Tag Archives: healing

Today’s Scripture – March 26, 2018

Luke 19:1-10 (NIV) Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.'”
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

The road to Jerusalem passed through the city of Jericho, about ½ mile from the remains of the city destroyed by the Israelites under Joshua’s leadership. Jerusalem was close enough that after lunch in Jericho, Jesus and His entourage would still be able to make it there before nightfall. Luke arranges the telling of the events in Jericho to bring the healing of the blind man and the transformation of Zacchaeus into immediate conjunction to emphasize their commonalities. (Remember that the chapter breaks were not introduced into the Scriptures until almost 1200 years after the gospels were written.)

In the first event was a man who couldn’t see Jesus because he was physically blind. In the second event was a man who couldn’t see Jesus because he was physically short. In both cases, the full view of Jesus brought salvation. In the case of the blind man, his faith that Jesus could cause him to see brought him not only sight, but salvation. (The phrase in verse 18:42 often translated “Your faith has healed you,” literally says, “Your faith has saved you.”) In the case of Zacchaeus, his faith in Jesus that obeyed Jesus’ call to bring Him into his house brought salvation and a restoration of spiritual sight that enabled him to see his sin and moved him to make restitution to those he had wronged.

Make no mistake, Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus was a divine appointment, orchestrated by the Father. That was why Jesus used the phrase “I must stay at your house today.” See John 4:4 for another example of this kind of language. When Jesus uses the words “must” or “have to” with regard to his actions, it is a transparent way of identifying that He is following direct orders from God Himself.

Zacchaeus was a hated man in Jericho. Not only was he a tax collector for the Roman government, considered a sellout by most of the Jewish people, he, like many other tax collectors, had grown rich by over-collecting the taxes due and keeping the surplus. This resentment by the people was the reason for their shocked reaction when Jesus went to lunch at his house: “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner!”

But it didn’t take very long for the mere presence of Jesus to soften Zacchaeus’ heart, and to help him to see himself in a new light. And what he saw dismayed him, and moved him not only to repentance, but to making restitution to those he had wronged. This would have cost him a large portion of his fortune, but in the presence of Jesus, he realized that he stood to gain much more than mere money.

Father, the blind man knew he could not see, which made him pursue Jesus. Zacchaeus believed that he could see, which made it necessary for Jesus to pursue him. But in the end, the presence of Jesus gave sight to both, and brought salvation to both as well. Help me to always remember that Jesus didn’t just come to heal, but to save, so that, as I follow Him, those priorities inform my own ministry. Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – March 22, 2018

Luke 18:35-43 (NIV) As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.
Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.

This blind beggar couldn’t see what was happening, but there was nothing wrong with his ears – he could hear just fine, and he heard very clearly a large crowd coming down the street into the city. When he heard that Jesus was coming through on His way to Jerusalem, his heart leaped up within him. He had heard all kinds of wonderful things about Jesus of Nazareth, that He had done amazing miracles, healing the sick, casting out demons, restoring sight to the blind, even raising the dead! Surely Jesus could heal him!

He immediately began to cry out at the top of his lungs in order to be heard over the noise of the crowd. Jesus was still far back on the street, but the beggar couldn’t see that. He could only hear that the front edge of the crowd was right in front of him.

His cry was simple on its surface, but rich in meaning and full of faith. The title “Son of David” was the vernacular equivalent of “Messiah.” Everyone had been taught that the Messiah would oust the Romans and the Herods, and take over the throne of Israel. As such, the Messiah would have to come from the line of David. So the beggar immediately affirmed that he believed that Jesus was the Messiah.

His words “have mercy on me” were similar to his cries for alms that he used every day. But this time they demonstrated an abundant faith in who Jesus was and in what He could do. He wanted more from Jesus that a couple of coins; he wanted Jesus to restore His sight, and in doing so to restore his life.

Those in the front of the crowd tried to shut the beggar up, but his need drove his voice to even higher decibels, until finally Jesus was close enough to hear him, and had His followers bring the beggar to Him. The beggar had been bold up to this point, and his boldness had brought him right into Jesus’ presence. So when Jesus asked, “What do you want Me to do for you,” there was no timidity in his answer: “Lord, I want to see.” Clear, unambiguous, bold.

Jesus never touched the man; He simply pronounced his sight restored, and suddenly the man could see clearly. The beggar realized in a moment that he was a beggar no more, that his life had just been graciously handed back to him. And now he got to make the decision as to what he would do with it. As Jesus and His entourage began to move on into Jericho, his decision was made, and he fell in with the crowd, and began to follow Jesus.

Father, this beggar’s boldness in prayer, his importunity that would not stop until he received what he desperately needed from Jesus, is exactly what Jesus taught about persistence in prayer (Luke 18:1-8). He prayed, he persisted, even in the face of strong opposition, and he received. Help me to put that same lesson into practice in my own life, so that I can receive what I need each day from Your gracious hand. Amen.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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