Tag Archives: healing

Today’s Scripture – August 7, 2017

Luke 6:17-19 (NIV) He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

When most people think of Jesus’ disciples, they picture the Twelve. But there were actually multitudes who followed Him as disciples. Jesus had selected the Twelve out of all of those who followed Him to be His inner circle and, with the exception of Judas Iscariot, to lead the work of continuing to grow the kingdom after His departure.

But in the meantime, ALL of His disciples needed to learn more about the kingdom, how it operated, and what the people of the kingdom were to be like. But before He taught them, He saw to the needs of those who had come from all around the area to be healed of their diseases or to be set free from evil spirits.

Notice that the healing of the people and setting them free from evil influences was not a separate thing from Jesus teaching them about the kingdom. The two went hand in glove. Jesus, the very embodiment of the kingdom, healed the people and set them free as a sign that God’s kingdom was becoming a reality right in front to them. Then He taught them what the kingdom was all about, and how to live in it.

Later, after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, and after the Holy Spirit filled His followers on the day of Pentecost, the disciples often used the same process: they healed someone, or several people, and when a crowd had gathered, they used the miracle that had been done as a springboard to tell the people about Jesus and about the kingdom of God, and how to live in it. And, because of the power that was being demonstrated through the lives of these men, the people listened and believed, and great numbers flocked into the kingdom.

Father, thank You for this example from Jesus. Lord, we need that same power flowing through our lives today to help us to be powerful and effective witnesses of Your kingdom. Sadly, the lives of many people who go by the name of Christian are very little different than the lives of those we are trying to reach with the gospel; very little different in power, in purity, or in Your evident presence. So we are often seen as offering nothing to these people that they don’t already have. Those first disciples’ lives were of a completely different kind, a different quality than the lives of those around them due to the presence of Your Holy Spirit. And that difference was immediately apparent to everyone around them. Lord, unleash Your Holy Spirit in my life today, so that the whole world can see the difference, and hunger for You, the One who makes that difference. Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – August 2, 2017

Luke 6:6-11 (NIV) On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”
He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.

The Pharisees were bound up in their own definition of what work was to be avoided on the Sabbath. They had even decided that if someone cut their hand on the Sabbath, a bandage could be applied to control the blood, but no salve could be put on the wound until the Sabbath was over, because that could promote healing, and healing was considered work to be avoided on that one day each week. That’s why they were watching Jesus so closely. If He healed this man with the withered hand, they considered that doing work on the Sabbath, and they could then dismiss Jesus as a Sabbath-breaker, and a sinner.

Jesus knew that this was their line of thinking. He also knew that it was God’s intention to heal that man on that day. Jesus was not the kind of person to do the work of the Lord in secret, so He decided to confront the issue head-on.

He began by calling the man with the shriveled hand to the front, so that what He was doing could be seen by all. Then He confronted the Pharisees directly, challenging them to publicly declare what they believed was permissible on the Sabbath: to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to destroy life. Mark tells us (3:4) that they all remained silent. They weren’t even going to go on record as saying that it was okay to do good on the Sabbath, or to save a life, because that would possibly compromise their stand on healing on the Sabbath!

Their silence irritated Jesus, but it didn’t sway Him from His determination to follow through with what the Father had called Him to do. But HOW He did it really threw a wrench into the plans of the Pharisees. He simply commanded the man to stretch out his hand as if it were whole. He didn’t touch the man. He didn’t pray over him. He didn’t even speak a word of healing. Just “Stretch out your hand.” And when the man obeyed, the healing was instantaneous; the hand was made whole and was easily stretched out.

But this left the Pharisees in a terrible spot. They couldn’t really accuse Jesus of the healing, because none of His actions could be considered that kind of “work.” Simply telling the man to stretch out his hand wasn’t work, and neither was the man stretching out his hand in obedience. And the fact that the healing had actually happened left them open to the dreaded possibility that God Himself had done the healing on the Sabbath, which threatened to undermine their whole theological integrity on this issue.

But instead of reacting in an honest questioning of their beliefs that could have led them deeper into the truth, they dug their heels in out of anger, and determined that Jesus had to be destroyed.

Father, none of us likes to have our theology challenged, especially to have it challenged publicly. It makes us feel unsure and insecure. But if we stubbornly dig in our heels instead of coming to You and to Your word in an honest seeking after the truth, we run the risk of closing ourselves off to what You are trying to show us, to how You are challenging us to grow. Help me to always stay open to all of the light that You want to reveal to me, so that I can continue to be shaped and molded by Your word. Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – July 25, 2017

Luke 5:12-16 (NIV) While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

This man was about as unclean as a person could possibly get. He didn’t have just a spot of leprosy, say on his forehead like Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:19-21). He was literally covered with the dead and dying tissue that characterized this dreaded disease. The man was already considered dead by his family and friends; there was no way there could be any contact with him without all of them becoming unclean themselves, something that no one was willing to risk.

