We hear this morning a wonderful story of Jesus’ healing power. A miracle story known as one of the greatest stories in the Gospel. It is a powerful story in the fact that Jesus had left the synagogue with his disciples and went to Peter’s home. Upon arrival at Peter’s house, they found his motherinlaw sick in bed with a fever. Jesus took her by the hand and healed her as He lifted her up (Mark 1:31).
Now some would say that this was not a true healing text, but others would argue that it was a “true miracle text” because he healed his “motherinlaw”. All joking aside, it is essential that we look at the Greek in this text and its translation. The Greek word that is used here to describe what Jesus did, is ‘sozo’ or “to save or to heal”, a very strong word that finds itself again and again appearing in the salvation texts in Paul’s writings. So it is important that we understand that a “healing” took place!
Most of us in this congregation have been raised hearing that Jesus heals all! But what does that mean? Does Jesus heal us from the common cold or do we use Granny Clampett’s cure; drink plenty of fluids, rest, and in 710 days, your cold will be gone. Does Jesus heal us from cancer, from Alzheimer’s, from a stroke, depression, anxiety, broken relationships and fractured families?
My friends, this is a tough list to hear, trust me, I know!! But it is a list that most of us have placed at the feet of our Saviour. Or in the Greek our ‘sotor’ or
healer. We place these things that need healing at the feet of Jesus because we believe Him to be the Healer, the ultimate in the health and helping profession. We have made Jesus a Healer rather than a Saviour.
Hence, our reason for looking at this text this morning. What does this text tell us about Jesus as a Divine Healer? When we look at a text, we have to do a couple of things as humans, as Christians, as those who search the Word of God for guidance in our lives.
As humans, so be it, 2entury humans, we often find ourselves when seeking Jesus’ healing being a people who want instant results. We have become a society that truly demands the instantaneous action of healing. Healing that requires no waiting, no patience, no suffering, but complete and overall freedom from what ails us in our afflictions. I believe that scripture counters that mentality in so many ways!! But often we as a people tend to make it so much harder than it really has to be. Let me reflect upon this for a few minutes.
- First, we have to understand that Jesus has a healing touch!! We hear this morning in the Gospel account that the healing of Peter’s motherinlaw was only complete after Jesus touched her and began to raise her out of the bed. Touch for some of us is an uncomfortable thing but when it comes to Jesus and the healing process, those who are empowered with at least gifts of physical healing doctors, nurses, dentists, EMT’s, paramedics, and the like touch us in ways that enable healing to take place. The story this morning involves Jesus’ touching. Yet as we broaden our understanding of Jesus’ healing power in others, we see the necessity of Jesus allowing others to heal through their touch in our lives.
- Second, I believe that Jesus heals us for a purpose. Random acts of kindness our always great, but most significant random acts of kindness are done for a purpose. Not that all of Jesus’ healings were random acts of kindness as we may think, but they were certainly “out of the ordinary”. If we look carefully at this healing narrative this morning, we see that the healing of Peter’s motherinlaw was necessary in order that she might serve the Lord!! The healing was not only to “rid her of a fever” but to “set her free” in order that she may witness and follow “The Christ”. Sickness can also be used to “block” our desire to serve God. Just think about the time, now notice, I didn’t suggest, I know all of us have at some time in our lives used an illness as an excuse to get out of doing something. Whether it be a test, a homework assignment, a day at work where you would rather be fishing than working; all of us have used the illness “hang up” as an excuse. The reason we call it a “hang up” is that it holds us captive. It literally holds us up or hangs us up in our ability to serve the Lord. Jesus’ healing so that we can serve Him expands our horizons and reminds us of the work we have to do here in God’s Kingdom. John Wesley put in the great terms of serving the Lord: “Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can!”
- Finally, Jesus touches others through our service. He reminds us that when we do this for “the least of these” we have done it through and for Him. We touch others through our service to Jesus Christ when we show them compassion. A wise person once said, “Compassion is your pain in my heart”. One of the greatest healing gifts we can offer is to simply be present with those who hurt!! We spend thousands of dollars teaching people what to say and how to say it, in order to provide healing. When sometimes the simple act of being present with them is what they need most. Herb Miller tells the story of a woman in a convalescent center, she had remained in a comatose state for more than three months. Her family entered and exited most every day, but always speaking and talking to one another and to her. When one day, a woman who the family had hired to “sit” with their mother and wife came to the room. The woman sat in the rocking chair and slowly rocked back and forth, this happened for three days, on the third day, while the woman was rocking, the woman in the bed simply said, “You’re so kind”!! The simple presence of someone who cares and has no agenda.
Madame de Stael, a French theologian says, “We cease to love ourselves if no one loves us.”
Love is an absolute necessity to healing, both physical and spiritual. Love requires that we step out! That we move beyond our comfort zone, especially when offering healing.
One of the hardest things to understand and to look at in our life is when the healing takes place out of the ordinary. Jesus was gifted with the power of healing, we know that. Many of us today, are gifted with the power of offering a healing touch or a healing presence to someone else. Yet in doing this we run the risk of “following our gifts” as opposed to following Jesus. Kayla McClurg reminds us today in a devotion for Epiphany, that “To follow our gifts means to uncover and hone what we are naturally inclined toward, then offering these strengths to places and people in need. To follow Jesus is something else. It is to listen inwardly to the mystery of our unique pain and promise, to open our minds to what is beyond our understanding, to move out of our comfort zone and onto a path that leads we know not where”. That is the path for healing and offering healing. Not to be consumed with our gifts, but rather be consumed with where we can use our gifts. We are reminded that the greatest command of all is to “stay intimately connected to the Source, who has plans for us that go beyond our gifts.”
Jesus offers us healing in so many ways, it is my prayer and hope for all of us, that we remain attuned to that healing power and presence in our daily lives.
AMEN AND AMEN.