Last week we looked at how Jesus sees the good, the nasty, and the trapped. If you were not here last week, you can go to our Facebook page or website and get caught up with the series.
I love when non-believers, as many in Hollywood and Washington DC, love to portray Jesus, someone they have never met or actually read about. It is not just celebrities, but your friends and neighbors don’t understand who Jesus is either. We have to share with them the real Jesus.
Let’s journey today – How did Jesus respond to the infirmed?
Obviously, there are numerous stories of Jesus healing the sick
Sometimes he would begin with questions Luke 18:41 To the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?”
John 5: 6 To the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, “Would you like to get well?”
It was always more than a physical touch.
When Jesus looked at the ill or infirmed, he saw them as people of value, people he loved but also people that needed much more than just a physical healing.
For many who are sick, battling disease for long periods of time it is easy for them to feel they have no faith, no strength, are somehow less than others…to the blind man, he reminds him he is a great man of faith, his blindness was stopped because of his faith as Jesus said Luke 18:42
“your faith has made you well” He was not a faithless person he had enough faith to be healed. It was God’s timing to impact the most people and to prove who Jesus is that was necessary.
John 5:14 To the lame man Jesus warned him of this so he would remain healthy, “Stop sinning or something even worse may happen to you!” was it an attitude thing where a root of bitterness, unforgiveness or such would cause more sickness or lying or something like that which could get him killed we don’t know but Jesus wanted to keep him healthy.
Jesus is about looking at the full potential in people and knowing that they must be completely healed physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and he did that with someone else as well.
As Jesus went with him, he was surrounded by the crowds. 43 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. 44 Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped.
45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.”
46 But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” 47 When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. 48 “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
This poor woman was rejected, stigmatized, and ostracized, she did everything she could to try for healing and nothing worked. She was sick, she basically had a non-stop menstrual period for 12 years. Ladies think about it, 12 years of all the pain and discomfort your menstrual period can bring.
The law required Jesus to have nothing to do with her, to stay away from her. She had suffered public ridicule and rejection and Jesus called her out publicly. He knew who touched Him but he purposely stops the crowd, all of those who knew this woman and had ostracized her now had to be alert and pay attention to her, he called her out, not to embarrass her more but her healing needed to be deeper than just a blood issue.
When our pain goes deep, we can remain ill, mentally or emotionally even if we have been healed physically. Her issue required her to be completely rejected by the community and it was not her fault but sometimes the devil plays head games with those who are sick, infirmed, wounded to get them to believe it was their fault. He calls her out so all of those who had rejected her could see that she was healed and that the miracle working Rabbi recognized she was healed.
Now they had to see her, to acknowledge her, they heard her story of how Jesus healed her and that he agreed with that assessment so healing could begin in the community. When you have been put down for so long you need lifted up a physical healing, as with the other two was not only what Jesus was about.
He called her “daughter”, a tender sweet term of endearment. This woman had been pushed aside, screamed at, rejected, because of something she had no control over. Jesus has all the power in this community, they all wanted to be near him especially the head of the synagogue Jairus who had probably rejected her too, Jesus was on the way to heal his daughter.
He raised her up in the community he didn’t just give her a handout to heal but gave her a hand up to restore. She could have been healed but still felt the crushing effects of a community who would not accept her but Jesus lifted her up, when he acknowledged her as daughter he was saying to the community this woman is valued as a princess, recognize not only her healing but her value. When we devalue someone else it shows a lack of respect and a devaluing of God, the person and ourselves. The community loses out because we missed a treasure God gave us.
Oh and yes, once again, Jesus says you have had the faith within you to be healed
How do we reach the sick, rejected, wounded?
- Treat them with value
- Recognize no matter what they are going through they are a gift from God
- Help to bring healing to them….I believe the Lord is going to release healing power again because our world needs to see it and this church is hungry for the things of God.
Whether someone you pray for is healed immediately or not is not up to you, God is the healer but your reaching out to a person in need of healing shows you love for them and the stirring of your faith.
