Have Faith in the Healer

Posted: October 9, 2016 in Luke, Uncategorized

Luke 7:1-17, “Have Faith in the Healer”

Healing can seem rather routine.  No one wants to be sick or suffer any kind of illness, but when we do, we simply go to the doctor.  He/she diagnoses the problem, prescribes a solution, sometimes performs a surgery, and (generally speaking) put us back on our way.  It’s rather hum-drum & easy.  Not so in the ancient world, nor in the 3rd world today!  Illnesses we consider common & curable often lead to death, and doctors of any kind (much less those with modern medical training) can be far & few in-between.

It’s no wonder that so many people around the world come to faith in Jesus through miracles of healing!  In places where doctors are hard to be found, God is not.  He is omnipresent.  There is no person anywhere who cannot respond to the power of Jesus, as long as there is someone there to present Jesus to them. 

Of course, sometimes Jesus simply shows up.  Today, it would be through a miracle – but 2000 years ago, Jesus could physically walk into town and manifest His power, which is exactly what our text shows us.  After the Sermon on the Plain came to a close, Jesus continued His Galilean ministry, and as Luke (and the other gospel writers) has shown us, this often included supernatural healings.  The Bible doesn’t narrate every single healing Jesus performed, although it does give us a good sampling.  And the events it does present to us are presented for a reason: to bring us to faith in the One who heals.  If Jesus can heal the sick – if Jesus can raise the dead – surely Jesus can take care of our deepest eternal needs by healing us of our sin & granting us everlasting life.  He has the authority to do so, thus we need to have faith in the authoritative Jesus.  We need to have faith in the Healer.

Luke 7:1–17

  • Healing #1: the Centurion’s slave

1 Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum.

  • Although Luke doesn’t always provide specific timestamps in his writing, he does make the general timeframe clear in this case.  “All His sayings” is a plain reference to the sermon in Chapter 6, and although scholars debate whether or not the Sermon on the Mount is the same thing as the Sermon on the Plain, the basic idea is that the message was done & Jesus was moving on.  Obviously Jesus never stopped all of His teaching (He did it everywhere!), but that specific teaching came to a close and “He entered Capernaum.
  • Where was Capernaum?  It was a large town on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.  Recall that this was Jesus’ primary base of ministry whenever He was in the region – it seemed to have been His adopted home (outside of Nazareth).  Already, Jesus had developed quite a reputation in the town by casting out demons (4:31-37), performing healings of various illnesses (4:38-41), and providing all kinds of teaching.  It’s no wonder that both Jews and Gentiles began to seek Him out in their times of need.

2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. 3 So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant.

  • This event seems to be paralleled in Matthew 8:5-13.  Likewise, Matthew shows a centurion (an Roman officer like a lieutenant who was in charge of at least 100 men), and this man had a sick servant, whom he loved very much & thus he requested help from Jesus, trusting in His authority to heal.  There are a few differences between Luke & Matthew, but none without an explanation.  For instance, Matthew has the centurion approach Jesus directly, while Luke does not – even emphasizing the fact that he doesn’t.  But this isn’t necessarily a contradiction.  Matthew could have easily been summarizing the event.  A personal envoy from the centurion (as Luke shows) is still a direct request.  In addition, it even highlights the centurion’s understanding of authority, since he sent people with his authority.  In any case, Luke & Matthew are easily reconciled together.  There is another similar situation in the gospel of John (Jn 4:46-53), but that has many differences and is best explained as a separate event altogether.
    • What’s the point?  The point is that we can be encouraged not to be easily thrown by the objections of skeptics.  It is easy to find websites and other lists from people claiming instance after instance of contradictions within the Scripture.  Yet in the vast majority of examples, the supposed contradictions are easily explained simply through the different perspectives of different authors.  Even the tougher examples have explanations, though it may take a bit of work and research to find them.  But the bottom line is that we can trust our Bibles!  People who are quick to point on the flaws in the Bible are people who have an agenda.  More than any book in history (religious or not), the Bible has stood the test of time, and there are answers to every objection ever raised.  Give the Bible the benefit of the doubt – and then go do the research for yourself.  See it with your own eyes, and be assured that the word of God is true.
  • Regarding this particular event as Luke narrates it, we have a situation with a loving, caring Roman centurion who sent Jewish elders to Jesus asking Him to help this Gentile man and his slave (“servant” = δουλος = slave).  The fact the Roman had a slave was not at all unusual, nor was the fact that he cared for the person as more than “just” a slave.  Close relationships between masters and slaves were not unheard of within the Roman Empire, even if this kind of closeness was relatively rare.  In the end, it reveals something about the character of the centurion: he was a good guy.  Obviously no one is truly good (i.e. perfect) except God – but in comparison with the rest of his culture, he wasn’t bad at all.  This was the kind of guy you’d want as a neighbor – one you’d want as a friend.  This was not the typical picture of a cold & cruel Roman military officer; this was a caring man who made effort to develop relationships with people…even his own slaves.
  • Why did the centurion send Jewish elders?  We’re not told, though it certainly doesn’t seem to be the picture of any sort of oppression where he forced people to go for him.  On the contrary, it seems to be a gesture of respect.  Jesus was a Jewish rabbi, and in general, most rabbis would receive audiences from known Jewish elders far more readily than that of Roman soldiers.  To send a uniformed Roman to Jesus might have seemed intimidating; a fellow Jew would be welcome.  Of course Jesus wouldn’t be intimidated by anyone, but it seems that the centurion was doing as much as he could to approach Jesus on Jesus’ terms, rather than his own.
  • An added benefit of sending Jewish elders was that they could provide references and recommendation for the centurion.  Verse 4…

