#868. Healing requires faith (3/8/23)
Welcome to this Come to Jesus Daily devotional. This week, we continue in our series, Luke - Exploring who Jesus is. Until September, there will be no videos.
‘While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ And immediately the leprosy left him. Then Jesus ordered him, ‘Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.’ Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their illnesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.’ (Luke 5:12-16)
‘When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”’ (Luke 5:20)
Lesson: Faith for healing comes in different measures and we are to pray according to the faith that we have.
Today, we continue with our brief study on healing. So far, we've seen that healing is a foretaste of the future Kingdom that we expect to experience, in measure, right now through things like healing. Additionally, we've seen that we need to continue to trust and worship if we have wait for God to act on our prayers. Today, let's briefly look at the vital place that faith plays in praying for the sick as it does in all aspects of the Christian life.
Faith and healing are closely linked. We know that healing requires faith. Here is a text that is often used in this regard:
‘And they took offence at him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honour except in his own town and in his own home.’ And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.’ (Matthew 13:57-58)
Matthew’s account of Jesus visiting His hometown includes the idea that Jesus’ healing power was less evident because of their lack of faith. In response, we may be tempted to seek to 'work up' our 'faith' to something that equates to: "I believe, without a doubt, that Jesus will heal this person that I am praying for, and I'll urge the person to work up their faith to believe this." This can lead to claiming a healing that, as yet, has not been experienced in the name of true faith. Added to this, it can lead to a great burden of condemnation being heaped on the person who is, as yet, not yet healed.
However, as we see in today's text, this man was not sure that Jesus was willing to heal him! The man said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." He didn't say, "Lord, I know you are willing, so make me clean"! He had faith that Jesus could, but not necessarily that He would heal. Likewise, most of the time, we pray for healing and other things knowing that God can even if we are not 100% sure that He will. This faithful, yet tentative, attitude is a million miles from the patronising and unbelieving attitude of those in Nazareth!
In regard to healing, I think that the gift of faith comes in two levels:
1. I will pray for the sick because I believe that God can heal even if I’m not sure that He will do so right now. This is honouring to God and is true faith.
2. I will pray for the sick because I believe that God will heal right here and now, and this is, I suggest, the kind of faith that James is referring to in James 5:14-16.
Let faith rise
In case I may have dampened your mood, this account from Luke encourages us to worship Jesus and trust that He is compassionate and powerful. Our faith in Jesus is to rise on what we read here. As we saw in a previous study, come with expectation for healing. The Bible gives us hope and expectation for healing. We should pray or be prayed for expecting Jesus to be willing. Jesus never turned anyone away who came to Him for help and healing. I believe it's possible to come to Jesus expecting Him to heal us while also being able to worship and trust if He fails to do so, so let’s be faithful in praying for the sick and other miracles.
In case I may have dampened your mood, this account from Luke encourages us to worship Jesus and trust that He is compassionate and powerful. Our faith in Jesus should rise based on what we read here and his imperfect faith should encourage us that normal people like you and me can pray for the sick. As we saw in a previous study, let’s always come with an expectation for healing. The Bible gives us hope and expectation for healing. We should pray or be prayed for, expecting Jesus to be willing. Jesus never turned anyone away who came to Him for help and healing. I believe it's possible to come to Jesus expecting Him to heal us while also being able to worship and trust Him even if He fails to do so. So let's be faithful in praying for the sick and for other miracles.
Faith for healing comes in different measures and we are to pray according to the faith that we have.
Let me encourage you to have faith in God and to show that faith by praying for the sick and praying for any other needs that one may have. Be child-like and straightforward about it. God is our loving Father who loves to give good gifts rather than a chemistry teacher who will fail you if you don’t give the right formula!
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
Until September I'll not be producing a group study. However, if you meet with your group why not simply use one of the devotionals as a basis for your discussion together?