Summary: Our church inaugurated a healing service this week. This was the sermon to introduce the congregation to our new healing services.

Hillsborough Reformed Church at Millstone

April 30, 2006 Easter III

John 5:1-18

“Do You Want to Be Healed?”

When we talk about Christian healing, we start with a question – “Do you want to be well?”

That may seem like a “no-brainer.”

Of course, I want to be well! What do you think?

But it is the very question Jesus asked that day of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda.

The answer is not so obvious as you think.

What does it mean to be well? There was a TV commercial not long ago that made the seemingly wise claim, “When you’ve got your health, you’ve got everything?”

Oh really? Is that true?

Well it certainly is not biblical.

Physical health is NOT the highest good. Thank God!

Otherwise the vast majority of people would be left out. What about people born with deformities? What about people crippled in accidents? What about people suffering from chronic illness.? Are they inferior people? I have celiac disease – does this mean my life is sub-standard?

There is another part of health, in fact an overarching health. It is a health in which all is right.

It is a healthfulness that is at your core. The only place it can be had is from a right relationship with God.

This is the one absolute needful health.

If you don’t have a right relationship with God, it doesn’t matter if you can run 26 miles, swim the English Channel, or kick a soccer ball into the net every time. Our lives are defined by God, not by physical prowess. By the same token, your body may be filled with cancer tumors, your eyesight may be dim, you may be unable to hear what is being said from the pulpit, but if you are right with God, you are in better shape than gold-medal Olympians.

What does this say about physical illness? Well, we need only watch Jesus. He healed people with physical ailments and suffering wherever he went. He gave sight to blind people. He helped paralytics walk. He cured leprosy.

From watching Jesus, we learn that God wants us well. Disease is not part of God’s plan. And the Bible is very clear that when God’s kingdom has been fully established, never again will their be pain or the waste of disease. Never again will people die.

These things are temporary. “Momentary afflictions(II Cor. 4:17),” to use the Bible phrase.

The healing Jesus did was always a part of something larger – a part of the forgiveness of sins, a part of enabling a person to follow Jesus, a part of a person’s devotion to God. Throughout history, starting with the apostles, there have always been legions of people who will suffer for Jesus Christ, who would rather die as martyrs than give up their faith, who denied themselves all sorts of things to be devoted to Jesus Christ. So faith can actually lead to physical suffering!

There is a difference between healing and cure. So while not every prayer today for healing is answered with a cure, it is answered with a healing – the healing that comes from having Christ alive in us, the healing that comes from knowing Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weak and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Mt. 11:28,30)” That verse resonates with just about everyone who recites it.

Did you hear what I just said? “That verse resonates with just about everyone who hears it.” Why? Because everyone needs healing. You may look around you on Sunday morning and say, what am I doing with this group of people. They all seem to have it so together in their lives. The truth is, everyone here is a “yearner.” Every one here has brokenness needing healing.

If we have it all together, we sure don’t need Jesus. He didn’t die broken on the cross because most people were just about all right. He died in agony on the cross bearing the sin which breaks us in half, and breaks the very heart of God. Jesus died for our wholeness – our healing.

In the twenty-third Psalm we read, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastors, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.” Why is that the most quoted of all Psalms? It’s simple. Because people are hurting and need healing and help and health.

There is a word in Hebrew, which we normally translate “peace.” The word is SHALOM. But shalom is more than the kind of peace where the Iraqi militants and the American forces lay down there arms and stop the killing. Shalom is something greater – it is a wholeness, a wellness, almost the restored state for which we were created, envisioned in the garden of Eden and in the book of Revelation(Rev. 21) and spoken of by some of the prophets(Is. 11), where all is right with us and with our relationship to God and each other. That is health.

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