16 November 2009

Three healings

Have you ever noticed what a large part of Jesus' earthly ministry was focused on healing? The blind received sight, the deaf heard, demons were cast out, and the dead were raised. Over and over again, He healed. In Mark 2, we read of Jesus healing many. "That evening, at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the city was gathered together at the door" (v. 32-33).

I am most impressed by the stories of the specific healings. These stories reveal desperation, hope, and faith and teach us about Christ's mercy. We meet real people in these stories.

A leader named Jairus demonstrated desperation in Mark 5. A leader in the synagogue and probably a Pharisee, he should have been skeptical even critical of Jesus, yet when it really mattered, he fell at Christ's feet, "imploring" him to come and lay hands on his daughter, who was "at the point of death." We know that by this point, Christ had already been criticized by the Pharisees (Mark 3), yet he agreed to come along. Along the way, Jesus was interrupted, and word came that it was too late and the daughter had died. Jesus immediately intervened, telling the ruler "do not fear, only believe." Jesus made his way into the crowded house, amidst scoffers who doubted the power of God to heal, even defeat death. Jesus cleared the room and raised the girl, solidifying Jairus's faith.

In the story above, Jesus was interrupted by a woman, a woman who bled constantly for a dozen years. Many doctors tried to help her, running up charges, but she continued to worsen. She was clinging to a thread of hope thinking that if she could just get close enough to Jesus to brush his garment, she would finally be healed. She fought her way through the crowd, inching closer to hope realized and she finally reaches out her arm and brushes his garment. Jesus stopped, in the midst of the crowd pressing in from every side and turned because he perceived that his power went out from him. He asked, "Who touched me?" and she falls fearfully at his feet telling him of her hope. Because of her faith, he heals her as well.

One of the greatest demonstrations of faith in Christ's power to heal is found in Matthew 8. A centurion, a Roman soldier, approaches Christ and asks that his servant be healed. Jesus volunteers to come, but the soldier tells him that he does not expect his presence, only his word, knowing that the power that it holds. Jesus marveled at the faith of the centurion and again we see his healing power.

These stories all provide different views of Christ's power to heal, yet with each person, we see Jesus meeting their needs, granting their requests. What can we learn from these combined stories? With each of these people, faith was at the core. They had hope in Christ's ability to heal. His ability to intervene with conditions where medicine yielded little success--chronic bleeding, paralysis, even death--was profound.

In their faith, Jesus healed. Let it be so with us.

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