God’s Good News for the Sick, 3
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051 – Version 28.2.2005
English Title: God’s Good News for the Sick 3 – God Cures Today
Bible quotations have been taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Grand Rapids, 1983.
Qur’an quotations have been taken from Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, New York, 1955.
PATH-OF-PEACE • P.O. BOX 567
IMPERIAL, PA 15126
8. The Death and Resurrection of
God’s Remedy for Sin and Death ............................ 108
A. The Biblical Account .............................................................. 108
a) The Growing Opposition to Jesus the Messiah ..................... 108
b) The Trial and Death of Jesus the Messiah ........................... 110
c) Jesus the Messiah’s Resurrection ....................................... 112
B. The Meaning of Jesus the Messiah’s Death & Resurrection ...... 113
a) The Reality of Jesus the
Messiah’s Death on the Cross
& Resurrection .................................................................. 113
b) The Cross of Jesus the Messiah:
Revelation of His Holiness and Human Sinfulness ................. 114
c) The Cross of Jesus the Messiah:
God’s Supreme Revelation of His Love ................................ 117
d) The Resurrection of Jesus the
God’s Victory and Our Assurance ...................................... 120
Epilogue: Jesus the Messiah’s
Continues ................................................................. 123
A. A Review of Jesus’ Healing Ministry ........................................ 123
B. God’s Holy Spirit
Enables Jesus’ Followers to Carry on
His Ministry ........................................................................... 124
C. Jesus’ Disciples Heal in the Name of Jesus ............................. 125
D. A Model for Healing ............................................................... 126
E. All Are Not Healed ................................................................. 128
F. A Personal Word .................................................................. 131
Appendices ..................................................................... 137
Appendix 2 - Scripture Verses for Prayer and Meditation ................. 137
Appendix 3 - The Suffering Servant-King ........................................ 145
Appendix 4 - King David’s Confession of Sin ................................... 147
QUIZ ............................................................................ 149
A. The Biblical Account
a) The Growing Opposition to Jesus the Messiah
In previous chapters we have noted examples of Jesus’ wonderful works of healing. In the last chapter we mentioned how He even raised the dead to life. Perhaps you will recall many other works of Jesus that showed how He was in control of all nature.
You would think that everyone would be delighted to be associated with Jesus and to witness His works. How could the people fail to welcome Him, this simple carpenter, one of their own, who freely mingled with them, understood them and cared for their needs! And He had such power and eloquence!
Sadly, however, there were those who did not welcome Jesus, who were indifferent to Him or even bitterly opposed Him. Even members of His family had wondered about Him and His activities (Mark 3:20-34). On one occasion, after Jesus exorcised a demon from a man, the people of the area became frightened and pleaded with Jesus to leave (Mark 5:1-20). On another occasion, after He had told a large crowd whom He miraculously fed that they needed Him, the Bread of Life, for their hearts more than bread for their stomachs, the interest of many waned. They wanted a messiah, a king, a son of the sword, who would simply conquer all their enemies, provide for all their needs and make life easy for them.
The Jewish leaders, too, while recognizing that Jesus did great works, questioned His qualifications to be the Messiah, the king of the Children of Israel. They accused Him of breaking God’s holy law for Israel. As we have seen, they charged Him with breaking the Sabbath Day, the day of rest, even when He healed people on that day. Some even said He cast out devils from people with the Devil’s help. They criticized Him for associating with sinners, people of bad reputation. They accused Him of blasphemy when He forgave sins. His claims about His unique relation with God angered them. In fact, they resented His popularity with the ordinary people, considering Him a threat to their leadership and power, someone better dead than alive. No, Jesus could not be their Messiah! He was a false alarm, and a dangerous one also.
Amazingly, according to the Holy Scriptures, it was after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead that the Jewish leaders made arrangements for the death of Jesus.
“Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. ‘What are we accomplishing?’ they asked. ‘Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.’…. So from that day on they plotted to take his life.” (John 11:47,48,53)
Only a short time later, when large crowds welcomed Jesus as He entered into Jerusalem, the leaders intensified their resolve to act against Jesus. Jesus Himself had clearly understood their intention and spoke these amazing words to two Gentile visitors who had come to meet Him:
“ ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.’ ” (John 12:23-27)
“The hour has come …” The hour! What hour? Jesus’ hour, the Heavenly Father’s hour: that brief time segment in history when God demonstrated most vividly - and strangely - His remedy for all the diseases of this world.
b) The Trial and Death of Jesus the Messiah
So what happened? The Jewish leaders acted swiftly to get rid of Jesus. They were able to seize Him during the night while He was engaged in prayer with His Heavenly Father. That same night, they held a mock trial and tried to get witnesses to testify against Jesus. When the testimony of the witnesses against Jesus failed to agree, the chief priest asked Jesus: “ ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed one?’ ‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’ The high priest tore his clothes. ‘Why do we need any more witnesses?’ he asked. ‘You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?’ They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, ‘Prophesy!’ And the guards took him and beat him.” (Mark 14:61-65)
Jesus openly confessed that He was the Christ (the Messiah, King), the Son of the Blessed. But what did He mean by this confession? Did He mean that He was a king like other kings in this world? Indeed not! Did He mean that God took a wife and that He (Jesus) was Son of God as we are children of our mothers and fathers? God forbid! As Messiah He confessed that He was the King whom God had promised through the prophets to send into this world. As Son He confessed that He was the eternal Word of God who had come out of God and had come into this world as a man to show us how greatly we have sinned against God’s holiness, yet how much God still loved us and wanted to save us from sin and all it evils, and how He yearned that He would be our Heavenly Father and we would be His children! (See Glossary, Messiah, Son of God.)