4 And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, 5 “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”

  • The Jewish elders readily recognized how other rabbis might perceive any request from a Roman centurion – thus they were quick to mention his worthiness.  This man “was deserving,” in their opinion.  This wasn’t one of the Romans who oppressed the Jews.  On the contrary, he loved the “nation,” and “built” (i.e. funded) a “synagogue” for them.  No doubt Jesus had been inside the Capernaum synagogue many times, even performing at least one miracle there when He cast a demon out of a man. (Mk 1:21-25)  That same synagogue had been built by this Roman.  If that wasn’t proof of his love for Israel, nothing was.  Surely Jesus could see this man’s worth, could He not?
  • From a human perspective, the argument makes sense.  Here’s a good guy.  He’s compassionate towards his slaves – he’s compassionate towards the Jews.  He’s put his money where his mouth is – there’s nothing hypocritical about him.  Surely he’s earned his way into getting a miracle on his behalf.  After all, he’s not even asking for himself, but for someone else – someone less fortunate.  This is a guy deserving of an answer from the Messiah.  Right?  Wrong.  At least, it’s the wrong mindset.  This is the way we so often think in regards to prayer: “Lord, I’ve been good!  I’ve done the right things.  I’ve been kind to strangers, and good to my family.  I’ve earned this answer from you; I’m worthy!”  Of course, we might not say that we’ve earned it, but that’s the way we think.  There’s just one glaring problem with it: we haven’t earned anything at all!  To claim our worth is to be blind to our sin.  How does a repeat offender claim to a judge in court that he/she is worthy of grace? “I know I broke the law a dozen times habitually over the course of years, but I’ve done all kinds of really good things along the way!”  It sounds ridiculous on the face of it…and it is.  That’s the same mindset for every time we believe we’re deserving or worthy of God’s favor.  We’re not worthy of anything except death.  Have we done good things (relatively speaking)?  Sure.  But it doesn’t erase all of our crimes and sins against God.  Nothing does – nothing, except the sacrifice of Jesus for us.  The only person who deserves God’s favor is God’s Son, so He gave Himself for us that we might receive God’s favor in His place.  He became our spiritual substitute, so that we might be saved.  2 Corinthians 5:21, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."  When it comes to worth/deservedness, the only righteousness we had was like toxic waste: bloody defiled rags good for nothing but a medical waste bin.  But Jesus is worthy, and He substituted Himself for us so that we could receive His righteousness.
  • Jesus understood all of this, even if the Jewish elders did not.  Being the Son of God, Jesus already knew about this Roman centurion anyway, and willingly went with the group.  Verse 6…

