Lent Devotional | week two
There has been a debate in my lifetime concerning miracles. Does God, Father—Son—Holy Spirit, still work miracles? There is one area of the miracles of Jesus recorded in the Gospels that is most debated. Did Jesus actually heal people in a miraculous fashion? I admit, I am going to over simplify the argument against Jesus actually performing miraculous healing. I will do so for the sake of brevity and wanting to make a different point. Those who deny the miraculous healings of Jesus offer other explanations of what happened. It was thousands of years ago with no real understanding of medicine, anatomy, biomedical sciences, microbiology, and certainly no idea about molecular microbiology. In short, some believe that the healings listed in the Gospels as being miraculous were not that miraculous because the illness was something easily explained by modern science. Take, for example, the incident we talked about yesterday. Peter’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever. When Jesus arrived, he looked at her and touched her and the fever left. Some might say that it was just a matter of timing—the fever simply broke as Jesus arrived—and didn’t really have anything to do with Jesus being there. I imagine this debate will continue to go on for another thousand years or until Jesus returns, whichever comes first.
The question I want to ask is, “Do you believe in miracles?” Especially when it comes to healing. Jesus healed individuals and Jesus healed groups of people. In The Gospels [Matthew, Mark, Luke, John] Jesus is credited with around 40 miracles of healing. Jesus healed people of issues with demons, skin diseases, crippling physical conditions, fever, and blindness. Jesus would heal people through speaking, touching, prayer, through the faith of the individual, and even using his own spit. All of these healings were done because Jesus was one with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. This oneness came from his constant communication with both through prayer. Jesus was motivated to heal because he wanted every human being to be whole and fully able to experience the fullness of their created potential. These miraculous healings were motivated out of Jesus’ love for all of humankind as ultimately demonstrated at Calvary. It seems from the preponderance of the evidence that Jesus either did heal people miraculously or there were a great number of miraculous coincidences. As for me, I stopped believing in coincidences 33 years ago. Can we agree that Jesus performed miraculous healings while on earth? If so, how do we understand healing today? There seem to be examples of miraculous healing occurring in our current times. We have heard of people experiencing healing in ways that medicine cannot explain. These occurrences seem to provide anecdotal evidence that miraculous healing is still possible, and even does occur, today. How then do we account for those who pray for miraculous healing and do not receive it? This is a very complex question. The Scriptures say several things we can lean on: 1) Jesus does not play favorites—Jesus loves everyone, 2) Jesus is able to heal everyone, 3) The Fall is a definite factor in the world as we know it—including illness, 4) Jesus did not take away the effects of The Fall, he took away the penalty for our sins, 5) Even when Jesus walked the earth he did not heal everyone who was sick, 6) The ultimate healing is when we arrive in heaven for eternity. None of these things explain why some people are not healed miraculously, they simply help us see things from an informed perspective. Miraculous healing still happens today. It does not happen every time for every person. In fact, you may say that it does not happen anywhere near as often as we would like it to. We also need to remember that miraculous healing often happens through medical teams and medical advancements. God works through human endeavors as well. God creates the human beings and all of the created resources that they use to come up with cures and advancements. Miraculous healing comes in many ways, shapes, forms, and experiences. Perhaps the best Scripture to recall when thinking of miraculous healing, and miracles in general, is Luke 1:37 “… nothing is impossible for God.”
As you think about the miraculous healings of Jesus pray over and answer these questions:
1. Do you believe miraculous healing still happens today?
2. Is there anything that is impossible for God/Jesus?
3. Have you known anyone who experienced miraculous healing?
4. How could advancements in medicine be seen as miraculous?
5. How does all of this inform the way we pray for miraculous healing for ourselves and others?
Jesus, you have all authority in heaven and on earth. By the might of your command you drive away from our bodies all sickness and all infirmity: Be present in your goodness with your servants, that our weakness may be banished, and our strength restored; and that our health being renewed, we may bless your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Adapted from The Book of Common Prayer