Summary: At the leading Pharisees house Jesus deals with legalism, honour/shame and who is invited to the feast of the kingdom of God
oday's meal with Jesus is the last he has with a Pharisee - so it's fitting its a chief Pharisee. It doesn't go well for the Pharisee, but it does for a man with dropsy. Dropsy is the old-fashioned name for oedema - water retention in the body often caused by kidney failure or heart problems
skin discolouration, aching, tender limbs, stiff joints, weight gain or weight loss, raised blood pressure and pulse rate. He's going to get healed, we are going to see some cross-cultural stuff that Brits probably miss and we're going to get encouraged to invite everyone to the party. So ready to dive in?
When is it right to heal the sick?
Well what do you think?
What a silly question! But it wasn't to the religious leaders of Jesus' day.
They had taken the OT law - that which the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 7:12 is holy, good and righteous. They had taken that and added to it, making it not just impossible, but burdensome and impossible. So that Jesus had to come to fulfil it, the first and only one ever. And the die on the cross, so that when we put our faith in Him, we too have died to the law and are not under it, but under grace.
So these leaders had taken the law that Jesus summed up as Love God and Love your neighbour and forgotten love and compassion and made it a bad thing to heal someone on the Sabbath because that's work. They'll lift their ox or child out of a well, but lay a hand on someone's shoulder to heal them.
So when is it right to heal the sick? When you love God and your neighbour.
In Luke 9 Jesus gave the 12 authority to heal the sick and in Luke 11 he gave the 72 the same authority to heal the sick. His last words before ascending to the right hand of the Father were go and make disciples, baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.
In John 14 Jesus told his followers that He must ascend to the right hand of the Father so that the Spirit could come and inhabit us so that we could do great works than He did - greater means more!
i) So we have Authority to heal the sick in Jesus name
ii) We have our identity as children of God, dearly loved by the Gather who fills us with love and compassion for others
iii) We have the power of the Spirit residing in us - the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.
When we read the red bits and the book of Acts, we find Jesus and his followers healing the sick whenever and wherever they find them and the challenge to go and do likewise.
I know that we haven't always seen people healed and I don't understand and there are passages I don't understand too. Anyone that has glib answers like not enough faith is just plain wrong at best and profoundly damaging too.
There are some things I know - God is love, God is good and some things I don't know - like why some don't get healed, this side of glory anyway. But I tell you what - what I do know helps me to make sense of the things I don't. The things I do know trump the things I don't and I am happy to let God be God!
Sad story of vicar going to visit a dying child who ran over his toddler and killed her on the drive. Awful, just awful. Why? And he shouted at the funeral There are thing I do know - God is love and they trump the things I don't.
God is love. God is good. God's kingdom is spreading and ever increasing towards the time when Jesus wraps this present age and makes a new heaven and earth for us with no more crying or pain. And until he comes - filled with His love, knowing that we have authority and the power of the Spirit we will heal the sick and make sure every encounter we have with people leaves them in no doubt that there is a God who loves them.
For some of you that's on the streets and for others it'll be with friends and colleagues.
I'm hungry for a culture where we are doing the stuff, where everyone is a witness and healing is part of that.
There's no one method or formula - otherwise we'd have the church of rubbing mud in people's eyes (actually they probably do in the USA) or any of the other ways that we read of in Scripture. Go with what fits you.