The man had heard of Jesus and how He could heal diseases with just a word. So when he saw Jesus walking toward him that day, he fell down with his face to the ground a good distance away, and yelled out, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He had no idea if Jesus would be willing. After all, he was a complete outcast, assumed by many to be suffering punishment from God Himself for some heinous sin or other. Jesus could easily have walked right by the man, giving him a wide berth, of course, and no one would blame him.

But Jesus was not about to let faith like this man had go unanswered. He kept on walking right up to him without varying His pace in the least. Then, to the wonder (and horror) of those with Him, He bent down and laid His hand on the man’s sore-covered body, saying gently, “I am willing. Be clean.”

Before the gasps of horror and disgust had even died away, the man felt power surge through his whole body, and he knew that he had been healed. He dared to look up from the ground, and found himself looking squarely into the smiling face of Jesus. Jesus held out His hand again, and this time the man took it with his own now clean hand, and climbed to his feet.

Jesus’ warning was not to imply that He had done anything wrong, or that He needed to be ashamed of touching and healing the leper. He simply wanted the focus of the healing to be God and His kingdom. So He instructed the man to simply go to a priest, and to walk through the law’s process for those who had been healed of leprosy (Leviticus 14:1-32) without telling everyone how he had been healed.

But, of course, the man couldn’t help but tell everyone he met about Jesus and about how He had reached through the disease to touch him and heal him. The end result was exponentially more people coming to Jesus to learn and to be healed. That was good for the kingdom, but it made it more difficult for Jesus to be able to spend the kind of time in communion with the Father that He needed in order to hear His voice clearly. But He adapted to the new circumstances, purposefully and frequently withdrawing from the crowds so that He could be alone with the God who not only had sent Him, but who directed His every step.

Father, the lessons here are clear: with You in our hearts, we don’t need to fear engaging with the unclean things in our society that need the light and shalom of You kingdom to bring them wholeness and make them clean. But, at the same time, I can’t do that and maintain my own purity and shalom unless I intentionally keep my connection with You strong and vital by spending lots of time in one-on-one communion with You. If Jesus Himself needed that to be able to effectively do the work of Your kingdom, I most surely do!

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Today’s Scripture – July 18, 2017

Luke 4:42-44 (NIV) At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

It was a really good thing having Jesus in town. He was far better than any doctor; He could heal any disease you could think of, and do it for free! Plus, He could cast out demons to boot!

In the morning when people came to Simon’s house for more healings, Jesus wasn’t there. They searched for Him, and found Him at the edge of town, praying in a quiet place.

By any measure, Jesus’ ministry would be considered a huge success by most people. He had people seeking Him out, and He had brought healing, wholeness, and freedom to dozens of people in a single day. But Jesus wasn’t feeling that successful. He had not come to be a great faith healer or exorcist. Those things were incidentals, the side effects of His real ministry, which was to preach the good news of the advent of the kingdom of God to God’s people.

Jesus could have just set up shop in Capernaum and been comfortable for some time, but He knew that that was just another temptation. He had been given a specific job to do by the Father for this stage of His ministry, and to not do it would be disobedience, no matter how successful He might seem to be.

Despite the protestations of the folks from Capernaum, He left that very day, and continued to spread the good news of the kingdom of God everywhere He went, all through Galilee and Judea.

Father, sometimes we see a way ahead that looks easy and “natural.” But often that way is the way of disobedience. The only way we can know Your way is not by how it looks to us, but by the clear leading of the Holy Spirit, pointing the way, and prodding us when we slow down or turn aside. Help me to always seek Your way, even if it looks treacherous, even if it means turning away from ease and public acclaim. Help me to be ever faithful to Your calling on my like, just like Jesus was. Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – July 16, 2017

Luke 4:38-41 (NIV) Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.
When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ.

First Jesus taught in the synagogue on the Sabbath, and while there, a demon showed itself in a man, and was cast out. Then Jesus went to Simon’s house, His home base in Capernaum, only to find that Simon’s mother-in-law had a high fever, which was potentially life-threatening. True to His normal methodology, Jesus didn’t pray for the woman, or anoint her with oil, or do any kind of ceremonies. He simply spoke a word of rebuke to the fever, and it went away, leaving the mother-in-law not only healthy and strong, but energetic enough to get up and serve them.

At sunset the Sabbath was over, and the devout of Capernaum felt free to bring their sick family members and friends to Jesus to be healed. There were lots of sicknesses and disabilities that Jesus healed with a simple touch, bringing the powerful wholeness of the kingdom of God into contact with the unwholeness in those bodies. And when that contact happened, it was no contest; the wholeness completely replaced the unwholeness in every body and mind, making the people well.

When those controlled by demons were brought to Jesus, there was no need for ceremonies or rituals, and no power struggle. Jesus simply commanded the demons to leave as He did the demon in the man at the synagogue, and they left. Some of the demons tried to blow Jesus’ cover by identifying Him as the Son of God and the Messiah as they were leaving, but Jesus rebuked them and forbade them to speak.

The work that Jesus was doing was incredible. Nothing was too complicated for Him to resolve; nothing was too difficult for Him to heal; no demon was strong enough to defy Him or resist His commands. People came to Him sick, disabled, broken,, and oppressed, and all of them left whole.

