior of the world.”
  3. John 8:12 Jesus spoke, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
  4. John 12:46: “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.”
  5. John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
  6. 2 Corinthians 5:16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Why do the Scriptures tell us He came to earth? He came to earth to save us from our sins, to bring light where there was darkness, to reconcile us to the Father.  Yet, He healed.  What did the blind men say upon entering the home?  Have mercy.  I believe this is the primary reason Jesus healed.  Healing was not His mission, but being merciful, and now being human as well as being God Jesus felt the suffering, and wanted to alleviate it.

Jesus said, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”  They said, “Yes, Lord,” and He said, “according to your faith you are healed.”  Here is the sticking point in healing.  Jesus often preceded His healing by saying your faith has made you whole.  But he also said, Your sins are forgiven, rise up and walk.”

If faith is all that is needed to receive healing, why are some healed and some not?  I don’t know the answer for sure, but I have come to believe that sometimes Christians who are allowed to suffer reach more people in their suffering than they could if they were healed.

We have to remember, God did not send Christ into the world to save just the individual, He came into the world to save the world.  Deitrich Bonhoeffer said the church is not the church if it does not become a community of believers who then reach out to the world.  Sometimes a Christian who suffers graciously can reach people who could not be reached through any other means. As Christians, we need to be willing to accept that our suffering can serve to draw us and those around us closer to Christ, and as hard as it is, we have to be willing to accept that suffering.

Remember, God did not bring sickness and death into the world, man did.  When Adam was disobedient in the garden, he changed the world–if God had not allowed death to become a part of the human condition, then Adam would have lived for eternity in his sin.  Do you remember The Picture of Dorian Gray.  Gray was allowed to live a life of youth and beauty, while his picture changed to reflect the sin of the world and the sin in his heart.  That picture would have been what Adam saw every time he saw his reflection in a stream of water–a face carved into something monstrous because of the sin of eternity.

We must look no farther than Paul to see that if faith were the only ingredient in receiving our healing, he certainly would have been healed.  Yet, he had what he called a thorn in his side that he prayed for three times, yet it remained.

2 Cor 12: 7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We also should remember the story of King Hezekiah, Is 38 and 2 Kings 18.  Hezekiah became ill and the prophet Isaiah told him he would die in three days.  Hezekiah prayed and God extended his life by fifteen years.  During this time, he had a son, Manesseh,  who was the most evil king Israel had to endure.  Sometimes  it is better that we accept God’s original timetable for our lives and not ask for more.

By your faith you are healed ≠ you are not healed because of your little faith.

Matthew 11:2-6

2Now when John in prison heard about the activities of Christ, he sent a message by his disciples

3And asked Him, Are You the One Who was to come, or should we keep on expecting a different one?(A)

4And Jesus replied to them, Go and report to John what you hear and see:

5The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed (by healing) and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up and the poor have good news (the Gospel) preached to them. 6And blessed (happy, fortunate, and [a]to be envied) is he who takes no offense at Me and finds no cause for stumbling in or through Me and is not hindered from seeing the Truth.

Do you ever wonder why Jesus couldn’t just answer a question by saying, “Yes, yes I am.”  Do you think John was seeking proof of Jesus’ identity because he needed the assurance that Jesus was the Messiah, or was it for the benefit of his followers, who were soon to be left without a leader?  It could have been a little of both.

Jesus knew that John knew the Scriptures, so His answer referred him to the scripture in Isaiah that foretold His coming.

Isaiah 35:4-6

4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.

(New International Version translation)

What Jesus said should have consoled John and persuaded his followers.  He said the blind see, the lame walk, and the poor have the gospel, the good news, preached to them.

Do you remember how John leapt for joy when he was in his mother’s womb and Mary came for a visit?  If nothing else Jesus said convinced him of who He was, the mention of the good news should have sealed the deal.  After all, the good news is what John had preached for years.  “Prepare ye the way of the Lord–get ready for the Messiah is coming–I can hear the sounds of his feet as he approaches–my spirit leaps within me as I feel him drawing near.

Jesus ends by saying blessed is he who takes no offense at me and finds no cause for stumbling in or through me (or who does not lose faith because of me) and is not hindered from seeing the truth.  Jesus is the Messiah, He came to earth in the form of man, and he has left us a legacy.  May we be faithful to his calling, and not squander any of the legacy he has left.

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