And He Healed them all: Healing Mercies II.mp3
Last week we looked at those who were blind; had an issue of blood for 12 years, whose daughter was dead, whose daughter was severely demon possessed.
What did we learn?
1. They acknowledged Him for who He was – Lord, Master.
2. They revered Him – worshiped Him…etc
3. Believe in Him and believed His words
4. They came to Him FOR healing.
5. They cried out for Mercy- (they were not silent).
6. They were receptive – Faith spoke even before they saw anything (girl raised from dead, leapers healed AS THEY WENT)
Who received healing? EVERYONE WHO CAME – Luke 6:17-19 they came to be healed.
The statement “Your faith has made you whole” has had the unfortunate tendency to lead our thinking of faith as a work or a tool we use on a problem. This is NOT what Jesus meant by the phrase. The meaning behind those words is better represented in English in Acts 3:1-16.
“It is His name– faith in that name being the condition–which has strengthened this man whom you behold and know; and the faith which He has given him, has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.” ~ Acts 3:16
In order to further examine healing as a mercy we addressed a more subtle expression of “unwarranted expectation” (presumptuous hope) tonight by examining someone who appeared to be healed without personal faith.
In Jn. 5:1-18 we see a man healed who did not come to Christ, but to whom Christ came. There is absolutely no indication in this passage that the lame man had any relational trust in Christ at all. In fact, it seems as though somehow the man was unaware of who Jesus was entirely.
“When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” ~John 5:6-7
Quite unlike all our other examples, this man displays no hope for healing in sight – not from the pool, nor from Christ.
The word “sir” used here is a little problematic, but not if read in the context of the entire passage. “Sir” can mean either “Mister” or “absolute Lord”. Given the nature of his response to Christ, and his entire absence of any noticeable hope, it would seem that the word “sir” appropriately represents what usage was employed by this man.
Of lesser importance, though thoughtfully conveyed in the Greek is the meaning of the words, “I have no man”. More accurately this means that he had no servant that could lower him into the water at the appropriate time. This indicated that the man was of small financial means.
Nevertheless, we see that the man walked away healed!
SO MUCH can be learned from this example, it is well past the ability of this one summary to draw attention to but a few of them. One outstanding example we see here is that Jesus was not led to reveal His identity to this man and that knowledge of His identity therefore contributed NOTHING to this man’s healing.
Healing just happened – no strings attached and no contributions given.
That this man was entirely unaware of Who healed him is seen in the following verses,
“Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.” ~ John 5:12-13
These verses are very confusing and quite uncomfortable to my previous “faith” background. I had been told all my life (and have unfortunately taught others) that it is impossible to receive healing or anything else from God without faith. Yet here we have it as a startling historical fact that faith in NOT, in fact, always required.
As Guzik said in his commentary on this verse,
Rise, take up your bed and walk: In this miracle, Jesus does it all. In this case, He could not say to this man what He said on some other occasions: “your faith has made you whole” (Mat_9:22), because Jesus took the initiative.
This shows us that the New Testament describes many different ways people may be healed.
i. The elders of the church can anoint someone with oil, pray for them, and they may be healed (James 5:14-16).
ii. God’s people can lay hands on each other in prayer, ask God for healing, and people may be healed (Mark 16:17-18).
iii. God may grant someone a gift of healing – either that they are directly healed, or have the power to minister healing to another (I Cor. 12:9).
iv. God may grant healing in response to the faith of the person who desires to be healed (Matt. 9:22).
v. God may grant healing in response to the faith of another on behalf of the person who is healed (Mark 2:4-5, Matt. 8:13).
vi. God may heal through medical treatment (I Tim. 5:23, James 5:14 with Luke 10:34).
But in this case, none of these methods involving human participation are used. Sometimes God just sovereignly heals. He takes the initiative, He does the work!
So we learned tonight, that our thought that nothing can be received from God without faith actually comes from a misunderstanding of what James actually said.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;“ ~ James 1:5-7
Yet, Matthew records that Jesus said,
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” ~ Mat 5:44-45
A short list of things we freely and regularly receive from God without any faith whatsoever-
5. good gifts (any come from Him)
12. redemption (meaning the purchase of)
13. invitation to come to Him
So what does our passage in James actually say?
“Let not that man THINK…”
The words speaks of presumption – Let him not be so presumptuous as to think He will get anything from God without actively relying upon HIM and trusting HIM.