The Messiah’s confession continued. He claimed to be the Son of Man also, about whom God had spoken through the prophet Daniel (Daniel 7:13,14). His Kingdom is eternal. The day would come when, with all the angels of heaven, He would come again to judge the world. On that Day of Judgement the Son of Man would judge those who were judging Him now! (See Glossary, Son of Man.)
Now let us understand the matter clearly. The Jewish leaders did not deny that Moses, David and other prophets had spoken about the coming Messiah. They knew and agreed that the Messiah should also be called the Son of Man and the Son of God. To what, then, did they object? The religious leaders objected that this humble and despised man, Jesus of Nazareth, dared to call Himself the Messiah, the Son of God and the Son of Man. They insisted Jesus did not qualify to be their Messiah. According to the religious leaders He spoke blasphemy. Because of this blasphemy, they thought, He should die.
The next day, early Friday morning, the Jewish leaders quickly led Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor, who ruled over the Jews at this time on behalf of the Roman emperor. Before Pilate they charged Jesus with calling Himself a king, and that He was, therefore, a threat to the Roman emperor who ruled over the nation. When Pilate questioned Jesus, Jesus agreed that He was a king but stated that His Kingdom was not of this world. Though Pilate realized that Jesus was no danger to Roman rule, he sadly and shamefully handed Jesus over to the Jews, told them to do what they wanted and conveniently washed his hands of the whole affair.
Then they took Jesus, beat Him, spit on Him, bitterly mocked Him and finally put Him on a cross. Even while He was on the cross, they mercilessly ridiculed Him: “ ‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘but he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the king of Israel come down now from the cross. If we see that, we shall believe.’ ” (Mark 15:31,32)
After several hours on the cross, the Bible reports, Jesus gave a loud cry and died. (Mark 15:37)
So much for Jesus. For His enemies, His prolonged and agonizing suffering provided proof enough that He was not the Messiah.
Indeed, a more tragic event has never occurred throughout history than the death of Jesus the Messiah on the cross. It was as if this world had torn at its seams, as if everything in creation had gone awry: Good had turned into evil, truth into lie, beauty into ugliness, life into death, joy into sadness, hope into despair. Of what use, now, Jesus' wonderful teaching about God and all His great works of healing? They seemed merely to postpone inevitable death, decay and obliteration! They simply lived to die. Full stop!
Jesus’ disciples were understandably devastated. Yet, somehow, a few friends arranged for His burial that Friday evening. Strangely, a rich man, though fearful of the Jewish leaders, gathered courage to offer Jesus a respectable grave. At the request of the Jewish leaders, the Romans stationed a guard at the grave to keep anyone from molesting it. There Jesus was buried and a huge stone set before the tomb.
And so, like any other biography, the story of Jesus’ life, too, should have ended with His death. Yet, not so the life of Jesus!
c) Jesus the Messiah’s Resurrection
True, Jesus died and was buried. Yet, in fact, His death marked the turning point in all of history, the beginning of a new era. Here is what happened:
“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightening, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.’ So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘Greetings,’ he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’ ” (Matthew 28:1-10)
Yes, the death of Jesus on the cross marked the turning point in history, the beginning of a new era. For death met Jesus the Messiah, the Prince of Life and God’s living Word, upon that cross! Death took possession of Jesus but could not hold Him in its cold and permanent grasp! On Sunday, the third day after He died, He overcame death by rising from the dead! He had laid down His life to take it again (John 10:17), as He Himself had foretold. Through the Messiah’s death, God put death to death!
Now, picture the disciples after Jesus’ resurrection. The disciples of Jesus, dazed and broken hearted by Jesus’ death, became joyful and confident. They no longer hid behind closed doors, frightened by their enemies. Soon they courageously walked the streets, recounted Jesus’ wonderful teachings and deeds, proclaimed Him as their Messiah and their Saviour. They recalled how He had told them that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise from the dead. Those words, when He had first spoken them, sounded like nonsense. After His resurrection, those same words, too, came to life and took on wings. Bad Friday became Good Friday! Tragedy turned into blessing!
B. The Meaning of Jesus the Messiah’s Death on the Cross and Resurrection
Since, in fact, the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah form the very heart of Jesus’ ministry, I am sure you will allow me to share with you from my heart why they are so important and what they mean to me and many others also. Let me simply make the few following points:
a) The Reality of Jesus the Messiah’s Death on the Cross and Resurrection
Yes, Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. To tell the truth, I did not always believe this; at one time I actually vigorously rejected these claims. Yet after serious study and meditation I concluded from the Bible that, apart from His birth, nothing is so certain about Jesus as His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. Both events constitute the very core of the content and the message of the New Testament (Injil). An amazing amount of space in the New Testament is given to these events.
