I’m re-posting one of those pieces that still strikes me — yes, one I wrote — YESTERDAY AT ONE at Grace Partakers. Here on WordPress, it didn’t receive much notice, but remains one of my favorites. God’s blessings to you and yours.
An event in Jesus’ life puzzles me, off and on. I just read it again this morning. Jesus has just driven Legion, a multi-demon into pigs. Now He is “on His way” and crowds are all around Him. Jairus, a ruler in the synagogue, is frantic, “pleading with [Jesus] to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, is dying.” Presumably, Jesus is going with Jairus to his home when a woman, “subject to bleeding for twelve years” “comes up behind Him and touches the edge of His cloak.” At that same moment, her bleeding ceases.
Jesus asks, “Who touched Me?”
Doesn’t He know? He knows someone has touched Him, for He says so. “Someone touched Me; I know that power has gone out from Me.” What? Automatically? Without His ascent?
The woman, terrified, falls at Jesus’ feet. She confesses she has been healed just by touching Jesus’ clothing! Jesus tells her, “Your faith healed you. Go in peace.” Jesus essentially is saying, “My power came out from Me because of your faith. The level of your faith didn’t require Me to be actively involved. Relax. It’s all good.”
About the same time, people come to inform Jairus that it is too late for Jesus to come. Jairus’ only daughter has died. But, Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”
I may be wrong, but I think that father is still terrified when Jesus comes to his home to see the dead child. Yet, with hope and desire and wishing, he enters his daughter’s room with four other men: Jesus, Peter, John, and James. People outside the room are weeping and wailing. Jesus rebukes them, telling them that the little girl is only sleeping.
Here, Jesus actively touches the dead child; she does not touch Him. He wills her to life, saying: “My child, get up!” Her father’s faith is weak; too weak for his hope, his wish, his desire to raise his daughter from the dead. “Her spirit returns” because Jesus knows power is coming from Him.
(Luke 8, NIV)
“Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? Or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man walk?” (The Acts 3:12, KJV)
Peter is downright flabbergasted that anyone would be surprised at the power which makes men walk or raises women from the dead. But he is even more bewildered that anyone would attribute this power to Peter himself rather than to Jesus.
Peter is distressed but not surprised when some of these same “men of Israel” “confer among themselves” to threaten Peter and John “not to speak henceforth to no man in this Name, nor teach in the Name of Jesus.” (The Acts 4:17,18)
Peter responds, “we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (The Acts 4:20) In other words, Peter tells the “men of Israel” that he and John speak only the truth of God. Of course, the truth of God trumps the threats of the “men of Israel.”
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the reminder that any natural gifts we may possess are directly from You, but any power we show forth is always only of You, emanating from Your nature and not from ours. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
A man lame from birth is carried every day to the gate called Beautiful so people entering the temple complex are able to see him; and he is able to beg. Seeing John and Peter, he asks for help. Peter commands, “Look at us.” (Acts 3:4, HCSB) The lame beggar looks at Peter and John expecting a hand-out. Instead, Peter tells the man, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I have I give you: In the Name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” (Acts 3:6)
I can imagine the man looking at Peter with some disgust and certainly disappointment. He may know the Name of Jesus the Nazarene; he also may be thinking only of his empty stomach and his aching body. Notice he does not take Peter’s hand or even reach up for him; rather Peter takes the lame beggar by the right hand, and raises him up. “At once his feet and ankles become strong.” (Acts 3:7) When the man realizes his legs are strong, then”he jumps up, stands, and starts to walk, and he enters the temple complex with [John and Peter] — walking, leaping, and praising God.” (Acts 3:8)
Recall it is “by faith in [Jesus’] Name; His Name makes this man strong.” Peter tells the crowd gathering in the temple complex, “So the faith that comes through [Jesus] gives [this man] this perfect health in front of all of you.” (Acts 3:16)
So what does Peter give to the lame beggar? Healing? No. In a sense, Peter loans him faith. Through Peter’s belief, the man’s body is made whole. Once healed, the man finds a faith of his own, leaping and praising God for himself.
