Summary: Jesus cares about our suffering. Then why does he sometimes not heal us?

It seems that the number of diseases we are subject to as human beings is endless. There are so many kinds of diseases, disorders, and dysfunctions that doctors can barely keep track of them all. And new ones are being added all the time [AIDS - now the leading cause of death worldwide among people age 25-44, according to the World Health Organization] [CDC journal - "Emerging Infectious Diseases"].

Does God care about that? Is he moved by sickness and disease? And if so, what can we expect Him to do about it? What promises has He made concerning our physical health and well-being?

This morning, I intend to show that Jesus Christ is:

· a compassionate healer, who gives relief from suffering because of His great love and mercy; and

· a powerful healer; who has the ability to eradicate every disease, heal every wound, eliminate every physical ailment;

· a sovereign and wise healer, who sometimes delays healing, permits suffering to continue, even unto death, because He has a purpose for suffering.

First, does Jesus care about the suffering that we experience due to sickness and disease?

’When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick." - Matthew 14:13-14 (NIV)

"Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" . . . . Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him." - Matthew 20:30-34 (NIV)

"A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured." - Mark 1:40-42 (NIV)

What does this tell us about Christ?

· That he healed people out of love. He healed because He cared. He was not merely a medical professional, a "health care provider" going about his daily work. He grieved with these people; He shared their pain. Have you ever been treated by a doctor whom you sensed cared little or nothing about you as a person? [You’re not a name, just "the appendix in room 318"]. How did that make you feel? Jesus was not like that.

· It also tells us that if, for some reason, Christ does not heal us, it isn’t due to a lack of love or compassion.

This is difficult for us to accept, especially if we have children. When my kids are sick or injured, I would do almost anything to restore them to health; to relieve their suffering. I would willingly give my own life to save the life of one of my children. Perhaps you have had a child go through serious illness - you know the feeling I’m talking about. Or perhaps you have had other loved ones suffer due to illness. And you know that if there were anything you could have done for them, you would have, because you love them.

So why doesn’t he always answer our prayers for healing? Is it because He doesn’t care? No.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. - John 15:13 (NIV)

Jesus has proven his love by giving His life for us. Which requires more love, to heal someone, or to give your life for them? We believe that we would give our lives for our children, but He has already done so for us. As difficult as it may be for us to understand, He loves our children even more than we do. He loves our husbands, our wives, our parents, our families even more than we do. So when he chooses not to heal, in circumstances when we would heal if we had the power, it isn’t due to a lack of love or compassion.

Second, does Jesus have the ability to relieve our suffering and cure our diseases?

"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness." - Matthew 9:35 (NIV)

"[T]he people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them." - Luke 4:40 (NIV)

Then why does Jesus not always heal?

First, we should understand that for those who trust in Christ, complete physical healing is assured. Every disease will be cured, every disability corrected, every weakness eliminated. So the only question is one of timing - will we be healed at the resurrection or before?

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