Even before His death, Jesus Himself frequently announced that He would die and rise from the dead. Non-Christian historians contemporary with these events also testify to these claims of the Bible. In fact, it is virtually impossible to account for the remarkably rapid expansion of Christian faith in such a short period apart from Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and the power of God’s Holy Spirit. It was a movement composed of ordinary people, a movement unassisted by the might of armies or the might of any political, economic or social powers. Biblically speaking, the life of Jesus the Messiah, apart from His death and resurrection, is like a building with no foundation. Likewise the teaching of the Messiah: He taught repeatedly that to lose one’s life is to save it. He did not exempt Himself from His own teaching, but practised what He taught and preached.
b) The Cross of Jesus the Messiah: God’s Supreme Revelation of His Holiness and Human Sinfulness
When God created Adam and Eve, He covenanted with them. He promised to bless them and care for them. In turn, He expected them to acknowledge Him alone as God and to obey and to serve Him. To show humanity His holiness and His holy will for them, He gave His people The Ten Commandments through the great prophet Moses (see Exodus 20:1-17). Here are The Ten Commandments:
1. I am the LORD your God. You shall have no other gods besides me.
2. You shall not make idols and bow down to them.
3. You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, without thought.
4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a day of rest to the LORD your God.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet anything that is your neighbor’s.
These Ten Commandments are summarized in these two great commandments:
1. You shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart.
2. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The Bible constantly clarifies the full dimensions of the commandments’ meaning and application. It measures obedience and disobedience not only by what one does but also by what one fails to do, not only by the external act but also by the motive of the heart behind the act. One kills another not only by an external act, a gun or a knife but also by the hatred in one’s heart. Idols exist not only outside of us but also in our hearts. Thus the Bible speaks of covetousness as idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Similarly, according to the Bible:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, ‘Love your enemies …’ ” (Matthew 5:43,44)
“We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (I John 4:19-21)
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10)
Are you ready to test yourself, your lifestyle and your behavior in the light of God’s commandments - honestly? Do you think you are a good person, that you always do right and do no wrong, that all is well between you and God and between you and your neighbor?
Yet, more important than what you think about yourself is what God thinks about you! The above commandments are His measure for you to measure your actions; they serve as His X-ray machine to let you see the spiritual condition of your heart as He sees it.
Do you love God with your full heart? Are you more concerned with money, power, wealth, education or some other thing or person than with God? Do you love your neighbor as yourself? Do you love them for their sake or for your own sake? If you cheat, deceive, bribe, covet, steal, quarrel, hate, you know that these are signs that something is wrong with your heart, something is wrong between you and God, between you and your neighbor.
Even more, however, has it occurred to you that when we disobey God and break our holy covenant with our holy God, we also sever our sacred relationship with God, destroy ourselves and even break God’s heart? Yes, because God our Maker is holy and loves us, we break not only His law but also His heart! How, then, can He demonstrate to us the gravity of our sin, our critical need for repentance, His yearning to forgive us, to change us, to make us holy and righteous and to restore our holy covenant relationship with Him? Surely not by repeating old laws or introducing new laws! On the contrary, it is the cross of the Messiah alone by which God supremely demonstrates His holiness and righteousness to us and offers us His decisive diagnosis of humanity’s sickness unto death. How, more vividly then through the Messiah’s Cross, could God reveal His wrath against sin and proclaim that the wages of sin is death!
At the same time, the cross of the Messiah is also God’s remedy for our illness.
c) The Cross of Jesus the Messiah: God’s Supreme Revelation of His Love
The Holy Bible holds both God’s righteousness and love as the motivation for the cross of the Messiah. The following passages from Scripture illustrate God’s love for humanity, which culminates in the Messiah’s cross:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
“… God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” (2 Corinthians 5:19)
“… you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)
According to the Scriptures Jesus Himself foretold to His disciples that He had to suffer, die and then rise: “ ‘We are going up to Jerusalem,’ he said, ‘and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.’ ” (Mark 10:33-34)
Shortly after this prophecy he explained why He had to undergo such suffering: “ ‘For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ ” (Mark 10:45)
It is also vital for us to understand that Jesus Himself did not arbitrarily prophesy and decide what was to happen. In fact, He was continually aware that the prophets of old had provided the pattern for His ministry, not least the great prophet Isaiah who had written:
“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all … For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:4-6, 12c; see Appendix 3)
Yet, we may persist, why the need for such suffering and costly love? To capture even the tiniest glimpse of this critical need, imagine a drowning child pleading to his mother for help, despite the mother’s past and persistent warnings that the child be careful around deep water and the child’s equally persistent rejections of her warnings. Does not the child’s arrogance and rebellious behavior create strong tensions within the mother’s heart? Why not simply abandon the ungrateful and disobedient wretch, disown him, let him drown as the victim of his own folly! Or does her motherliness simply drive her to rescue her child and thereby, hopefully, to change her child’s heart - even if it means that she drowns while saving her child? Then will not the child, experiencing his mother’s sacrificial love, begin to understand? Will not his hardened heart begin to soften, his rebellion give way to obedience, his life change?
