This week I heard Pastor Harlene from Eagle Pass speak at our Professionals Meeting and she told this story: A daughter decided to set her widowed mother up on a blind date. Her mother tried to look her best; got her hair done; bought a new dress. The date arrived and he was eighty years old. They went on the date, and the daughter waited for her to come home. Her mother huffed in the house “Well I never”. “What is it mother?” The daughter asked. “Well, I had to slap him three times”. Mother, I had no idea he was a man like that…” “O’ not that” said the mother, I had to slap him three times to just keep him awake!
Today’s text brings us right to the heart of a crucial question. Two blind men cry out to Jesus for mercy. Jesus then asks them a question: Do you believe that I can do this? In other words, “Do you believe that I can heal you?” When they say “Yes” the Scripture tells us: “Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” According to their faith, they were healed.
The first problem that this presents is that we might draw the idea that we have the power to heal. In the 1992 movie Leap of Faith, Steve Martin plays a fake faith healer named Jonas Nightengale. After a series of fake miracles Jonas is confronted with a real illness, to which simply responds “You must not have enough faith”. But Jesus doesn’t quantify the faith needed. It doesn’t take much faith; or more faith, but rather some faith. Faith is not the healing power, but it is the vessel through which God will work. That doesn’t mean that God can’t heal you even if you don’t believe, but it is an ingredient that make the recipe for healing all the more meaningful. It is faith that God’s Holy Spirit can work in you.
Doubt on the other hand is something that can work counter to God’s power. Liken it to a scene from a movie in which a space shuttle is trying to time its orbital re-entry. And suddenly an engine thruster fails and the vehicle moves slightly off course. Doubt is a trajectory influencer and it will work counter to the work of the Holy Spirit. No doubt it is why the father prayed “Lord I believe, help my unbelief”.
So that brings us to the question: Do you believe that Jesus can do this? Do you believe that He can heal you? Not your neighbor; or your friend; but you? Do you believe he can heal your broken-ness? Heal your painful childhood memories? Heal your marriage? Do you believe He can heal your cancer? Restore your joy?
We sing: “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. (The United Methodist Hymnal (UMH)#362) We declare it in that song, but the question is: : Do you believe that Jesus can do this? Do you believe that He can heal you?
We sing: Would you be free from the burden of sin?