6 Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. …

  • Interestingly, although the Jewish elders claimed the worth of the centurion, the centurion did not do the same.  Twice (using different words), the centurion describes himself as unworthy.  First, he says that he is inadequate or insufficient enough to have Jesus even enter his home.  It is like he’s saying, “Who am I, other than a simple man?  Why should the King of the Jews enter my home?”  Second, he directly refutes the Jewish elders in regards to his works, using the same word they used regarding worth/value.  The whole idea is that the centurion saw nothing in himself or in his life that deserved the gracious response of God.  He had done nothing of value, and he was inherently unworthy anyway.
  • Today, people with the same attitude might be sent to a counselor to try to help with their self-esteem.  That sort of low view of oneself is deemed downright unhealthy.  It’s not.  The Roman Gentile actually had the better theology than the Jewish elders.  He knew he was unworthy of God’s grace.  It’s not that the centurion walked around, flagellating himself (figuratively speaking).  He wasn’t constantly beating himself up, obsessing over every little thing he ever did.  He simply had the right perspective.  Was he evil in the sight of man?  Of course not.  He lived his life as honorably as he knew how.  But he wasn’t perfect.  He wasn’t sinless. Compared to men, he was good; compared to God, he was not.  It didn’t matter how good he was in the sight of the world when faced with the reality of seeing the holiness of God face-to-face.  He knew he was unworthy of that, which is why he told Jesus not to go through the trouble of coming to his house.
    • How needed this perspective is in our culture today!  We’re not just self-obsessed; we’re selfie-obsessed!  The more involved we get with social media, it seems the more focus we put upon ourselves.  We have to document every single facet of our lives, and we long for the affirmation of “likes,” “followers,” and “shares.”  That’s not to say every Christian on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc., falls in the same trap – but it certainly is a danger for us.  Be careful!  Let us not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to thing, but think soberly. (Rom 12:3)  We need a right view of ourselves if we are to have a right view of God – and that means we need to get our eyes off of ourselves & on our Lord Jesus.
  • The centurion wasn’t asking Jesus to come, but he was asking for Jesus to help.  All he needed was one thing to happen: for Jesus to simply speak the word.  Verse 7b…

…But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

  • If there was one thing that this Roman military commander understood, it was authority.  It was invested in him, and he submitted to it with others.  As a centurion, he was a commanding officer over 100 men, but he also had commanding officers of his own.  Any military man/woman recognizes the same thing.  Unless you are a brand-new recruit, there’s usually someone with a lower rank than you, and there’s always someone with a higher one.  There’s no room for insubordination in the military.  That’s a quick road to disciplinary methods & potentially criminal charges.  Obedience can mean the difference between life and death on the battlefield, so obedience to authority is taken very seriously in everyday life among the military.  Thus the centurion could give orders to various soldiers, and expect them to be carried out to the letter.
  • That same immediate obedience to authority is what the centurion simply (and correctly) assumes is true about Jesus.  The centurion understood he had authority over his soldiers; the centurion believed that Jesus had authority over sickness.  Whatever it was that ailed his slave (and according to Matthew, it left the servant paralyzed & tormented – Mt 8:6), Jesus had the authority to order that ailment gone, and it would have to leave.  In fact, the centurion believed Jesus had a far greater authority than even he could imagine for himself, in that while the centurion had to be in earshot of those he commanded, the centurion believed that Jesus could simply speak the word from where He was & the illness would have to obey.  Jesus didn’t need to come & lay hands – He didn’t need to perform a ritual – He simply needed to speak, and He could do it from wherever He was, and that would be enough.
    • The centurion was absolutely right!  Jesus does have all authority over every ailment known to man.  More than that, Jesus has all authority over every atom in the universe.  How so?  Because He created them in the first place!  As the Son of God there is nothing He cannot do, because for God nothing is impossible. 
    • Do you believe it?  Be honest!  When faced with a question like this, we’ll say that we do, because we know that’s the good ‘Sunday School’ answer.  But do we really believe it?  Do we pray as if we really believe Jesus can do the impossible?  Obviously, we do not presume upon God.  There are many times that our desires don’t match up with His will, and it seems that our prayers are not answered (at least, not in the way that we want).  But God can do it.  Believing that God can is the first step to seeing if He will.  If we don’t truly believe that God is capable of a task, how can we pray for Him to do it?
      • What do you do if you have a difficult time believing?  At the very least, pray for that!  Like the father who had difficulty believing that Jesus could free his son from demonic affliction, we can pray, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” (Mk 9:24)
  • BTW – although it doesn’t translate well in English, it’s worth taking note of the way the centurion described his slave.  In verse 3 the man was described with the typical word used for a slave, which is also used in vs. 8 with the example of the servant doing this/that: δουλος.  Yet when requesting Jesus to just “say the word,” the centurion calls his servant, παις, which is sometimes translated “servant,” but other times translated “child,” sometimes in reference to one’s own son or daughter.  The idea is that this wasn’t just one more slave among many to this man; this servant was precious to him.  He loved him like family, which is why the centurion was so willing to humble himself and ask Jesus for help.
  • And the centurion was sure that Jesus would grant it.  What’s one word to summarize the centurion’s attitude?  Faith.  And Jesus recognized it immediately!  Verse 9…