So the Biblical account of God’s salvation is essentially a rescue account: God’s rescue of arrogant, disobedient and rebellious humanity, including you and me. Such is the immensity and complexity of the task that He alone can save us, forgive us, heal us, change us. He alone can bear the burden of each and everyone, that burden which no one is able to bear for another or even for oneself. Only He can pay the debt we have incurred. Only He can bear the punishment we have deserved for our sin. Only He can destroy the enmity which we created between Him and ourselves through our sin.
Yes, only God could rescue humanity. And God alone has rescued humanity from the forces of sin, death, the devil and hell. “God was in the Messiah reconciling the world to Himself….” (2 Corinthians 5:19). In Jesus the Messiah, God not only sent a prophet into this world; He Himself came in Jesus, God’s eternal Word become a human. Jesus the Messiah, alone without sin, is alone the perfect reflection of God’s righteousness and God’s love as God’s eternal Word. He alone possesses the character and strength to do the job, to pay the price. As the Bible says, He who was rich became poor so that we through His poverty might become rich 2 Corinthians 8:9) - in understanding God, His love and His righteousness and in experiencing His forgiveness and new life. He paid the price, as the Bible says, not with gold or silver but with His holy precious blood so that we might be no longer His disobedient slaves but His adopted children and serve Him with love as only children can best serve. He ransomed us! (1 Peter 1:18,19; Galatians 4:4-7). The sinless Messiah died so that we sinners might live.
Yes, only God can save. And only God has saved and still saves. But, again, how does He save and why does He save? He saves not by simple physical power (as if God had the biggest muscles). He saves not because we earn or are worthy of our salvation (since, by God’s standard, we are sinners in need of His grace). He saves us (despite ourselves) because He loves us (“God so loved the world …”) and by His holy love, the greatest of all powers. God has the biggest heart! God is greater - greater in love!
The Messiah, as the Good Shepherd, became the sacrificial lamb, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), in order to save His sheep. He taught others to love unto death and He practiced what He preached. It was, indeed, upon the cross that Jesus the Messiah enacted God’s love most powerfully and eloquently.
Do you recall the religious leaders mocking Jesus on the cross? “ ‘He saved others … but he can’t save himself! Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.’ ” (Mark 15:31,32)
True, the leaders were correct when they said that Jesus could not save Himself, but surely not because He did not have the power to come down from the cross. In fact, He had the power to break the strength of ropes and nails, and to come down. Nails, ropes, or any other force did not hold Him on that cross. It was solely God’s love and righteousness that kept Him there until He died - for you and for me also.
d) The Resurrection of Jesus the Messiah: God’s Victory and Our Assurance
We have already touched on the historicity of the Messiah’s resurrection from the dead. Yes, it is true that the Messiah rose bodily from the dead. It is not a figment of Christian imagination, a product of Christian wishful thinking. Its evidences are powerful, not least the empty tomb of the Messiah, the dramatic changes within Jesus’ disciples after His resurrection, the rapid spread of Christian faith throughout the Roman empire.
But what of the meaning of the Messiah’s resurrection? The resurrection of the Messiah from the dead is God’s seal of approval upon Jesus as the Messiah and upon His ministry in life on earth and in death upon the cross. It is also God’s key whereby He unlocks the mystery of Jesus’ coming into this world as the Messiah and His terrible suffering and His ignoble death upon the shameful cross. Through the Messiah and His cross, God proves that He loves the world; that He loves sinners and forgives them; that He restores friendship and peace between Himself and humanity in the place of the enmity and conflict which humanity created through sin; that He Himself accomplishes this through Jesus the Messiah; that through the costly sacrifice and death of the Messiah, He overcomes sin and death, the devil and all the powers of evil. He breaks their power. Life, not death, triumphs! The Messiah’s resurrection from the dead leaves us with no doubt that God has put death to death.
How eloquently the Psalms of David speak about God’s forgiveness of our sins and a cleansed heart!
“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.” (Psalm 32:1,2)
The resurrection of the Messiah is God’s decisive affirmation that He wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3,4)
Moreover, the resurrection conclusively reveals to us not only what Jesus the Messiah does but who He is. It is true the Messiah is a great teacher, a prophet, a messenger, and a guide. Yet before He became these, from eternity He is God’s eternal Word. He became a human being and servant to become God’s personal sacrifice on the cross for all people and for their sin. This is why Jesus is the Messiah. This, then, is why Jesus has said:
“ ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father.’ ” (John 14:9)
“ ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life.’ ” (John 11:25)
And this is why we, with Jesus’ apostle, can proclaim:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38,39)
Christ is risen, Christ is living,
Dry your tears, be unafraid!
Death and darkness could not hold Him,
Nor the tomb in which He lay.
Do not look among the dead
For one who lives forever more.
Tell the world that Christ is risen,
Make it known He goes before.
If the Lord had never risen,
We’d have nothing to believe;
But His promise can be trusted:
“You will live, because I live.”
As we share the death of Adam,
So in Christ we live again.
Death has lost its sting and terror,
Christ the Lord has come to reign.
Death has lost its old dominion,
Let the world rejoice and shout!
