Friday, December 19, 2014

December 15 – How Jesus reacts to sickness

Then a man with a serious skin disease came to Him and, on his knees, begged Him: “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”  Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched him. “I am willing,” He told him. “Be made clean.”  Immediately the disease left him, and he was healed.  (Mark 1:40-42 HCSB)

When I offer to pray for people to be healed, a common response is, “But is it God’s will for me?”  That was the question Evelyn and I asked when we were faced with her degenerating eye disease many years ago.  We loved the thought of healing, but were confused about what God’s will was for us.   That confusion will block anyone from praying and believing with all their heart, and in turn, blocks their healing from happening.

This story depicts the instant reaction of Jesus when a sick man came to him.  First of all, Jesus was moved with compassion.  He is not the coldhearted judge that glares down from His throne in heaven, as many people picture Him.  He saw the suffering of that man and loved him.  From the beginning of the world, Jesus witnessed the injustice of how the first sin opened the way for disease and death to plague humanity, and now He was speaking to one more victim of that curse.  Jesus didn’t ask what sins the man had committed, He just reached out His hand, touched him, and proclaimed him clean.  “I am willing,” were Jesus words then, and they continue to be His words today.

Many of us are like that man, we believe that Jesus could heal, but we’re unsure if He wants to heal us in particular.  Jesus response, together with so many other promises of healing in the Bible (James 5:15, Isaiah 53:5, Matthew 10:8 for example), should put this doubt to rest.  God has compassion on you.  He sees more than any of us just how much the devil is behind the many problems we go through, including sickness and pain.  If by His stripes we are healed, as Isaiah says, then our healing has been already made possible for us.  What we need is to believe.

To believe means to trust in God’s character, to know Him intimately.  You know what kind of things your loved ones are capable of.  You know when someone would never lie to you or would give you the shirt off their backs if you needed anything.  But people are fallible and not trustworthy compared to God.  If you can trust in sinners who love you, you need to begin trusting in the Mighty God who loves you with a sacrificial love, who will never fail you.  Believe now that Jesus is willing, that He has compassion on you, and that your healing is for His honor and glory, not for your own.  If you are struggling to overcome your doubts, speak to your pastor today.

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