9 When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”

  • When Luke says that Jesus “marveled,” He truly did.  The word speaks of amazement, being astounded, being extraordinarily impressed by something.  That in itself is something at which to marvel!  After all, how incredible does something have to be in order to impress the Son of God?  Jesus was impressed!  Out of all the people that He had encountered in His earthly ministry (even among His own disciples!), He had not discovered someone with so much faith.  If faith could be likened unto coins with the average Jew having an average salary, this Roman Gentile was a millionaire.  With little background in Jewish customs, and probably zero instruction in the Hebrew Scriptures, the centurion had more faith than anyone else Jesus had met in Israel.  It’s no wonder He was impressed!
  • What is faith?  It’s exactly what the centurion exampled.  He had a firm belief in the person, power, and word of Jesus.  He didn’t just reach at straws – he wasn’t tenuously clinging to a possible hope.  He knew without question that if Jesus spoke the word, then no matter where Jesus was, Jesus’ will would be done.  That requires belief in a Jesus of incredible authority: authority over sickness, time, and space.  That requires belief in a Jesus that is far more than a simple teacher, but one with the power of Almighty God.  And that belief was firm.  It was sure & unwavering.  The centurion knew that Jesus had this power – so much so that the message from (both!) the centurion and Jesus could be conveyed via second-hand messenger & still be effective.
    • That’s faith.  Our version of faith quite frequently pales in comparison.  We talk about “leaps of faith,” when we think all real hope is gone.  That isn’t faith; that’s a wish.  Real faith isn’t like blowing out the candles on your birthday cake & hoping that maybe, possibly, you might get what you asked for.  Real faith is confidence – it’s certainty – it’s trust.  Real faith is like pulling the ripcord on your parachute after you’ve jumped out of the plane.  It’s having absolute confidence that the God to whom you prayed, heard, and will act according to His perfect will.
    • Is this your kind of faith?  Do you have this level of confidence?  Obviously we don’t pray to God like we’re spoiled children, expecting Him to provide us blank-checks on whatever we want.  He’s our God; not our butler.  But when you pray, do you pray with this kind of certainty – with this kind of faith?  This is the faith God is looking for!  Jesus loves this kind of faith – He is amazed by it.
    • How do you get it? (1) Ask, (2) Trust.  Yes, you can ask for it & this kind of faith can indeed be considered a gift.  Yet at some point you have to actually step out in it.  Faith isn’t faith until it’s exercised.  You haven’t truly trusted your parachute until you’ve stepped out of the plane.  You might know everything about it: how big it is, how much weight it will hold, how well it’s packed up, etc.  But you haven’t really trusted it until you’ve used it.  Use it!  Trust Jesus – believe upon Him.  Make the decision to exercise your faith.

10 And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.

  • The centurion did get one minor thing wrong: Jesus didn’t have to speak a word for the servant to be healed; He just needed to will it to happen.  From Matthew, we do get some words from Jesus in regards to the healing, but it was a confirmation to the envoys that it had already been done according to their faith (Mt 8:13).  What Jesus wills, will happen!
  • Although we’re not told anything else, can you imagine the reaction among the household upon the slave’s healing – especially in light of the report that the envoy would have brought with them?  All of the faith of the centurion would have been proven true.  Every time that slave walked around would be another testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ.  No doubt at least some in this Roman household came to faith as a result of this miracle.  Talk about the power of God!  Not only did the centurion have faith in God’s power through Jesus to heal the slave, but God has the power to turn a tormenting paralyzing sickness into a tool of the gospel.  That’s power!
  • Healing #2: The widow’s son

11 Now it happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd. 12 And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her.