Christ, the first-born of the living,
Gives us life and leads us out.
Let us thank our God, who causes
Hope to spring up from the ground.
Christ is risen, Christ is giving
Life eternal, life profound.
(Hymnal Supplement 98,
Concordia Publishing House, 1998.)
EPILOGUE: JESUS THE MESSIAH’S
HEALING MINISTRY CONTINUES
A. A Review of Jesus’ Healing Ministry
In previous chapters we have provided clear summaries of Jesus' ministry from the Bible and noted how important a part healing played in His ministry. One summary reads: “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” (Matthew 4:23)
We have also noted that Jesus' great miracles were not self-serving activities of a power broker or entertaining exhibitions of a magician. Quite the contrary! All Jesus' works were God's signs that He was God's chosen Messiah, the One whom God sent into the world for the nation, Israel, and for all people. God had sent Him to break the powers of sin, sickness and death and to redeem His people, Israel, and the whole world.
Nor, as we have noted previously, should Jesus' works have taken His people by surprise. God had already declared His plan through His prophets that His Messiah would engage in healings as part of His activities. One such prophecy: “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” (Isaiah 35:5,6)
Thus, when Jesus came into the world, He performed such great works as His way of identifying Himself as the Messiah. He was doing these works because God had clearly proclaimed through His prophets that the Messiah would do these works. Through these works He clearly demonstrated that He, Jesus, was God's Messiah announced by the prophets, that God had again turned to His rebellious people to change them, that a new age had begun, that in Jesus the Messiah the Kingdom of God had actually come to this earth, that God Himself was present and that He wanted to take control of their hearts and rule over them as their dear Heavenly Father.
B. God's Holy Spirit Enables Jesus' Followers to Carry on His Ministry
But what happened after Jesus left this world? After Jesus ascended into heaven, from where He had come, His apostles and disciples carried on His ministry of preaching and teaching that Jesus was the Messiah. They assured the people that Jesus was the long-expected Messiah whom God had promised to send. All this has been clearly reported, with the help of God's Holy Spirit, in Luke's second writing called The Acts of the Apostles. In Acts 10, Luke told how Peter, one of Jesus' apostles, was telling a Roman centurion (not the centurion we read about in Chapter 6) how the prophets among the Children of Israel had foretold the coming of the Messiah and how Jesus fulfilled these prophecies. At one point Peter stated: “You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached - how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of devil, because God was with him”. (Acts 10:37,38; see Glossary, John the Baptist.)
What Peter reported about Jesus, His anointing with the Holy Spirit and His works, Peter had seen. Can you imagine what marvelous memories he had as he recalled Jesus' ministry of healing: that multitude of incidents when the blind saw, the deaf heard and spoke, the lame walked, those possessed with evil spirits were liberated, the lepers were cleansed - and, yes, those occasions when the dead were made alive, the irreversible reversed! For all this, too, Peter said, God had anointed Jesus with His Spirit to be the Messiah, promised by the prophets, through whom and in whom God Himself was present with His people.
C. Jesus' Disciples Heal in the Name of Jesus
But what about Jesus' ministry of healing? When Jesus ascended into heaven, did His ministry of healing cease? No doubt, Peter and other chosen disciples vividly remembered how Jesus had sent them out to help the people: “When Jesus had called the Twelve (disciples) together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” (Luke 9:1,2) “They went out and preached that people should repent.” (Mark 6:13)
Yes, Jesus empowered and instructed His disciples to heal the sick. He did not withdraw this gift when He returned to heaven. Ever since Jesus had commissioned His disciples to be witnesses for Him throughout the world, His disciples have recalled the needs of the sick also. Let the following example suffice as an indication:
“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer - at three in the afternoon. Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” (Acts 3:1-10)
“ ‘In the name of Jesus Christ (Messiah) of Nazareth, walk!’ ” Peter underlined this as a part of his message to the crowd who witnessed this healing: “ ‘By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.’ ” (Acts 3:16)
It is thus clear from the Holy Bible that God wanted His people to continue the healing ministry of Jesus on earth through His Holy Spirit and in the Name of Jesus. The New Testament reports several incidents in which Jesus' special disciples, called apostles (such as Peter and John), performed miracles in the Name of Jesus. Others also who were not apostles, such as Philip and Stephen, did miracles. About Stephen Luke reports: “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.” (Acts 6:8)
This is not to say, however, that all Jesus' disciples had the gift of healing. According to the Holy Bible the gifts of God's Holy Spirit, including the gift of healing, are many and He has apportioned these gifts among His disciples according to His gracious will (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). It is assumed that those of future generations endowed by God's Holy Spirit with this gift are to perpetuate this ministry of healing in Jesus' Name until Jesus returns. In no way should the Church ignore, withdraw or squander this prestigious inheritance and this precious service which God has graciously bequeathed it. So God expects His Church to share it. Praise God for this great privilege!
D. A Model for Healing
In fact, the Bible has offered Christian congregations, then as now, a way to carry on Jesus' mandate to help the sick and thereby sustain Jesus' ministry of healing: “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:14-16)
The following points briefly elaborate on this passage:
1. Mature Christians, committed disciples of the Messiah, are to carry out this procedure. They are to acknowledge God, His holiness and His love; to recognize God's gracious desire that seeks the welfare of all people; to know and to trust in Jesus the Messiah as God's unique revelation of Himself in this world, and as His way for people's bodily healing and eternal salvation. To be sure their lifestyle is to reflect their spiritual maturity to intercede on behalf of the sick.
2. When they pray, they are to pray over the sick and to anoint them with oil, a medicine and the symbol of God's life-giving Holy Spirit. They are to pray to God that His Holy Spirit, who heals bodies and cleanses hearts, would heal and cleanse those for whom they pray from sin, suffering and disease - in the Name of Jesus, just as Peter and all Jesus' disciples have prayed in the Name of Jesus.
3. As they pray for the sick, they will pray in faith. Such prayer does not mean that those engaged in prayer resort to constant repetition of Bible verses and prayer, sustained shouting and shrieking lamentation, as if God's hearing and understanding were impaired and His heart required softening. However, praying in faith may mean praying with patience and perseverance, more so since the healing itself may require time. It certainly means that those engaged in prayer recognize that the Heavenly Father knows the needs of all and provides for them, even before they are brought before Him. And, yes, He hears and answers them, as He understands what is best for them, just as wise parents know what is best for their child. After all, He is wiser than all the wisest put together!
4. They know, of course, that this ministry of prayer and anointing (perhaps linked with fasting) among the sick does not mean that the sick are to ignore, much less despise, normal treatment available to them through the hospital, medicines and medical personnel. After all, these, too, are gifts of God, for which we all should thank Him. Indeed, how many medical personnel pray for their patients and seek God's guidance while they treat them! In sum, all healing, whether spontaneous or prolonged, whether by prayer or regular medical treatment or both, is from God, from God alone. To Him be the praise! “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.” (Psalm 103:2,3)
5. Then, they will remember the connection between sickness and sin. They know God alone truly knows the condition of all people's bodies, minds and souls. Yet they, too, as they are aware of their illnesses, need to scrutinize the condition of their minds and hearts to discern their need for repentance. All sin is not only against themselves but also against God and their neighbors. Even if a sickness cannot be attributed to sin, yet nothing frustrates and blocks health of body, mind and heart so effectively as lack of forgiveness - God's forgiveness for the sinful hearts and actions of individuals and communities and their lack of forgiveness for those who sin against them. While praying for health of body, let them consider praying also, like the great king and prophet David: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51:1,2)
When we know God's forgiveness and can forgive others, then we can pray for others more effectively also, or be prayed for or upon by others.
E. All Are Not Healed
Yet, after all is said and done, the cold fact remains that not all people are healed after prayer; many continue to be sick and suffer. Even those whom Jesus raised from the dead died again. In fact all people die, unless the Lord Jesus returns to earth before they die. How should we respond to this? Certainly it would be useless to pretend that we can isolate the reason for each individual failure. At the same time, the portion of Scripture, the Book of James, which tells us how to pray for the sick (5:14-16), also provides us with clues that may contribute to our understanding: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:1-10)
On the basis of this portion of Scripture and our concern for our failures when praying for the sick, may we offer the following comments:
1. From the Holy Bible we know that God created everything, that He created everything good, that He loves all people, that He is faithful and His Word is true. Jesus the Messiah, God's eternal Word, provides solid proof in this world of God's love and faithfulness.
2. We know that sin, sickness and death, which in past and present have characterized God's creation, are not creations of God. They are human intrusions into His creation; they are alien to God's creation and not the creations of God. They are intrusions to which you and I and all people contribute. God wants to overcome them and remove them. Again what better evidence to demonstrate this than the Messiah, His life, His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, as the Bible eloquently and emphatically represents this.
3. We know that God knows that we all are affected by sin, sickness and death, that we need salvation from them and from all their consequences, that God knows all our needs, including our sickness and suffering, even before we pray to Him about them, better than we ourselves know them, and that He knows and wants what is best for us.
4 At the same time, we know God requests each of us (as a dear father requests his child) to present our needs to Him in prayer freely and with abandonment (as a child jumps into the arms of a loving parent) - not carelessly, indiscriminately, without recognition of our precious relationship to Him. With His help we will resolve to submit ourselves, too, resolving also, as our Scripture text above suggests, to examine ourselves where we have failed to submit ourselves to Him. So we will check our personal relation with God, with our neighbors, with friend and enemy. We will ponder the condition of our hearts, our minds and our bodies. We will meditate upon our purposes and our priorities in life, our means for attaining our objectives, the purity of our intentions and our motives.
Should we also discern any difference between what we want and what God wants for us, i.e., what we really need? And, again, do our quarreling, our pride and our envy block God's healing for us? Yes, we are to pray for the sick, for others and ourselves, if need be with much patience and perseverance. Yes, we are to pray to God, heeding God's command to pray and to submit ourselves to Him, to His will and His purpose for us. To submit ourselves before Him and trust in Him: anything less is idolatry.
