Charles Wesley recognized clearly who Jesus Christ was and what He could do, and longed for a thousand tongues to declare his praise! His hymn has been echoed around the world as people from a variety of nations celebrate the impact of Jesus Christ on their lives.
In Mark 7:31-37 Jesus continued His earthly ministry, demonstrating by the power of the Holy Spirit exactly who He was. Moving into new communities in the region of the Decapolis (1o cities), His healing touch relieves the pain and suffering of some. Jesus ordered people not to speak about these events but rather quietly accept from God this evidence of His mercy. Instead, word spread like wild-fire, as crowds were overwhelmed with amazement.
The subject of healing typically stirs up significant discussion. Here are just a few questions to prove your thinking further?
1) Can God heal? Absolutely! The pages of Scripture are filled with a multitude of examples from the life of Jesus as well as others, equipped by the Spirit of God with gifts of healing.
2) Does God always heal? No! The apostle Paul, used by the Spirit of God to heal others, was left with his thorn in the flesh. His colleague and trainee Timothy, was urged to ‘use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.’ Paul, himself, was provided with God’s sufficient grace to function while he lived with his ‘health issues.’
3) What process should be followed today for those desiring healing? James 5 urges a calling of the elders of the church to pray and anoint with oil in the name of the Lord. Tied into confession of sin, this prayer offered in faith becomes a means by which the Lord raises up the sick person. I’ve had the privilege in different settings, with other church elders, to follow this process and have witnessed God’s merciful touch.
4) Is all sickness a direct result of sin? Ultimately, we live in a broken world impacted by sin, but Jesus corrected the disciples (John 9) for drawing the conclusion that the blindness they observed had a direct link. The simple answer, we don’t know. Sinful choices do have consequences – e.g. If someone has misused drugs or alcohol, they may be forgiven, if they will confess this as sin, but their damaged livers, or altered health systems may remain as life-long consequences.
‘All healing is temporary.’ This statement, given by a preacher in a sermon I heard years ago, has stirred me to further thinking. Even Lazarus, raised from death, by the power of God, died again. We are called to pray for the will of God to be done ‘on earth as it is in heaven.’ The central question we must all ask in each life is ‘What is the will of God for this person?’
May the Spirit of God lead us to the Word of God to discover the Will of God. May our faith be strengthened through demonstrations of God’s healing intervention, as well as His provision of daily sustaining grace, for the weaknesses of all sorts, to which our bodies are subject. May our testimony be that of the people who witnessed firsthand the power of God in their community. “Overwhelmed with amazement, they said, “He has done everything well.”