Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Healing Jesus

Healing is what Jesus does, and it is the work of the church.  Jesus did some spectacular, miraculous signs of healing during his earthly ministry, and claims that we will do even more spectacular things than he. (John 14:12-14)

However, I emphasize one important word in the second sentence: signs.  Spectacular physical healings are only signs of what God really wants to do in our lives.  The word "healing" is the same Greek word from which we translate “salvation.”  True healing is the restoration of relationships between God and humanity.

Physical healings are pale imitations and merely object lessons of what God wants to do for us. Every physical healing still ends in a death.  By raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus blessed Mary and Martha, but I am not so sure he did any favor for Lazarus, who would have had to face death a second time. (John 11)

It saddens me that a large number of Christians and some congregations spend a great deal of their energy seeking the signs of God’s healing, special blessings from God, both physical and financial. This is a spiritual lack of gratitude, a failure to acknowledge the already countless blessings of God. There is an entire faith healing industry constructed to make a profit on the backs of those who are desperate enough to seek this type of sign.  Often, when one does not receive the sign of healing, the faith healer turns the table on the supplicant, blaming their lack of faith; or, more cynically, their lack of financial generosity to the faith healer’s ministry.

Here is what I know about healing:
Physical signs of healing happen because of God’s goodness
Most people who received signs of healing in the NT never asked for it, and in most cases, did NOT have faith prior to the sign. (e.g.--John 11; Luke 7:11-17; 8:26-39)
Faith is the fruit of God's healing, not a pre-requisite of it.
If anyone actually does have the gift of healing, they should use it freely and generously, without expectation of financial remuneration.  (Luke 3:1-10)

That does not mean that we ought not to pray for healing and anoint each other. However, if the seeking of this physical sign of healing consumes us, diminishes our ability to give generously to those in need (because we are giving money to an already wealthy faith healer), then we are living in a poverty mentality, not understanding how absurdly blessed we are, and forgetting the beauty of the truth that we have already received the healing of God.

If we truly want to be agents of God’s healing, we should pick up the phone and call the friend with whom we had a fight and reconcile our relationship; we should use our hands to care for those around us; we should use our financial resources to bless the poor.  Then God’s healing power would be most powerfully revealed.

In other words: rather than seeking signs of God’s healing, BE God’s healing in the world!

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