F. A Personal Word
If I was healed by the laying on of hands and by the fervent prayers of a few men and women, following the guidance of God's Holy Scriptures (James 5:14-16), why should not others be healed who are in similarly dire need? If a power house is close to you and you are in need of power, should you not avail yourself of its presence and prepare to receive its benefits in your home for all who reside there?
So if you are sick or know someone sick, I invite you to share in those blessings in which I was invited to share and now cherish. It has been the intention of this book to introduce you to what God has done in the past for the sick through Jesus the Messiah and His Holy Spirit and what He is able to do for you and for others today. If you seek healing for yourself or for another, know that God has graciously gifted many believers with the power to heal the sick in the Name of Jesus and has offered adequate guidance through His Scriptures how to go about it. God desires you, too, to be holy and to lead a holy and godly life; He wants your bodies to be His holy temples.
As you ponder this invitation, your need, and your response, allow me to put them into clear Biblical perspective for your prayerful meditation: Know that the Holy Bible states that God saves us by grace through faith in Jesus the Messiah. At the same time, the Bible teaches that faith without good works is dead. Stated otherwise, God saves us by faith in Jesus in order that we do good works, not that we do good works in order that we be saved. It is like a well: if the well is not clean, it gives out only dirty water. The well must first be cleaned; only then can it provide clean water. Yes, only then can it provide clean water— and must provide clean water, if it is to justify its own existence and fulfil its function as a blessing for the village, i.e., to slake the thirst of each individual within the community, and even others outside also.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that the accounts of Jesus' healings not only demonstrate God's grace but also often indicate how Jesus expected them who found healing to respond in obedience to Him and to His command: The paralytic was asked to rise, pick up his mat and walk (Mark 2:11); the man with the withered hand had to stretch out his hand (Mark 3:5); the blind man was requested to go to a pool to wash out the mud which Jesus had applied to his eyes (John 9:7). They trusted His promises, acted upon them, and found blessing for themselves.
But was that all that Jesus expected from those whom He healed? What happened after they returned to their respective homes and communities, healthy and happy, strong, with new hope and opportunity? Recall the following responses in Scripture:
1. When Jesus healed His disciple Simon Peter's mother-in-law, she began to serve Jesus and His disciples. (Mark 1:29-31)
2. When Jesus requested the lady with an issue of blood to explain before the crowd what happened to her, she explained. (Mark 5:24-34)
3. When Jesus was in the land of the Gerasenes and expelled an unclean spirit from a man possessed with this spirit, He told the man: “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” (Mark 5:19) The man obeyed. “So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.” (Mark 5:20)
4. When the blind man received his sight, he openly witnessed before Jesus' enemies how Jesus had healed him, and later confessed before Jesus Himself, his faith in Jesus. (John 9:38; see Glossary, Messiah.)
Thus, as I have taken this opportunity to invite you and others who are sick to pray God to heal you in the Name of Jesus and to understand the implications of your prayer, so I would call upon you to dedicate yourself to Him after you recover from your illness also. Do not waste your new health and vitality in sin. Do not keep God's blessing upon you to yourself. Give thanks to God in word and deed - before others also. Let your lifestyle reflect your healing in your body, mind and heart. And boldly, yet sensitively and lovingly, share the joy of your new life, your new hope and your salvation, remembering what it cost God to heal and to redeem you through Jesus the Messiah.
And, finally, whatever your condition strive to imitate the attitude of that great follower of Jesus who, inspired by God's Spirit, wrote:
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasant to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay any one evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:1-21)
“Come and listen, all who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; His praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” (Psalm 66:16-20)
Lord whose love in humble service
Bore the weight of human need,
Who upon the cross, forsaken,
Worked your mercy’s perfect deed:
We, your servants, bring the worship
Not of voice alone, but heart;
Consecrating to your purpose
Ev’ry gift which you impart.
Still your children wander homeless;
Still the hungry cry for bread;
Still the captives long for freedom;
Still in grief we mourn our dead.
As you, Lord, in deep compassion
Healed the sick and freed the soul,
By your Spirit send your power
To our world to make it whole.
As we worship, grant us vision,
Till your love’s revealing light
In its height and depth and greatness
Dawns upon our quickened sight,
Making known the needs and burdens
Your compassion bids us bear,
Stirring us to ardent service,
Your abundant life to share.
Dr. I. O. Deshmukh, M.B.B.S; D.P.H.,
Payaam - e – Najaat,
455, Aurangabad Cantt.,
India - 431 002.
