Summary: Part 4 in series Jesus in Isaiah. This message looks at the healing ministry of Jesus, and how there is usually a price associated with healing. It asks if we’re willing to pay that price, and gives people an opportunity to come forward to receive heali
Healing that Costs
Jesus in Isaiah, part 4
Wildwind Community Church
December 31, 2006
In late October a former student of mine – Malorie Ward, age 20 – was involved in a terrible car accident when a horse walked out onto the road where she was riding as a passenger in a vehicle. The driver hit the horse, and the horse’s head came through the front window, shattering much of Malorie’s face, nearly severing the optic nerve in one eye, and causing head injuries and complications with her hearing. As I speak to you today, several months post-accident, Malorie is packing to go on a trip to Israel with her class at Greenville College. Healing has taken place. But we’re talking two months here, folks.
Healing. Healing. What happens in you when you hear the word healing? Healing is a word that has been politicized. Pretty soon we’ll be hearing in the media about healing that needs to happen between Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump. After Michael Richards lost his mind and verbally assaulted those two men at the comedy club, we heard about the importance of healing. When Mel Gibson spewed sick racial slurs last July against cops who were doing their jobs, Mel and his publicist spoke about the need for “healing.”
I’m not asserting that some kind of healing didn’t need to happen in these cases, but in all three of these cases we are dealing with wounds that were suffered by one party simply because of words used by the other party. And in all these cases we say “healing” needs to happen, rather than saying that people just need to get on with their lives. In 21st century America, we need to heal from the abuse that has been done to the word “healing.” It has been assaulted, minimized, and de-clawed. It has been made into a giant warm-fuzzy, the adult equivalent of a kiss on a boo-boo.
In the three cases I talked about, whatever may be needed for people to get back on with their lives, not all that much healing is really needed. You know how I know that? Because not much will be required of those involved. Real healing costs something. In fact, real healing costs a LOT. The sicker you are, the more you are in need of healing. And the more you are in need of healing, the more radical your healing is likely to be. When healing can happen with a few words of apology and a round of appearances on talk shows, not much healing was needed in the first place. When healing can happen with a truce, not much was needed in the first place. When healing itself doesn’t dramatically and sometimes permanently alter the life of the one who was healed, it probably wasn’t really healing, but rather just getting on with life.
Real healing costs something. Ever had a loved one who was diagnosed with cancer? Often when someone has cancer, healing is possible, but it costs something, doesn’t it? Weeks or months or years of chemotheraphy, bone marrow transplants, painful tests, dark hours of pain and desperation and loss of hope. Oftentimes if one is going to receive healing, one must muster courage from deep inside of them that they never knew they had.
Let’s get back to Malorie for a minute. I told you about her accident, then I zipped forward and told you she’s leaving for Israel. Do you think that’s the story? Do you think Malorie’s recovery has been quick and easy? Do you think it happened when a nurse approached a doctor and simply “called for” healing that needed to happen? [That’s what happens in the media, is some public official or celebrity “calls for” healing.] Better question: Do you think Malorie’s healing was all up to the doctor? Did the healer, the doctor, play the only role? Of course not. Malorie had to muster strength and willpower and determination in order to hang onto hope. She had to cope with losing almost all the vision in one eye. She had to submit to dangerous surgery to repair her face, and rely on her parents, her brother and sister, and people around the country who were praying for her. She had to cope with being set back a whole year in her college studies. And if her healing is to continue, she will have more obstacles to overcome in the future. Why? Because Malorie wants healing, and healing often comes at great cost. The process of finding and receiving healing often changes us forever, and sometimes the process of healing itself leaves scars that never fully heal.
Let’s be honest about healing this morning. Let’s take the word away from the media, who purposefully use the most over-the-top language they can in order to build a sense of drama. Most of all, let’s scrap the impression that healing is some fanciful thing where everybody jumps for joy and finds instant peace and happiness and tranquility. Healing, like most of life, is often a journey and one usually fraught with frustration and difficulty, and sometimes boredom and despair. Healing costs something. Healing requires our cooperation. Healing can bring us to a great place, a place we really, really want to be, but we’d better be ready to count the cost. We’d better not expect it to be cheap, or easy, or fun, because chances are pretty good it will be expensive, and hard, and often miserable. Isaiah chapter 35 contains a prediction that someone would come to the world as a healer. Christians believe he came 700 years after the prediction, in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus healed throughout the 3 ½ years of his public ministry. He healed people physically. He healed them emotionally. He healed mentally. And he healed spiritually. I want to talk to you about the healing ministry of Jesus this morning, and at the end of this service I’ll give you a chance to come forward and receive healing from God. I believe Christ is still in the business of healing and if you need healing today, let’s ask God to make it happen. But first let’s look at how Christ brings healing, and what healing might cost. Let’s look at Isaiah’s prophecy: