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19. Good News for the Sick

F. A Personal Word

If I was healed by the laying on of hands and by the fervent prayers of a few men and women, following the guidance of God's Holy Scriptures (James 5:14-16), why should not others be healed who are in similarly dire need? If a power house is close to you and you are in need of power, should you not avail yourself of its presence and prepare to receive its benefits in your home for all who reside there?

So if you are sick or know someone sick, I invite you to share in those blessings in which I was invited to share and now cherish. It has been the intention of this book to introduce you to what God has done in the past for the sick through Jesus the Messiah and His Holy Spirit and what He is able to do for you and for others today. If you seek healing for yourself or for another, know that God has graciously gifted many believers with the power to heal the sick in the Name of Jesus and has offered adequate guidance through His Scriptures how to go about it. God desires you, too, to be holy and to lead a holy and godly life; He wants your bodies to be His holy temples.

As you ponder this invitation, your need, and your response, allow me to put them into clear Biblical perspective for your prayerful meditation: Know that the Holy Bible states that God saves us by grace through faith in Jesus the Messiah. At the same time, the Bible teaches that faith without good works is dead. Stated otherwise, God saves us by faith in Jesus in order that we do good works, not that we do good works in order that we be saved. It is like a well: if the well is not clean, it gives out only dirty water. The well must first be cleaned; only then can it provide clean water. Yes, only then can it provide clean water – and must provide clean water, if it is to justify its own existence and fulfil its function as a blessing for the village, i.e., to slake the thirst of each individual within the community, and even others outside also.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that the accounts of Jesus' healings not only demonstrate God's grace but also often indicate how Jesus expected them who found healing to respond in obedience to Him and to His command: The paralytic was asked to rise, pick up his mat and walk (Mark 2:11); the man with the withered hand had to stretch out his hand (Mark 3:5); the blind man was requested to go to a pool to wash out the mud which Jesus had applied to his eyes (John 9:7). They trusted His promises, acted upon them, and found blessing for themselves.

But was that all that Jesus expected from those whom He healed? What happened after they returned to their respective homes and communities, healthy and happy, strong, with new hope and opportunity? Recall the following responses in Scripture:

1. When Jesus healed His disciple Simon Peter's mother-in-law, she began to serve Jesus and His disciples. (Mark 1:29-31)

2. When Jesus requested the lady with an issue of blood to explain before the crowd what happened to her, she explained. (Mark 5:24-34)

3. When Jesus was in the land of the Gerasenes and expelled an unclean spirit from a man possessed with this spirit, He told the man: “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” (Mark 5:19) The man obeyed. “So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.” (Mark 5:20)

4. When the blind man received his sight, he openly witnessed before Jesus' enemies how Jesus had healed him, and later confessed before Jesus Himself his faith in Jesus. (John 9:38; see Glossary, Messiah.)

Thus, as I have taken this opportunity to invite you and others who are sick to pray God to heal you in the Name of Jesus and to understand the implications of your prayer, so I would call upon you to dedicate yourself to Him after you recover from your illness also. Do not waste your new health and vitality in sin. Do not keep God's blessing upon you to yourself. Give thanks to God in word and deed – before others also. Let your lifestyle reflect your healing in your body, mind and heart. And boldly, yet sensitively and lovingly, share the joy of your new life, your new hope and your salvation, remembering what it cost God to heal and to redeem you through Jesus the Messiah.

And, finally, whatever your condition strive to imitate the attitude of that great follower of Jesus who, inspired by God's Spirit, wrote:

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasant to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practise hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay any one evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:1-21)

“Come and listen, all who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; His praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” (Psalm 66:16-20)

Lord, whose love in humble service
Bore the weight of human need,
Who upon the cross, forsaken,
Worked your mercy’s perfect deed:
We, your servants, bring the worship
Not of voice alone, but heart;
Consecrating to your purpose
Ev’ry gift which you impart.
Still your children wander homeless;
Still the hungry cry for bread;
Still the captives long for freedom;
Still in grief we mourn our dead.
As you, Lord, in deep compassion
Healed the sick and freed the soul,
By your Spirit send your power
To our world to make it whole.
As we worship, grant us vision,
Till your love’s revealing light
In its height and depth and greatness
Dawns upon our quickened sight,
Making known the needs and burdens
Your compassion bids us bear,
Stirring us to ardent service,
Your abundant life to share.
(Lutheran Book of Worship, Augsburg Publishing House, 1979)

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