“I don’t have silver or gold, but what I have, I give you.” (Acts 3:6)
At Peter’s house, Jesus finds Peter’s mother-in-law sick with fever. He touches her hand, and the fever dissipates. She gets right up and waits on Him. Maybe Peter is a little frantic at this point; his mother-in-law is very ill, now she’s up serving drinks and dinner to God! Nevertheless, she’s healthy again and ready to work.
Many are brought to Peter’s house — some with demons, others with sicknesses. “With a Word” Jesus “heals all who are sick” and “casts out” the oppressing spirits.
In some accounts of healing, Jesus says, “Go, your faith makes you well.” But in this account, Matthew reminds us that Jesus heals all who come or are brought to Him. With a touch or with a Word, Jesus heals all, not some.
“He has no form or majesty that we should look at Him. He is despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces He is despised, and we esteem Him not. Surely He bears our griefs and carries our sorrows; yet we esteem Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He is wounded for our transgressions; he is crushed for our iniquities; upon Him is the chastisement that brings us peace, and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep are gone astray; we are turned — every one — to his own way; and the Lord lays on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:2-6, ESV)
Jesus wants to know how long He’s going to need to bear with this “faithless generation” surrounding Him. His disciples are incapable of casting a spirit from a child — this spirit “seizes [the boy], throws him down” making him “foam and grind his teeth and become rigid.” (Mark 9:18) The parent assumes Jesus’ disciples are capable of performing the same healing miracles as Jesus, but they are not able to drive this spirit from this child.
When the spirit sees Jesus, “immediately it convulses the boy.” (Mark 9:20) The spirit is fully aware of Jesus’ true identity. Jesus asks the boy’s father a bit of medical history — how long has this been going on? Perhaps He even asks what happens during these seizures for the father tells Jesus of the boy being tossed into fire or water by the spirit.
Then, suddenly doubting Jesus’ power — after all, Jesus’ disciples were inept — the father says, “But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” (Mark 9:22)
And Jesus says, “If you can!” then declares that “all things are possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:23)
And the father cries, likely in utter despair, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
The smartest response ever is to verbalize belief and then admit to doubt. Believe as you can, but recognize that faith comes from God’s hand; it is not self-generated or even self-sustained.
Dear Father God, thank You for Your willingness to heal us. Thank You for helping us to believe when we are filled with doubts — doubts about ourselves and doubts about You. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
Jesus goes into a village, and is met by ten lepers. They are thoughtful, standing at some distance from the Lord. They recognize Him as ‘Master’ and ask Him for mercy. Jesus calmly tells them to show themselves to the priests. They obey Him, going to the priests where they discover — quite suddenly — they are each healed. Think of the surprise, the joy!
Only one of them, however, returns to Jesus to express his gratitude and “praise God with a loud voice.” (Luke 17:15) This ‘foreigner’ as Jesus calls him is the only one of the ten to “fall on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks.” (Luke 17:16)
When Jesus first sees the ten lepers, I believe He knows that only one of them — and the Samaritan no less — will be grateful enough to return to praise God. Nevertheless, Jesus heals all ten. It is not the behavior of the lepers that determines God’s goodness or willingness to heal; it is rather God’s very nature. God is good; He is all powerful; He is looking to heal.
Jesus asks, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?” (Luke 17:17) It’s not as if Jesus doesn’t know where the other nine have gone. He does. He now marvels at the foreigner, the Samaritan, who chose to return to praise his Lord and Savior, Healer and Coming King. Jesus says, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:19)
Does this mean the other nine are suddenly un-healed, and made leperous again? Of course not; rather, they have not found Jesus. Only the Samaritan is made whole by his faith in God.
Father God, make us truly grateful for Your loving-kindnesses. In Jesus’ Name, amen.