Appendix 2: Scripture Verses for Prayer
1. GOD’S GOOD WILL AND PURPOSE FOR PEOPLE
“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. All you have made will praise you, O Lord; your saints will extol you.” (Psalm 145:8-10)
“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.” (Psalm 103:2,3)
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” (Psalm 23:1)
God said: “I am the Lord, who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3,4)
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Jesus said: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
Jesus said: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
Jesus said: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8)
Jesus said: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
2. THE CHARACTER AND RESPONSE OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD
A. They Repent and Confess Their Sin
“The time has come,” Jesus said. “The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15)
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”. (1 John 1:9)
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)
B. God Forgives Them and Gives Them a New Heart
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14)
C. As They Forgive, So They Are Forgiven and Are at Peace with Others
Jesus said: “If you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14,15)
Jesus said: “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9:50)
Jesus said: “When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)
D. They Love as Jesus Loves
Jesus said: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
E. They Practice Humility
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6,7)
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
F. They Trust God
“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’ ” (Romans 1:16,17)
G. They Are Not to Doubt
“ ‘Come’, he (Jesus) said … Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ ” (Matthew 14:29-31)
“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:6-8)
H. They Are Not to Fear
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he (God) first loved us.” (1 John 4:18,19)
I. They Avoid Anxiety
Jesus said: “So do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:31-34)
“Cast all your anxiety on him (God) because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
J. They Persevere in Prayer
“Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s (Ayyub) perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy … Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” (James 5:10,11,17,18)
K. They Thank God
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (Psalm 118:1)
3. SIMPLE PRAYERS
“God, have mercy on me a sinner!” (Luke 18:13)
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:38)
“Take pity on us and help us.” (Mark 9:22)
“Lord, I want to see!” (Luke 18:41)
“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” (Psalm 103:2)
4. GOD HEARS OUR PRAYERS AND ANSWERS THEM
“The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” (Psalm 145:17-19)
“Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” (Psalm 50:15)
Jesus said: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13)
“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:13-16)
“O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.” (Psalm 30:2)
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
“Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)
5. KING DAVID’S PRAYER FOR GOD’S FORGIVENESS
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.” (Psalm 51:1-4)
6. GOD ASSURES US HE IS FOR US
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all these things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39)
7. THE PRAYER JESUS TAUGHT HIS DISCIPLES TO PRAY
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-13)
Appendix 3: The Suffering Servant-King
The reader of the New Testament account of Jesus the Messiah soon discovers Jesus’ profound familiarity with the Old Testament: the Torah of Moses, the Psalms of David and the Writings of the Prophets. Jesus continually quotes from these Scriptures and clearly indicates how His life as Servant-King is patterned upon them. Centuries before Jesus the Messiah came into this world to be the Messiah, the prophet Isaiah had already vividly portrayed the nature of the Messiah’s ministry of healing and redeeming and the suffering He was to endure, particularly in the following passages:
“See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him - his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond any human likeness - so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand. Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgement he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12)
Appendix 4: King David’s Confession of Sin
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from blood guilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar.” (Psalm 51)
What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit;
Oh, what needless pain we bear-
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged-
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness-
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Saviour, still our refuge-
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In His arms He’ll take and shield you;
Thou wilt find a solace there.
(Lutheran Worship, Concordia Publishing House, 1982)
Q U I Z
If you have studied this booklet carefully, you can easily answer the following questions. Whoever answers 90% of all questions in the three booklets of this series correctly, can obtain a certificate from our center as an encouragement for his/her future services for Christ.
1. Jesus said: "The hour has come fro the Son of Man to be glorified." Why did He say this and what did He mean by saying this?
2. Jesus himself fixed beforehand the hour of His death, the manner in which He would die and the day on which He would rise from the dead. Do you agree with this statement? Why?
3. Were the Jews justified in sentencing Jesus to death?
4. Substantiate the fact that Jesus was raised from the dead by quoting certain testimonies from the Bible.
5. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, what would have happened?
6. What is the significance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
7. "The Cross of Jesus the Messiah is God’s supreme revelation of His love for mankind." How is this possible?
8. Mention the Ten Commandments that God gave to the children of Israel.
9. Mention the two great commandments that Jesus gave to His disciples.
10. Which prophecy of the Old Testament did Jesus fulfill through His ministry of healing?
11. Has Jesus left this legacy of healing with His disciples? Quote some evidence from the Holy Bible in support of your answer.
12. Why are not all people healed by prayers?
13. God wants your body to be a Holy temple. How would you achieve this perfection?
14. What conduct does God expect of you?
15. Which prayers from appendix 2 appeal to you most?
16. What roles do the confession of sin and repentance play in the healing of the sick person?
17. What happens when you forgive others?
18. What teaching about humility do you find in the Bible?
19. How does the Word of God take away fear and anxiety from man’s heart?
20. Why are prayers at times not answered?
21. Mention the prophesies mentioned in the Old Testament about the suffering and death of Jesus, the Messiah.
22. What lesson do you learn from King David’s confession of sin?
Every participant in this quiz is allowed to use any book at his disposition and to ask any trustworthy person known to him when answering these questions. We wait for your written answers including your full address on the papers or in your e-mail. We pray for you to Jesus, the living Lord, that He will send, guide, strengthen, protect and be with you every day of your life!
Yours in His service,
Ibrahimkhan O. Deshmukh
Send your replies to:
PATH-OF-PEACE • P.O. BOX 567
IMPERIAL, PA 15126
or by e-mail to:
GOD’S GOOD NEWS FOR THE SICK
DR. I. O. DESHMUKH
Rev. ERNEST HAHN
“It is the intention of this book to introduce you to what God has done in the past for the sick through Jesus the Messiah and His Holy Spirit, and what He is able to do for you and for others today. If you seek healing for yourself or for another, know that God has graciously gifted many believers with the power to heal the sick in the name of Jesus and has offered adequate guidance through His Scriptures on how to go about it.”