This is a key difference which reflects on healing being a mercy not a right!
I asked last week if you can be deceived into thinking God told you something He never said? Everyone agreed that they indeed had experienced that very thing.
I aslo asked,
“Because you thought it was God, but it did not come immediately to pass, what did you find yourself doing?”
- More ardent confessions
- 3×5 cards for continual reminders
- saying a scripture over and over
- acting as though it were so even though nothing had changed…etc.
But did it work? NO!
Why? Because God never spoke!
Let him NOT presume – A man is capable of coming to God presumptuously expecting healing from Him without investing relational trust in Christ or even drawing near to Him. This man has a form of “belief” – in that he is expecting something, but according to this passage not all such confidence is faith.
God is pleased by genuine faith!
Paul expresses the existence of ingenuine faith, by commending the existence of what is real. There would be little reason to commend Timothy of real faith if “fake faith” was not possible.
“when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” ~ II Tim 1:5
Real faith will pass the test of adversity BECAUSE it is genuine -it is founded upon the rock of revelation – “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven!”
So even though expectation is a by-product of genuine faith – not all expectation comes this way – sometimes it comes from learning how a person acts and then expecting them to always act that way. This is presumption NOT faith!
Real faith never bypasses intimacy with God and the approved character which results from genuine faith would never want it to.
What did we discover long ago was the goal of all faith? The goal of faith is the restoration of our souls. I Peter 1:9
If healing is a mercy, then you must come as one of these we have spoken about. Many of those who were healed in Jesus’ ministry had heard of Him and if that was all that was required, they could have been healed at home. As it was, those who heard about Him had reason enough to COME to Him. Those who came to Him were all healed.
A final glimpse of Mercy…
We are not surprised at God’s mercy and Grace we are surprised at His justice.
How many have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory? Whose image do you bear? How do you often act? If our actions fall short of His glory we are defrauding and misrepresenting the image we bear.
What is the just judgment against all sin? Death!
I gave you this illustration a while back when teaching on Mercy…
R.C. Sproul in his book, The Holiness of God, gave an example of a class which acting presumptuously against his mercy as a professor.
(The following is simply a summary in my words)
At the beginning of the term Prof. Sproul said to a class of 250 students that an essay would be required at a certain date and that no late papers would be accepted.
On the fateful day 225 students came with essay in hand while 25 started sweating, begging and pleading for mercy. They owned up to not managing their time properly, had not made the proper adjustments from high school to college and swore they would get their essays done immediately if only he would allow them. – so he did so with a warning, the next report is due Sept. 30th – have it ready! Which they all obediently vowed they would do.
Sept. 30th came and 200 students brought their essays on time while 50 others were late. Again they begged and pleaded, “Prof. Sproul, it is homecoming week and we were on committees and had to organize and attend parties…etc. PLEASE show us mercy.” to which he replied, okay but this is the last time. If you come in Oct. without your essay you will be given an F with no exceptions. In one accord these students sang his praises.
Oct. 30th came and what do you think happened? 150 students came with their essays ready while 100 failed to bring them. When asked about the essays one student said, “Don’t worry Prof. we’ll get it done, you’ll have it soon enough.”
R.C. then began reading a role call, “Caminettie, do you have your essay? No sir. to which he declared loudly, “F”!
Michaels, do you have your essay? No sir. “F”!
To this there was an outcry of reproach. “That’s not fair!” “Its not just” they claimed.
FAIR? Justice is that what you want? Caminettie, If you want justice rather than mercy you will surely have it – I believe you were late the last time essays were done, if it is justice you want You will receive an “F” for today and your former essay.
Humility swept over the crowd like a wave. No, sir, you’re right I was wrong, I’ll take mercy and get just one ‘F’.
Boy what that teaches us!
So is the man who comes to God expecting what he has NO RIGHT to expect. It is to act presumptuously against God’s kind-hearted and benevolent nature.
“Let not that man suppose he will receive anything from God.”
The word “think” literally means to suppose – Imagine, conclude, or please himself with such thoughts. Real faith is something more than a mere thinking or surmising from past experience!
Past experience is not faith, it is a reminder which leads us to faith or stirs us up to pursue Him. It is the memory of last night’s meal that drives you to the fridge for more. The memory itself does not feed you, but it reminds you to return in humility to the source which will feed you.
So faith is not conjured – it comes! – Rom. 10:17