Jesus our Healer

Mark 1: 29-31

February 8th & 9th, 2009


            According to the a recent study by the Coalition for the Advancement of Health Through Behavioral and Social Science Research (CAHT-BSSR), up to 90 million adult Americans have some sort of chronic illness, and 22 million Americans have 3 or more chronic illnesses.    As some of you know quite well, a chronic illness affects almost every aspect of your life.  For example, it changes your mood, hinders ones sleep,  takes from ones pocketbook as expenses are added, and one simply cannot get as much done as one would like.  I would venture to say the chronic illnesses back then were even more prominent.  So it is not surprising, that when Jesus comes along and really does grant healing, people swarmed the man.     The New Testament records 23 separate miracles of healing along with many other general healings.  Her we see that the Savior, your Savior and mine, is concerned about physical healing as well as spiritual healing.  He came in the flesh, he rose physically, and he promises to come again to restore us physically and spiritually.     Jesus came to heal the “whole” person. 

            Chronic illness, sickness, disease  really were not supposed to be part of the picture, at least prior to the fall into sin.   However, once the fall happened, all the diseases, infections, and basic breaking down of life let loose.  If you eat of it, you will die, the Lord says to Eve, and he might have added along with that everything that surrounds death (sorrow, pain, sickness, and the like     Psalm 90 says “The length of our days is seventy years or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow for the quickly pass, and we fly away.  Some might say this is to pessimistic, but to the psalmist it simply was reality.   However, Jesus came to bring a new reality. 

            When Jesus came and began his ministry, he begin his reversal of the fall, by physically and spiritually healing those with various sicknesses, diseases, and even the demon possessed.      In the book of Mark, almost every chapter speaks of Jesus power, care, and compassion in his healing.   Lepers, paralytics, shrivled hands, the woman who bled for 12 years, the deaf, the blind, and the list goes on.    Today we see his one of his first “healings” that takes place as he leaves the synagogue.  Peter’s mother in law was in bed with a fever, and without a lot of “incantations, and hubbly boo” he simply touched her, helped her up, and the fever left her.  Jesus shows us his power, but also his compassionate heart for her whole being.   Yet, notice that the aim of his ministry wasn’t just to make sure everything is running smoothly (perfect health).   For he came to preach.  In other words, his healing ultimately came in what he proclaimed, in his presence.  He didn’t just go places to heal, as a matter of fact most of healings kind of happen o the side.  Rather he came to have people to repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand, he is at hand.   He came to let everyone know that the kingdom of God was among them, and it was for them.    As if to say, you think this healing is grand, you really haven’t seen anything yet.        

            We might be tempted to say “if only Jesus would do such a thing today his instantaneous physical healing would save us a lot of valuable time, money, and energy spent on getting well.   Wow, what if Jesus would reach down  and give us what Simon’s mother in law received.   .   People would be coming out of the woodwork and fill this sanctuary.   Folks he still does heal today.     The only difference between the miracles of the New Testament compared to what he usually does today is the time frame, and the “middle man”.   By middle man I mean he uses doctors, pills, time, surgeries, which point toward Jesus “main event.  In place of his hand, he uses medicine, but the effect is the same.  That event was the cross and resurrection reality, which allows us to say “yes he does heal, we are healed, and he will heal”.   That main event was to meet death, disease, sin at its most powerful point,  to die, and  with that death take with him all our death, diseases (surely he took up our infirmities), and death itself.   Early Christians knew that healing was simply part of Christian love, and part of the life of Christ.  It is this healing nature of Jesus, which caused many of the first hospitals to come into existence.  In a book titled “Under the influence”, the author says that Christian hospitals were the world’s first voluntary charitable institutions.  According to one scholar there is no certain evidence of any medical institution supported by voluntary contributions till we come to Christian days.”  Surely he takes up our infirmities, and carries our sorrows. 


             Healing is a present reality for the Christian in the sense that on Calvary’s cross when Jesus said it is finished, our salvation was complete.  The Bible says that  “by his wounds we are healed”.   Yet, the chronic illnesses and others ailments, we may not experience until heaven itself.    Sometimes there are no answers to the why for our suffering?  At least not quick answers.  Job was as righteous as they come.  In fact, it was because he was so righteous that Satan was allowed to do virtually everything to him but have his life.   Job’s “religious” friends as well meaning as they were, tried to explain why this was happening.  They said maybe it was something wrong he did or did not do.   God doesn’t explain why the sorrow, but he does promise that things will get better.    Job’s disease runs its course, and he is restored.  We are never given a satisfying answer to the why answer, at least not to us.  Even though much was restored at the end of Job, we know he like Lazarus in the NT died again even after his restoration.  The same holds true for ever person healed by Jesus, they died again, which is why the message of Calvary and the open tomb is so important.       

            Another scenario, a man blind from birth is pointed out by the disciples.  They ask him to explain who sinned this man or his parents.   What did I do to deserve this? Why is this judgment being placed upon him?  Jesus says neither this man nor his parents.

Rather the work of God is going to be displayed in his life.    Jesus loves us to much to allow us to try to figure out why such and such happened.  In Jesus we see very clearly that God’s desire is not that we remain sick.  If this was his desire why do the healings.?   Nor does he cause disease, its not a punishment. Now he can use it as a discipline, but not as a punishment.   Ultimately the punishment of God was placed on Jesus.   Paul says in Romans 8:1 there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.   

            Jesus doesn’t leave us in our chronic conditions.   He doesn’t leave us in death.  The bible says, by his wounds we have been healed.  He will raise us up from the grave.   At that point all those prayers for healing reach their fulfillment. He continues his resurrection work for us at that point, and takes us to himself.  Where he is there is ultimate healing. Amen.