Following Jesus is really what the Christian life is all about. Following Jesus makes life easy in many ways. You don’t have to figure everything out yourself, you simply need to do what Jesus tells you to do. To follow Jesus is to be like Him in your attitudes and thought life. To follow Jesus is to speak the truth in love as Jesus did. To follow Jesus is to do the things that Jesus did.
Today, our message is entitled “Does God Heal Today?” Some people say no. Others only through doctors. Yet others, say rarely. Today, we’re going to look at God’s Word to see how it answers the question.
Luke 4:40-41 (ESV) Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. And demons also came out of many,
This is one of many verses that describe Jesus’ healing ministry. People flocked to Jesus and He healed their diseases and cast demons out of them. As we’ve begun our journey through the Gospel of Luke, we’ve seen summary accounts of Jesus’ healing many. We’ve also read of detailed examples of Jesus healing people. As Jesus was healing people, His disciples were being trained by watching Him. Then Jesus decided it was time for His disciples to do the same things.
Luke 9:1-2 (ESV) And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.
Jesus’ disciples were given the same power that Jesus had to heal and cast out demons. Some would say, well that was the twelve apostles and we’re not apostles. If we disregarded everything that Jesus told His apostles to do, there wouldn’t be much of anything in the Gospels for us to follow. So, to make it clearer to us the Jesus desires for all His followers to heal people, let’s look at
Luke 10:1, 9 (ESV) After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. … Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
These are 72 unnamed other disciples who were instructed to do the same things. Not only did they heal the sick, but they also cast out demons, just as Jesus had done. Jesus instructed His disciples and us that we need the power of the Holy Spirit to do supernatural things, like heal the sick and cast out demons. The power of the Holy Spirit, called by Jesus the baptism in the Holy Spirit must be asked for in order to receive it. The Holy Spirit gives out specific gifts related to healing.
1 Corinthians 12:9-10a (ESV) to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles
Here we see three gifts of the spirit mentioned, including gifts of healing. Some would say, well if God wants me to have it, He’ll just have to give it to me. But that’s not the way God works. The way that we receive gifts from God is by asking Him for them. If we don’t ask, we won’t receive.
1 Corinthians 14:1 (ESV) Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts,
This verse is a command, this is not an option for a follower of Jesus. Every follower of Jesus should earnestly desire spiritual gifts. What does it mean to earnestly desire spiritual gifts? It means to earnestly pray and ask God for them in your life. It’s not just asking once, it’s asking until God gives you the power to use them to show His love to others. And notice that there are gifts (plural) of healing, so there are different kinds of gifts of healing. If God commands you to earnestly desire something, do you think that He then wouldn’t give it to you? I don’t think so. If you seek, you will find. Yes, God still heals today and He wants to use you and me to bring His healing into our world. So, let’s learn how we can learn to follow Jesus in healing.
Luke 5:12 (ESV) While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”
Leprosy was a terrible skin disease that covered most this man’s body. Not only did leprosy affect him physically, it also made him unclean according to the law. Thus he was supposed to stay away from others, as anyone who touched him would be unclean as well. The man believed that Jesus could heal him, that is make him clean. But he questioned if Jesus would heal him or not. Would healing be Jesus’ will for him?
Luke 5:13 (ESV) And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him.
The first and amazing thing that Jesus did in response to the leper’s question was to reach out and touch him. That undoubtedly amazed the leper and all the onlookers, for they thought the leper’s uncleanness would be transferred to him. Jesus next said, I will, that is I desire to heal you and I will heal you. Then Jesus commanded the healing with the words, “Be clean.” At Jesus’ command, the visible skin condition of leprosy was immediately healed. Rather than the uncleanness of leprosy contaminating Jesus, the holiness of Jesus brought healing and cleanness to the leper through the power of the Spirit.
Luke 5:15-16 (ESV) But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
News of this visible healing miracle of a long-time leper spread and many more people travelled to see Jesus. Their goal was to listen to Jesus teach God’s Word and to be healed of their sicknesses. Luke also mentions that Jesus would take time away by Himself to pray.
What did He pray? He prayed for God’s wisdom and direction in where to go and what to do. Everything that Jesus did, was simply obedience to the Father’s instructions. The leper believed that Jesus could heal and he was healed. You must believe that God can heal.