  • Due to some textual debates, there’s some question if this event actually happened the very next day, or if it happened “soon afterward,” as many other translations take the phrase.  In either case, Luke’s timeline is progressing & not many hours have slipped by before Jesus has the opportunity to show forth His power again.  He proceeded southwest from Capernaum to a tiny village by the name of Nain, and that’s when He & his disciples came across a tragic sight.  A widowed woman had lost her son in death, and his body was currently on the way to burial.  According to the custom of the day, he was laid out on an open stretcher (a funeral bier), and he was being carried outside the city to the burial grounds, almost certainly to a family tomb of some sort. 
  • This was not a lonely funeral – quite a number of people were there.  Obviously the city was well aware of the mother’s grief, and they were with her, mourning by her side.  In addition, Jesus and His disciples were there – apparently a number of His followers in addition to the 12, with a “large crowd” on top of that.  Between the Sermon on the Plain & other miracles of Jesus, crowds seemed to regularly follow Him around at this point, some potentially coming to faith in Him – others probably just waiting to be an eyewitness to the next miracle performed.  They wouldn’t have long to wait!
    • The number of people seems to be a purposeful emphasis by Luke.  “Many” disciples were there – a “large crowd” went with them – the “widow” was present – the “large crowd” from the city was there.  What’s the point?  There were a lot of witnesses!  For the Jews, only 2-3 witnesses were required to provide legal evidence of a crime (or other event).  At this funeral, there were far more than 2-3! Dozens of people (at least) were there.  All would witness the miracle to come.  Considering the magnitude of this sign of Jesus’ power in this tiny seemingly insignificant town, the more witnesses, the better.
    • BTW – the greatest miracle of all time has more than just a couple of witnesses.  When Jesus rose from the dead, the disciples knew it – the women knew it – Jesus’ family knew it – Paul knew it – over 500 people saw Him at once – and not even the Jews nor the Romans of the day could argue against the fact.  The miracle of Jesus’ resurrection is the most attested miracle in all history.  We can know that it is true!
  • For the mother, this was almost a dual death sentence.  Not only was she grieving the loss of her only son, but culturally speaking, she was facing a future of abject poverty.  With no husband to provide for her, and no son to take up her cause, she had no prospect of future income and would likely be reduced to begging or gleaning the fields for whatever food she could gather.  Jesus knew it the moment He looked at her…

13 When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”

  • Two incredible statements in this verse.  First, “He had compassion on her.”  For Jesus to look upon her is amazing enough, but that amazement comes part & parcel with His incarnation.  Just as He walked around, He would see people, and they would have the glorious opportunity to gaze into the eyes of God.  But beyond merely taking notice of her, Jesus had compassion upon her.  He was moved for her.  The Greek word speaks of the inner organs of a person, as that’s where the ancients thought the seat of the emotions were.  We speak of feeling something “in our gut” – that’s a similar idea here.  Jesus’ heart and gut moved for this woman in her plight…He “felt” for her.  Just think on that for a moment.  How amazing is it that Almighty God would be moved with compassion for our sake?  All we deserve from God is His scorn – His wrath – His vengeance.  But He looks upon us with love.  He sees us through eyes of mercy & sympathy.  He knows we are lost and that we desperately need His help (which is why Jesus went to such desperate & extreme measures such as the cross to save us).  He made us – He knows us – He loves us – and He has compassion upon us.
    • How different the God of the Bible is from the false gods of other religions!  What other God so loved His enemies that He graciously reached out to them in love?  What other God has given His Son as a sin sacrifice for those who rebelled against Him?  Only the true God – only God the Father, the I AM, the Creator of heaven & earth.  This is a God who loves us, which means this is a God we can respond to. (Have you?)
  • Second, Jesus told her “Do not weep.”  Say what?!  What more appropriate moment IS there to weep, other than a funeral – particularly the funeral of your child?  It is the most natural thing in the world to do.  In fact, it would be downright strange if she hadn’t been weeping.  Be careful not to get the wrong idea.  Not once does Jesus chastise her for weeping – He is well acquainted with grief, and weeps with those who weep.  What He tells her is to no longer weep.  He was about to do something amazing, and tears of sadness would no longer be required (though tears of joy might!).  Jesus knew what He was about to do, and it was wonderful!
    • There are some instructions in the Bible that might sound strange to us, but we need to trust them.  We need to trust our Lord when He speaks to us.  He knows what He’s doing!

14 Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.

  • No doubt this was a funeral none of them would ever forget!  Although only the will of Jesus was required, He both spoke a word, and provided His touch – thereby demonstrating the power and authority He wields.  And there was an immediate response.  Literally, the text could be translated: “So the dead sat up and began to speak.”  How often do we see the dead suddenly sitting upright?  This was no cruel parlor trick, nor weird reaction of rigor mortis; true life had returned to the young man.  The dead was no longer dead, for he even had full command of his mind & his voice.  When Jesus brings someone back from the dead, He doesn’t play around! 🙂
  • There’s a wonderfully touching moment here as Jesus presents the formerly-dead son back to his mother.  God had given the woman the child in his physical birth, and now that the Son of God gave the man a renewed life, Jesus gave the child back to his mother all over again.  (And this time, it’s doubtful that Jesus said anything to her forbidding her from crying!)

16 Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.” 17 And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region.