Father, we are so easily intimidated by dreaded diseases or by hard cases that seem to be beyond even Your ability to heal. So we end up praying with doubt in our hearts and fear in our minds, and just hope that You will be able to do something. How unlike Jesus we are! He was always so connected to You that there was a constant flow of Your power, Your wholeness flowing through Him, so that nothing was too hard or challenging. Lord, we need that kind of powerful connection to You in our own lives today. Our world is so broken, and the people all around us so in need of the wholeness that only You can bring into their lives. Flow through us, Lord, so that we, like Jesus our model, can bring Your touch of wholeness to those broken people, and thus glorify Your name and expand Your kingdom. Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – March 4, 2017

Matthew 20:29-34 (NIV) As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him.  Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
Jesus stopped and called them.  “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
“Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”
Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

As Jesus and company were leaving Jericho to head up the hill to Bethphage and on to Jerusalem, Jesus was surrounded by quite a crowd.  Two beggars at the city gate (one of whom was named Bartimaeus – see Mark 10:46-52) heard the crowd and asked what was happening.  When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they perked right up.  They had heard about Jesus, and that He had healed many who were blind.  And now He was here!

But He was passing by and they couldn’t see where He was.  So they yelled at the top of their lungs, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”  The title “Son of David” was more than just a reference to Jesus’ ancient ancestry.  It was a popular title for the Messiah Himself.

The people around Bartimaeus and his friend were annoyed at their loud screaming, and told them to shut up.  But both of them realized that this could be their only opportunity, and kept on shouting with all of their strength.

Finally, above the noise of the crowd, Jesus heard the voices and the familiar title, and stopped.  He sent someone to bring the two men to Him (cf. Mark 10:49-50).  Jesus’ question to them was not as strange as it might seem.  Even though the men were blind, Jesus wanted to make sure that that was really what they wanted fixed, and that they were able to formulate that request clearly enough to know that it wasn’t merely a whim, but was the genuine desire of their hearts.

Their response, “Lord, we want our sight,” was enough for Jesus, and He touched both of their eyes, and instantly they could see perfectly.  Then He started out of the city once more, but now with two more followers joyfully trailing along in His wake.

Father, I have read this bit of history many times without really considering why Jesus asked these two men what they wanted.  How often do I come to You at my first impulse with a poorly thought out request, instead of really thinking through the issue, and then asking for what I need?  Help me, Lord, to think clearly before I come to You, so that my requests are focused on what I truly need.  Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – January 17, 2017

Matthew 14:34-36 (NIV) When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret.  And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country.  People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.

After the successful feeding of the 5,000, there was no time to rest on laurels.  There were still many people who had not yet heard the message of the kingdom, and time was ticking away.  So Jesus had His disciples put ashore in Gennesaret, just west of Capernaum.

Jesus had been through this area many times, so was quickly recognized.  As soon as He was, the word went out that He was back in town, and the people started flooding in, bringing their sick.

Jesus didn’t really mind, and He didn’t feel put upon, even when people just wanted to touch the tassels on the edge of His robe to be healed.  He allowed what many feel would have been an intrusion on His personal space, because the healings that the people received from Him did two very important things.

First, it brought wholeness, shalom, into the lives of God’s people, not only a positive blessing in itself, but a clear sign that God’s kingdom was becoming a reality right where they were living.  Second, it opened the hearts of the people to hear the teachings about the kingdom that were never absent from Jesus’ lips.  Very few would receive a miracle from Jesus and then be closed to His words.  The power He brought into contact with their lives gave Him the right to be heard and taken seriously.

That is one of the reasons why it seems that there is so little openness to the gospel today.  The majority of people presenting it have no power.  Their lives are qualitatively no different from the lives of the people they are trying to reach.  They have no personal experience of transformation to share.  So they are perceived as mainly sharing a philosophy or a religion, and most people have had more than enough of both of those in their lives.  So they close their ears and move on.

Some might claim that people shouldn’t need signs, and miracles, and stories of powerful transformation; that the message of the gospel should stand on its own.  But Jesus Himself didn’t present the gospel that way.  His words rang with the authority of personal experience with the Father Himself, and were nearly always accompanied by actions, miracles, and signs that were designed to clearly demonstrate that the kingdom of God that He was telling them about was a here-and-now reality.

Father, so many today pooh-pooh the need for miracles in sharing the gospel, that it’s really eye opening to realize that Jesus Himself never did.  (The one possible exception being John 4:48, but even then He followed up immediately with a miracle for this father in need.)  Instead, Jesus allowed Your power to flow through Him constantly, so that the people could see that what He was telling them was real.  And He encouraged His disciples to use the same technique (cf. Matthew 10:7-8; John 14:12-14).  It doesn’t do us any good to try to design new ways to share the good news of the kingdom when those ways are powerless and ineffective.  We will never be able to design a way that is better than the way Jesus used.  Help us to BE the kingdom, just like He was, help us to allow YOUR power to flow through our lives, so that our message today is as powerful as His was then, and so that lives can be changed as they were when the Church was new.  Amen.

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