How did Jesus deal with the racial/cultural divide and prejudice
There were a race of people living in Israel that the Jews hated because they were of a different race and culture. They hated the Jews as well. They would avoid them at all cost but Jesus seemed to pursue them…They were the Samaritans
Jesus told a parable of the good Samaritan in direct opposition to the way the Jews felt about Samaritans
It was a Samaritan among the 10 lepers Jesus healed, who came back to say, “thank you!” to Jesus. This leads to a better understanding of the attitude of Simon the leper who obviously Jesus healed that he didn’t have an attitude of gratitude. However, one day Jesus purposely went into Samaria to show us and his disciples how to deal with cultural and racial differences.
Just as a heads up, I thought I was going to be able to cover three people today but we will only be able to cover two
Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.
9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”
10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”
13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”
16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.
17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.
Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband—18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”
21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
It is funny that part of our fallen nature is to naturally divide…yes, we dress differently at times, our hair, skin and or eye color may be different at times but we are all people the Lord loves.
Jesus broke many mores this day, speaking to a woman, a woman of a different race and culture, a woman of ill-repute, and specifically of a race and culture that Jews despised.
He searches for common ground; He doesn’t focus on their difference but something they have in commonthey both want water.
Because of her hurt and years of rejection by the Jews she questions his motives but Jesus doesn’t get hurt by her pain. He recognizes her pain and looks to find a way to deal with her struggle inside. He took time to understand and to see where she was coming from.
Sometimes it is easy to blow off someone else’s pain. Regardless of how you feel, their pain is real. Then once again she tries to argue with Jesus showing her pain and insecurity. Insecurity is a very real thing in all cultures, races, ethos, Jesus knows what is at the root of her pain and he weaves through it to help her.
Sometimes asking the question, “why do you feel that way?” opens the door to a conversation. It is easy to make assumptions about people that are different that you.
You look around this room and have made assumptions about everyone you see, about their life, their history, what they are really like? Even with as much personal information I give away from this pulpit unless you really spend time with me, it is hard to really understand who I am and what makes me tick. It isn’t until we genuinely desire to get answers from the person that we break down walls of culture, prejudice, and race. People will always be, “them or those people” and such phrases until we are intentional about tearing down walls.
Jesus didn’t compromise who he was, he didn’t become a Samaritan to bring her and the whole village, hope. Even when she tried to look for a way to divide again, people who are hurt, wounded, insecure, been hurt before, neglected, will put up defenses and as people of God we have to work to tear them down.
Jesus’ focus was, we do have common ground, we want to honor the Lord and worship him. We want to do it apart from things that divide and but come together on the things that we can agree about.
I have said this before, not in this detail but I have sat down with people of different races, cultures, heritage, even faiths and have found common ground. I wanted them to see Jesus, but my common ground was love, doing better for their children, and that there is an after-life. I have met with Muslims, orthodox, Catholics, Zoroastrians, Buddhist, Hindus, agnostics, atheist, Mormons, black, white, brown, beige, rich, poor, powerful and impotent all for the purpose of common ground so Jesus can be seen and lifted up, but we start with the intentional desire of love.
These are some keys to building relationship, tearing down walls.
How does Jesus see the various divisions?
He was intentional about meeting with people different than himself
He did not allow them to focus on the difference but instead brought up what they could agree on
He genuinely loves them (this is probably our hardest dividing line)
To be honest these are both healing stories, healing in different ways but healing just the same.
This is part of the healing that only the church can do and we must lead in being the example in this building and outside of it.
There are people all around you that need healing, they are wounded, rejected, hurt, neglected, the victim of racism, prejudice, ridicule or rejection. Don’t wait for them to come to you, be the agent of healing and go to them.
Pray and ask the Lord to show you who is hurting, wounded, in need of healing and then go to them and listen, look for ways the Lord wants you to build common ground so healing and relationship can begin….
Today I want to believe for your healing both physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and for a death to racism and prejudice.
Please we can’t heal others if we are caring pain in ourselves that we refuse to allow to be healed (exceptions Timothy and whatever you believe Paul’s thorn) we can’t tear down all the various walls of prejudice if we are carrying them
I hope you can truly see how seeing this way is not normal but it takes radical love, and only the Holy Spirit can awaken us to this radical love. We need this radical love if we are going to see our families, schools, region, and nation turn around to have hope again.
Let’s get free today so we can bring freedom to others.