  • The fact that “fear” came upon the people seems to be quite the understatement!  The word can (and does) speak of the reverent worship given to God, but it can also refer to terror, depending on the context.  No doubt there was a bit of both!  To witness a dead man sitting straight up in his open-faced coffin would be enough to strike terror into the heart of the most steadfast of men & women.  But it certainly would point someone to the power & reality of God, which is exactly why there was a second reaction: glory.  The power of God was undeniable.  Not even the hardest skeptic among them would have been able to debate what had been done.  Only God can give life to the dead, and that is exactly what had taken place.
  • As a result, there were two testimonies that went out concerning Jesus.  First testimony: “A great prophet has risen up among us.”  Very true!  Perhaps a bit incomplete, but very true.  A great prophet was indeed in their midst.  Interestingly, what Jesus did that particular day was very similar to another miracle performed by another great prophet centuries ago in almost exactly the same area.  On the other side of the mountains upon which Nain sat was the town of Shunem, where the prophet Elisha raised a woman’s son from the dead.  Earlier in Elisha’s ministry, the woman had provided a room for Elisha to stay any time he was in town, and he had granted her the ability to bear a son.  As the child grew, he eventually fell terribly ill & died.  Elisha came, prayed, laid on the dead child, and life came back to him (2 Kings 4:17-37).  To have Jesus come & do something so similar (with far more ease!) would have rung some bells in the minds of the people in Nain.  Surely this was a greater prophet than even Elisha…and He was!
  • Second testimony: “God has visited His people.”  This was truer than they realized.  In their minds, they most likely meant that the presence of God had come among them in the form of a prophet, just like had happened through Elijah, Elisha, and many others.  In reality, the very person of God had indeed visited His people.  Almighty God walked among them in the flesh.  When Jesus visited Nain, GOD visited Nain.
    • When Jesus indwells you, GOD indwells you.  When Jesus saves you, GOD saves you.  Jesus is God!
  • With these two testimonies, the people did the natural thing: spread the news.  When they saw the power and the person of God, how could they refrain from telling others about it?  The greatest thing in the world is to personally witness God at work, giving grace and life to those who believe.  Surely the compassion we have for others ought to compel us to tell them the news.  That’s what happened with the Jews of Nain – and it ought to happen with us.
    • The news of Jesus is too good to remain unspoken!  We’ve encountered so incredibly much when we personally encountered Jesus.  WE were the dead ones, on our way out to burial.  In our sin, we were all dead men & women walking, even if we didn’t know it.  But that’s when Jesus saw us, had compassion upon us, and granted us life by His power & grace.  We have personally encountered the Lord Jesus when we were forgiven & born-again.  We ought to readily spread the report about Him to others as well!

Two healings – two dramatic manifestations of the power of Jesus – two incredible reasons for us to have certain sure faith in the ultimate Healer.  He is the loving compassionate Savior – He is the Almighty all-knowing God – He is the giver of life & creator of the universe – He is the Son of God, the Greatest of Prophets, and the Personal Incarnation of the Living God.  He is Jesus!

He has given us every reason to have faith…the question is whether or not we will.  The woman in Nain wouldn’t have known to ask, but Jesus saw her need and reached out in His grace.  The Roman centurion didn’t have the right to ask, and he knew it well, but still humbly requested the help of Jesus anyway.  Jesus didn’t turn him down, nor will He with us.  Jesus loves to respond to those who respond to Him in humble faith, regardless of what our backgrounds may be.  So respond!  Reach out in faith, and have confident assurance in Christ!

Again, this does not mean that we are guaranteed every single thing we ask for.  You can ask for a $1 million until you’re blue in the face, steadfastly believing God will give it, and still walk away disappointed.  That’s not faith in God; that’s faith in yourself.  If your theology says that it is your faith that forces God to act, then your theology isn’t Biblical.  Biblical theology recognizes that God is God, and we’re not – He is never forced to act according to the will of man.  Biblical faith is faith that trusts God.  Biblical faith is faith that surrenders itself to Christ Jesus.  Biblical faith is clinging to Jesus with all we have, and pulling the ripcord.  It is fully entrusting ourselves to Him.

Do we trust Him as the Healer?  Absolutely, yes!  Our Scripture looked at physical healings, and our Lord Jesus hasn’t changed.  He still has the power to physically heal, and we are on solid Biblical footing every time we ask Jesus to heal.  But better than physical healing is spiritual healing.  We have been ravaged by the disease of sin, and Jesus offers true & total healing.

Have you been healed?  Go to the Healer, and place your faith in Him.


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