We live in a world of sorrow and suffering. People all around us are dealing with pain in their lives and God wants to use us to be the healing touch in the hearts of our family, friends, and neighbors.
If 90% of all sickness begins because of hurts and distresses within the heart of man, and if medical missionary work will be the final work and means of helping people, then we cannot be solely focused on food and herbs?
When Jesus healed the sick—and we know He healed many—how did He heal? What did He do? He knew the story of each individual. What was the lesson? What was the impact of their healing?
Let’s look at a few examples:
1. The paralytic (Matthew 9)—a man in the prime of life yet unable to accomplish anything except to ask for help. Jesus tells him that it is just as easy to say “thy sins be forgiven thee” as “take up thy bed and walk.”
In his story, we see the link between forgiveness and healing. We do not know specifically the sins that needed forgiving, but Jesus knew and so did the paralytic. Jesus reached into his innermost being and assured the man of His love, care, and forgiveness. He was given a new chance, a new life.
2. The woman caught in adultery (John 8)—filled with shame and horror at the prescribed consequences of her actions.
Jesus knew the circumstances that brought this woman to this point in her life. She was surrounded by many accusers, those who would rather see justice applied than mercy extended. But then there was Jesus. He saw who she could become and extended the Father’s character of love and mercy to one who didn’t want to be where she was.
His message was “Where are thine accusers? Neither do I condemn thee – go and sin no more.” He had faith in her and she responded.
3. Lazarus—a good friend and follower of Jesus. We have no record of him doing wrong. He lived on this planet and like us all, lived with the effects of sin. He became ill and died.
The purpose of Lazarus' death and resurrection was to show others about God’s power to change lives.
4. What about the demoniac in Mark 5? Imagine someone who lives around the corner who cannot be trusted with anything or anyone. He is violent, dirty, a madman. Can you think that such a one could become an upright citizen of your local community? Your church?
Again, Jesus sees further than you and I. He knows what brought the man to that point in his life. He knows what was allowed into the heart that allowed the access of demons to take control. He also knew how to set the man free, the man who silently cried out to be changed but didn’t know how.
Jesus spoke the Word, and the man became sane, in his right mind, able to tell others the good news of what had been done for him, in him.
5. What about Mary Magdalene (Luke 8)? She was an immoral woman, controlled by evil spirits. Why? We don’t know, except that the Scripture gives us the indication that when God’s Spirit is not in our heart, evil spirits take control and bring a result 7 times worse than before (see Matt. 12:43-45).
How did Jesus work with her? Did He just speak the Word once and she was delivered? Was it clay or a pool that helped her? He prayed for her; He interceded for her and she knew it! She had a living example before her that she was loved and cared for by Another. She learned by His example, His attitude, His empathy that she had value and could be changed.
What was the result? A converted individual used by God in many ways in spreading the gospel.
6. What about Nicodemus (John 3) – the pious member of the Sanhedrin council. Did he need healing? He didn’t think so at first. But his heart was longing for something he didn’t have and so he went to Jesus by night. An intelligent, yet apparently careful individual, he went for a secret interview with Jesus and the Great Physician told him he longed to be made new!
A renovation of the old wouldn’t work. Each of us needs a whole new wiring system in our heart. We need new motives, new modes of operation, new thinking, new attitudes, new actions and we can’t do it by our own will power and decision. We need power from outside of ourselves.
Nicodemus is an example of one who looked good on the outside, but needed help on the inside and Jesus knew how to meet that need. At the crucial time of Christ’s death, when all of His beloved disciples were hiding in fear, Nicodemus was one who set his fears aside and boldly showed himself attached to the cause of Christ.
7. Then there was Judas—a self-sufficient leader. Did he need healing? Did he have troubles within? While walking with Jesus, it appeared he had it all together, but Jesus knew that there were weak spots in the character and He sought to show Judas and teach him by example how to be different.
Jesus the Great Physician, Master Counsellor, Prince of Peace, could not change the heart of Judas. Why? Judas didn’t want to be changed. He was left to his own consequences of guilt and shame of his choice.
But Jesus didn’t see a stubborn attitude and forsake Judas. He worked with him, wooed him, even washed his feet—a subservient action to soften the heart of His betrayer.
Jesus was willing to do whatever He could to reach out a soul. Are we?
Helping Others, the Prerequisite:
As I work with people and struggle with my own challenges, I am learning that there are a lot of hurting people all around us and most of them feel like there is no one to help, no one who cares, no one who will listen without judgment or condemnation.
Are we good ambassadors for Jesus when it comes to helping prodigals come home? We often manifest the attitude and tone of the elder brother in the parable (Luke 15), thinking ourselves more righteous and seeking to prove our worth above another. This was what happened with the disciples of Jesus as they walked with their Master.
What did it take for them to be transformed, changed so that they could be the correct representatives of the character of God to the lost world? They needed Calvary! They had slept through Christ’s Gethsemane experience and now through shocked senses they saw their world crumble. Their petty arguments, selfish strivings and self-righteous pride were gone! They saw themselves as they really were—sinners in need of a Saviour. They then knew that they were no better than anyone else, and when Jesus rose from the dead and showed Himself to them, they were humble, sensitive, willing servants seeking to go and help others.
We need the same experience of the disciples.
In the next few articles, we will be discussing principles that we can use to be a help and a blessing to our brothers and sisters. Let us pray that we see the opportunities to help and be ready to lend a listening ear, a supportive shoulder, and share God's love.