Tag Archives: healing

Today’s Scripture – January 10, 2018

Luke 13:10-17 (NIV) On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”
The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”
When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.

The conflicts between Jesus and the religious leaders over Sabbath rules continues. Even though Jesus healed on the Sabbath on several occasions, breaking the Sabbath rules that the rabbis had enacted over the centuries before, He never broke the Sabbath the way that God designed it. He did not pursue His livelihood on the Sabbath. But He did consciously act on God’s agenda.

In this case, it was God’s will to heal this crippled woman who had come to the synagogue to worship Him and to hear Jesus teach. She had not come to be healed, and indeed had no expectations that a healing was in store for her. She had been profoundly crippled for eighteen long years, and had simply resigned herself to the fact that she would be crippled like that for the rest of her life.

As usual, Jesus did not heal her in a corner, which would have been safer for Himself, but which would have brought no glory to God the Father. Instead, He called her to the front of the synagogue, proclaimed her free of her infirmity, and placed His hands on her. The wholeness flowed through her and healed her instantaneously, and the now upright woman praised God for her healing.

The synagogue ruler was not indignant that Jesus had healed the woman, but that He had done so on the Sabbath. But Jesus pointed out to him and to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who were there that, according to their own definitions, they themselves did “work” on the Sabbath every time they fed and watered their animals. They untied them, freeing them from the constraints that prevented them from obtaining the food and water that they needed, and led them out to where food and water could be obtained. In a very real sense, what Jesus had done was similar, unbinding the woman from her long-standing disability that was severely limiting her life and her ability to get what she needed on her own.

Jesus’ answer stymied His critics. He was simply right, and they were simply wrong, and they knew it. They had no comeback, so they merely sat in silence as the people around them rejoiced over what Jesus was accomplishing.

Father, we can still get mired in our own rules, and end up limiting what  You can do through us because it doesn’t fit with our preconceptions of who You are and how You operate today. Help us to broaden our minds, to listen carefully to Your voice and, when You speak, simply obey without invoking a lot of rules and limitations. Amen.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Scripture Meditations

Today’s Scripture – September 28, 2017

Luke 8:51-56 (NIV) When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead.
But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.

Jesus often made pronouncements based on spiritual reality that seemed like foolishness to those whose eyes were only focused on physical realities. In this case, when Jesus and His party neared Jairus’ house, they could hear the wailing and sobbing of those mourning the death of this twelve-year-old girl. That was the physical reality.

But Jesus knew what He was going to do for this girl. He saw a reality that was hidden from the tear-blurred eyes of the family and friends. So He told them “She is not dead but asleep.” That was the spiritual reality. He was not telling them that she wasn’t really physically dead – she was, and the evidence of her death was so incontrovertible that everyone laughed at Him in response. He was trying to tell them that the girl’s current state was only temporary, that she would soon be “awakened” to life. (He used this same figure of speech when He talked to His disciples about Lazarus – that he had “fallen asleep,” and that Jesus was going to “wake Him up” (John 11:11). He then had to explain that He had meant that Lazarus had died (verse 14).)

But the people in Jairus’ house were blind to the spiritual reality. Their blindness didn’t discourage Jesus – they would all see the truth soon enough. He simply walked over to the bed where the girl lay, took her by the hand, and shouted, as if to one in deep sleep, “My child, get up!” Immediately, the girl took a deep breath and opened her eyes. Jesus helped her to sit up, and ordered her family to give her something to eat.

The family was obviously flabbergasted. They were sure that she had died. But they couldn’t deny the fact that she was now alive, and, as far as they could see, she had no trace of the fever that had killed her; she was completely healthy and strong.

Jesus swore them all to secrecy, not to keep the Father from getting glory, but to prevent Him from being mobbed in the future by crowds of people bringing corpses to Him to be resurrected. Physical death is the normal end for all mankind, and Jesus did very few resurrections. Those He did do were done as specific signs, and they were temporary; all of those raised to life would die again. Only Jesus rose from the dead never to die again, the first fruits of all those who will rise at the last day, incorruptible forever.

Father, spiritual reality always trumps physical reality. If You make a pronouncement, whether it is that a disease is healed, a sin is forgiven, or even that a death is temporary, that is the reality, and we need to take You at Your word, and move forward in faith. Help me, Lord, to keep my eyes and ears open to You and Your word as You speak wonders to me, that I can then share with others. Amen.

Leave a comment

Filed under Scripture Meditations

Today’s Scripture – September 25, 2017

Luke 8:40-42 (NIV) Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him.

Jesus had returned from the eventful trip to the region of the Gerasenes, and was immediately mobbed by the people of Capernaum, who wanted to see more miracles. But one man, Jairus, the synagogue ruler, came to Jesus on a special mission.

Jairus was no gawker or spectator. And he didn’t bring with him anyone for Jesus to heal. His twelve-year-old daughter was far too sick to leave the house. In fact, the doctors had told the whole family that she was dying, and that they could do no more for her. The signs of death were clearly on the girl, and the family had lost all hope and had begun the mourning process.

But then Jairus heard the news that Jesus had come back to town and, without a word of explanation, he headed out the door to the waterfront. If Jesus would only come before his daughter died, surely He could heal her and save her life.

Jesus was surrounded by a huge crowd, but Jairus’ desperation propelled him through the throng, right into Jesus’ presence, where he fell to his knees. His plea was simple: “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” (Mark 5:23 NIV)

That plea demonstrated a huge amount of faith that did not rest merely on desperation, but on Jairus’ knowledge of what Jesus had done before, and what he knew that He could do now. And it was that strong faith that moved Jesus to start immediately for Jairus’ house, pushing through the crushing crowds.

Father, we need to maintain that same faith in Jesus’ ability that Jairus had. We have adequate testimony of His ability in the gospels and the book of Acts, as well as the testimony of multiplied millions of witnesses through the ages. Add to that what He has done in our own lives, and there is no rational reason to doubt Him. I know that He has already done so much in my own life, and those acts of transformation, restoration, healing, and empowerment should form the basis of a boundless faith in my heart. Help me to keep all of these before me every day, so that my faith never falters, but continually grows in strength as Jesus’ faithfulness to me continues to be demonstrated. Amen.

Leave a comment

Filed under Scripture Meditations

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Scripture Meditations

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Scripture Meditations

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Scripture Meditations

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Scripture Meditations