Summary: A sermon dealing with what it means to say "Jesus is...healer."
Luke 5: 17 – 26
Of all the names/titles given to Jesus, i.e., Lord, Savior etc., this name “Healer” is perhaps the most challenging for us in the 21st century. What do we mean when we say “Jesus is Healer?” We survey the ministry of Jesus and depending on how one classifies the event, there are between 30 and 40 healing events in the four Gospels alone, and that doesn’t include the healing events in the book of Acts performed by the apostles in Jesus’ name. We read a passage like Luke 4:40, just prior to the account we read a few moments ago, that says, “As the sun went down that evening, people throughout the village brought sick family members to Jesus. No matter what their diseases were, the touch of his hand healed every one.” So, what gives? After all, we pray for healing all the time, but far too often, the healing we seek never comes. If Jesus is Healer, where do we see this healing happening in our world today?
We hear so much these days about rising health care premiums and there is much debate about the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. There certainly wasn’t much of a problem with healthcare with Jesus around. I guess the folks in 1st century Israel just called their health care plan Jesuscare! Got a backache? Go see Jesus! Got the flu? Go see Jesus. Surgery? Who needs surgery? Just go see Jesus! One touch is all you need. Must have been nice, and no increase in premiums. It sure would have been nice to get in on some of those healings. Makes us want to ask: When did Jesus go out of the healing business? Don’t we rate as much as the folks back then? What about my friend with cancer? What about us, Jesus?
Yes, what about us? Why don’t we see more of these healings that Jesus performed so long ago? Doesn’t the Bible say, “Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow”? Yes, it does. Jesus Christ is indeed the same yesterday and today and forever. And, that’s what we’re here to talk about that, yes, today “Jesus is…Healer.”
I’m going to challenge us for one moment to take all the pre-conceived ideas of “faith-healing” out of our minds. Don’t think about Benny Hinn, and let your memories of Kathryn Kuhlman and Oral Roberts fade. I’m not going to dwell on those folks with their traveling road shows who fill convention halls with desperate folks looking for a quick fix. There’s too much to talk about to spend much time on those people and events this morning, but still it leaves us to wonder why we don’t just go down to St. Francis or Glenwood and clear the place out in Jesus name.
I’ll admit I don’t have that kind of power. Boy, I wish I did! I would parlay that into a mountain of cash and we could pay off the debt of FUMC quickly, for sure. There are folks in the world who say that I simply don’t have enough faith, or that those who are sick don’t have enough faith to be healed. Just believe a little more—faith of a mustard seed and all that, right? Hey? That’s the kind of faith these friends had on this day. Luke (who was a physician, by the way) tells us when Jesus saw “their faith,” his healing power went into action. Notice, Luke doesn’t tell us anything about the paralyzed man’s faith. Perhaps he had no faith at all, certainly none that was expressed in this episode. Yes, faith is often present when it comes to healing, but whose faith is most important?
Or more, the same people who would say today that I don’t have enough faith would also say the problem must be un-confessed sin. That’s part of the issue on the day Jesus was healing this paralyzed man. Jesus knew the Pharisees and scribes were watching. They were a sect in Judaism who had a strong belief in the idea that if someone was sick or blind, there must be some sin in their life that caused it. Paralyzed? What did you do to deserve that? Confess your sin and perhaps you can get well. That’s was their attitude. I wonder if that’s why Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus didn’t address the physical ailment first. He first addressed the spiritual reality, and man, that set the Pharisees off. “Who but God can forgive sins?” The Pharisees question and Jesus’ response might help us understand what was happening then, and what is happening now.
Jesus looked at the Pharisees and said, “Just so you know, I’ve got authority to forgive sins on earth, I’ll say, ‘Take up your bed and walk’.” At Jesus’ word, the young man jumped up, took his bed and ran out of the house. Jesus’ healing power was a sign. Here’s an important point to understand those 30 – 40 healing accounts in the Gospels—the healings were signs designed to point to the eternal blessings Jesus was bringing, the kingdom of heaven that Jesus was bringing to earth. These healings pointed ahead to the ultimate healing that Jesus was in the process of accomplishing, and that ultimate healing was not limited to the folks back then. No, it is for all of us, too. Yes, every one of us here today–Jesus loves you and me as much as he loved those folks back then. We are at no disadvantage to the people who were healed in his ministry.