Summary: This is actually a difficult passage to speak with authority, but I will try as we although we believe in healing, we don’t see enough of it in our churches.
This sermon was delivered Gordon McCulloch to the congregation at Holy Trinity in Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 28th October 2018; Holy Trinity is a Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries.
“Please join me in my prayer.” Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O
Lord, our strength, and our redeemer. Amen. (Ps. 19:14)
This morning our sermon is based on our Gospel reading … nothing new you may say as I have done so many times before, but honestly, it would have been far easier for me to use the Old or New Testament readings or even the psalms today because our gospel message is very difficult to teach with authority; … as I for one, am no expert on the subject of divine healing; and not many people are.
Yes I know a lot of the theory from scripture, and more … but it is the putting it into practice that I and most other Christians struggle with. Yes many of we Christians acknowledge much relief from those who do pray for us, so I certainly encourage them; please, please, please keep of praying for us we certainly need it because we believe in the power of pray, and that is one of the reasons that we are here this morning.
Now I truly believe in divine healing, and I have witnessed it personally, and I want to share that with you, to give God the glory. … About 30 years ago, I went forward for healing at a service to get rid of my insatiable thirst for alcohol … yes alcohol was getting a grip over me; I went forward and that prayer was answered. It was not answered that night, but within a week I was totally free from alcohol, and it remained that way for many many years. … In fact it was answered in such a positive way that I can now drink freely, but and it is so good, because if I never drink again, it would not bother me. … Now I have joked or have even been flippant about my drinking in the past, particularly in my sermons, and I believe the reason I do so, is because I have been completely freed from its influence; and I praise God for that and I still pray that others become free in the same way, because I am still very grateful and I communicate this regularly. On a contrast, I stopped smoking myself, with sheer will power, and have done for over 10 years, the difference here is that if I have one cigar, just one, I would start smoking again and be hooked. God is therefore the only true healer.
I will give you another story, about ten years ago, I had serious problems with my neck, unbelievable pain, it was agony to try and turn my head, so I went the doctor who referred me to hospital, who took all the x-rays, to prove that they was problems, and they concluded that I would need surgery, but surgery without guarantee … you know what I am taking about. … Again, I went forward at a healing service, and again, I receiving divine healing. I was cured completely, or as completely as my age would allow, and I have never had problems since. … I mean, I still remember showing some people all the pills I was taking; you know the anti-inflammatories and the pain killers, and then not knowing what to do with them … eventually I threw them all away. Again, praise God; … and there have been other occasions also that I did not deserve, so I am a great believer in the power of prayer, and I certainly encourage all those prayer groups, because they do work, and people do value their efforts.
However … and it’s a big however, and I am sure you will identify with me with this, that there are many times when our prayers have not been answered in the way we have wished … leaving us disappointed and down and we ask ourselves why. … An example of that is as you know; I waited until the very last minute before I agreed to the two operations I received for my false knees, and I still ask to this day why, because I received more prayers for my knees than anything. … This is where we become unstuck … we all have faith … and that is why we are here today.
2. Our gospel reading today
So I hope you see why today’s gospel reading is so difficult to speak confidently about, because even though I do know it works, I am no authority in answered prayer. … Today’s passage outlines a process we should go through, to receive answers to our prayers, it’s a sort of template … so please bear with me as I give you an exposition of today’s reading, as it relates directly to healing, and please let me know if there is anything I have missed. Our template unfolds with verse 46 of Mark where he says: “As (Jesus) and his disciples, and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside”. …