Some people believe that God no longer heals supernaturally, He only heals through medical science. God does heal through doctors and medicine, but there are many things that even modern medicine cannot heal. God desires for us to believe that God can heal anything, nothing is impossible for God. God can heal the most severe illness or injury through His miraculous power.
How can your faith grow to believe God can heal anything? Faith grows through reading and choosing to believe God’s Word. We mustn’t simply read God’s Word as a record of historic events, although it is that. We must read God’s Word as a description of how Jesus acts today. It was Jesus’ will to heal the leper and it’s His will to heal the most serious illnesses today. As you read the Scripture, make a decision to believe God can still heal today.
Luke 5:17 (ESV) On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.
Jesus’ teaching ministry was always part of His healing ministry. Notice the intriguing sentence “the power of the Lord was with him to heal.” The power of the Lord is the presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus brought healing into people’s lives through the Lord’s power, just as you and I can in our day.
Luke 5:18-19 (ESV) And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus.
Some men had a paralyzed friend, whom they wanted to see healed. The crowd in the home where Jesus was teaching was too large for them to come in. Rather than give up, they climbed up on the roof, tore a hole in the roof and lowered their friend on his bed down. These men did not just believe that Jesus could heal, they believed that He would heal their friend. How do we know that they had that kind of faith?
Luke 5:20 (ESV) And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
Jesus saw the faith, I believe, of the friends and the paralyzed man. They believed that Jesus had the power to heal and that their friend would be healed. Interestingly, Jesus did not immediately heal their friend. Rather, He forgave the sins of the paralytic. Undoubtedly, Jesus perceived that the paralytic was repentant and had put his faith in Jesus.
Why did Jesus forgive the man’s sins first, rather than heal him? Jesus wanted to show us the priority of spiritual healing over physical healing. Being forgiven and receiving eternal life is the greatest healing. We must believe that God will heal.
Last week, another AG pastor St. Louis, Pastor Arlie related to me the story of an amazing healing that had happened in their church last month. A woman named Gloria was diagnosed with endometriosis and an ovarian disorder at the age of 10. For 30 years, she had struggled with cysts, tumors, pains and non-stop bleeding. The pain was so bad, that at times she could hardly walk. In early February, her doctor told her that she would need another surgery, which was scheduled for Tuesday.
On the following Sunday, February 20, she came to church and came forward for prayer. As the people were praying for her, Gloria felt that she didn’t have faith to be healed. Then a church leader Patrick, laid his hand on her and said “Gloria, you are healed. The Holy Spirit has said that you are healed to the root of the issue!” Immediately, she felt the power of God, the pain disappeared, she straightened up, the bleeding stopped, and she knew she was healed. Gloria went to her doctor on Tuesday who examined her and told her that she had been healed of all her issues. God still heals today and Patrick believed that God would heal Gloria and she was.
Luke 5:21-22 (ESV) And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts?
As the Jewish leaders did not believe that Jesus was God, they considered His forgiveness of sins as blasphemy. Jesus knew what they were thinking and said …
Luke 5:23-24 (ESV) Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.”
The forgiveness of sins cannot be sin by the eyes. So, Jesus demonstrated the power of God by speaking to the paralytic to rise up and walk.
Luke 5:25-26 (ESV) And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”
As Jesus spoke, the healing miracle happened, and the paralytic began to walk. The healed man glorified God, as did all the people who had seen the healing miracle. They were filled with awe, having seen something extraordinary. Healing shows God’s power.
The same is true today, as in Jesus’ day. Healing demonstrates God’s power. Now, some will not be convinced, they will try to explain things away. Yet, others will be amazed and drawn closer to God.
How should we respond? As we started the message off today, God commands us to earnestly desire spiritual gifts. Ask God to give you gifts of healing so that you can pray for others and see them healed. Ask God to help you go from believing that God can heal, to believing that God will heal as you pray for others. We are to pray for others for two reasons. First of all, we love people who are ill and have compassion on them. Secondly, we want to see God glorified as His healing power is demonstrated. Pray not just for yourself, but for our church, that we would more and more become a place of healing for all who come. Healing shows God’s power.
Our question this morning was “Does God Heal Today?” The answer from Scripture is an emphatic Yes. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Ask God to help your faith to grow to believe that God can heal every disease. Ask God to help your faith believe that God will heal the person you are praying for. Be alert to opportunities that God places in your life to pray for the healing of others. As we show God’s power through healing, people will be saved and set free. God heals today, just as He always has.