A Roman centurion, upon learning that his servant — a servant who is “dear unto him” — is sick and ready to die, sends Jewish elders to Jesus. The elders “plead earnestly with [Jesus],” saying that “this man deserves to have You do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” The Jewish elders claim this Gentile Roman is worthy of Jesus’ attention and time. Jesus goes with them.
Does Jesus go with the elders because the centurion is worthy? Has the Roman earned Jesus’ attention because he’s built a synagogue? Or, does Jesus go with the elders because of His love for the centurion and His desire to heal the servant who is on his deathbed?
The Roman centurion — second guessing his boldness in sending the elders and in sudden, total humility — sends friends to tell Jesus not to come. This man, who the elders say is worthy of Jesus, says, “Lord, trouble not Yourself; for I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof. Wherefore, neither thought I myself worthy to come unto Thee; but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.” (Luke 7:6-7, KJV)
Worthy? The centurion doesn’t believe he’s deserving of Jesus’ special attention. If anything, he feels supremely unworthy. Yet, the Roman understands authority. He knows that with a word, Jesus is able to heal his servant. Jesus doesn’t need to be present; He can heal from a distance. And that is exactly what Jesus does. Jesus heals the servant not because the Roman centurion is worthy, but because this man has “great faith.” (Luke 7:9, KJV)
At Cana-in-Galilee, Jesus meets an officer in the royal service whose son is lying ill at Capernaum. The father has heard that Jesus is arrived from Judea. He comes to Jesus, begging that the Lord return to his home to cure his son, “who [is] at the point of death.” Jesus — exasperated — says to the father, “Will none of you ever believe without seeing signs and portents?” The royal officer only begs the more. Jesus tells him to return to his home where he will find that his son will live.
“The man believes what Jesus says and starts for home.” On his way, his servants meet him. They tell him, “Your boy is going to live.”
The father asks what time it was when his son started to recover. His servants say, “Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.” The father remembers that this was the exact time Jesus told him his son would live.
“He and all his household become believers.”
The father believes enough in Jesus to pay attention to His command to return home. But, it’s hard to imagine that on his walk back to Capernaum this worried father did not begin to doubt. Why didn’t Jesus come with him? Did this Jesus not care enough to make the journey? What if my son dies? What will I do then?
When his servants find him, I imagine they are over-joyed, excited to tell their master that his son is recovering — his fever has broken; he is not completely well at this point. The father accepts their assessment, but wants to confirm that Jesus is the direct cause of the wonderful result. He asks the time the fever broke; and only when the time matches the time when Jesus said that his son will live does the father truly believe in the Lord Jesus.
The final results are a healed child and the salvation of a household. “This is now the second sign which Jesus performs after coming down from Judea into Galilee.” (John 4:54) The first was changing water into wine.
Monday, January 10, 2011 at 7:11pm
Jesus asks the blind man, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Bartimaeus naturally wants to see. When Jesus says to him, “Your faith has healed you,” the blind man is immediately healed and then “follows Jesus along the road.” (Mark 10:52) Bartimaeus’ faith is demonstrated in his persistence and his insistence. He shouts out to Jesus even after being rebuked by many. Several times, he shouts, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:48) Jesus stops. When Bartimaeus is called, he jumps up and comes to Jesus.
What do you want from Jesus? Do you know? Are you responding to His call? Do you shout for His attention? Do you ask for that which you want? Are you grateful when Jesus stops? Do you jump up and come near to Him? Do you follow after Him when He recognizes your faith? Do you know who He is? Do you recognize Him? Does He know your name? Do you know His?
Bartimaeus obviously knows who Jesus is. He knows Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah. He knows what he wants from the Lord. He also knows Jesus is able to heal him; he even believes Jesus wants to heal him. So he shouts. He asks for mercy. When Jesus calls, he jumps up — and though blind — comes to Jesus. When Jesus heals him, he is grateful, following Jesus “down the road.”
Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 8:17pm
I realize (once again) that God has already healed my son and all the persons I help to care for at the hospital. He healed them all approximately 2000 years ago when He was nailed to a wooden cross on a hilltop called Golgotha. On that cross, in His very body, Christ carried all the illnesses, sins, crippling emotions and destroyed each and every one of them at the moment of His sacrificial death. When He raised Himself from the grave, all evil remained buried in His death.
Jesus says, “If you say to this mountain, throw yourself into the sea, it will obey.”
A simple, insignificant event — a mountain moved into the sea. Granted, the mountain’s presence in the sea alters the ocean floor, the sea life surrounding it, the animal and plant life upon it. Yet, the mountain being in the sea is not a healing event!
When we ask God for a healing, do we fully recognize that healing took place two thousand plus years ago? Do we honestly know God has already accomplished this? If we trust our eyes and ears, I doubt we know beyond a doubt that God answered our prayer many years ago.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)
Tonight, God lays on my heart the lives of those shot in Arizona. In a dark moment in time, some two thousand years ago, bullets pierced my Lord. Some two thousand years ago, His body wracked in pain, He healed. Believe.
Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 7:22pm
Jesus’ disciples are unable to heal a boy “who is possessed by a spirit that robs him of speech,” throwing him on the ground, rigid and foaming at the mouth. (Mark 9:17) Jesus is perturbed at His disciples and at the present “unbelieving generation.” (Mark 9:19) He says, “How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” (Mark 9:19)
The boy’s father says to Jesus, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” (Mark 9:22)
Jesus repeats the man’s words, ” ‘If you can’? ” Then tells him, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)
The boy’s father does not hesitate, but exclaims, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Jesus immediately commands the “deaf and mute spirit” to come out of the boy; it does. (Mark 9:25)
Look to Jesus for help, help even with your unbelief, your doubts, fears, worries. For “everything is possible” with God. Jesus says it Himself. There is no question Jesus can do something, can help. He is able to help the man overcome disbelief. He is able to drive out our doubt. We need only ask.
Once flogged as ordered by Pilate, Jesus’ “form does not resemble a human being.” “His appearance is so disfigured that He does not look like a man.” (Isaiah 52: 14)
Jesus “does not have an impressive form or majesty that we should look at Him, no appearance that we should desire Him.” (Isaiah 53: 2) Instead, Jesus “is despised and rejected by men.” He becomes “a man of suffering who knows what sickness is.” People turn away from Him, and do not value Him.
Nevertheless, Jesus “bears our sicknesses, and He carries our pains.” And, while He is “pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities,” we think He is “stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53: 4, 5, 4) He is punished by God “for the iniquity of us all” because “we all go astray like sheep; we all turn to our own way.” (Isaiah 53: 6)
Jesus heals us “by His wounds.” (Isaiah 53: 5)