In Need of Healing by Chris Miller
Danny is waiting for a kidney to become available so that he can receive a transplant and his body be healed. He, like many others, continues to wait with high hopes for this to happen. Currently those waiting for kidney transplants make up 83% of all transplants on the waiting lists, with those awaiting livers at 10%. Recently, the medical field went through a ground-breaking process to help these kidney patients. At the University of Alabama in Birmingham, doctors were able to successfully transplant a genetically modified pig kidney for the first time into a man who had wished that his body be donated for medical research upon his passing. Those kidneys functioned for the 3 days that doctors had dedicated to this research. This man, Jim Parsons, was a motocross racer who raced with my son. Last fall, he had an accident which took his life, but through his great generosity many will benefit from the research that was done. (Search www.uab.edu for a detailed article about the transplant). Medical advancements continue to amaze society. Medical advancements continue to provide opportunities for healing. Most people want to get better if possible. The study today, though, doesn’t involve a medical breakthrough. Luke 5 tells the story of Jesus Christ, who could speak and people were healed.
As you work through Luke 5 and study the healing of the paralytic, make sure to consider the placement in Luke’s gospel account. When you think about what surrounds this passage it quickly becomes evident that there is a strong emphasis on healing, physical and spiritual, of people who would have been looked at as outcasts in society. Think about the following passages:
- Luke 4:31-37 – healing of the demon-possessed man in the synagogue
- Luke 5:12-16 – Jesus touching and healing the man full of leprosy
- Luke 7:38-50 – the sinful woman forgiven
These examples, along with others, point to how Luke, a Gentile writer of one of the gospels and inspired by the Holy Spirit, spent much effort focusing on how Jesus helped and healed people who often struggled in society. They wanted a better life. And right in the midst of those passages is where we find the healing of the paralytic who was carried to be healed. His need was great. He wasn’t able to function in life like the people he would see every day. But everything from breaking through the roof to lowering the man into the room to the crowd surrounding him to what Jesus does first was all about prioritizing the needs. Did this man know he had a need greater than physical healing? Did he see spiritual healing as something he needed more than the immediate ability to walk? Would we ourselves struggle to prioritize
How great our spiritual need for forgiveness far outweighs any great physical need we may have in this life? A test to consider is to look at the great lengths we go to in order to fill our needs. Do a serious examination of your life and think about where you spend your time, money, zeal, etc.
Now compare those things to the efforts you put into spiritual things. Where do these measure up? Jesus identified in this man’s life that he had a struggle that was of greater importance than even the need to walk. And that need was the forgiveness of his sins.
His sins were forgiven because Jesus told him that was the case.
It would be important at this point to think on our own spiritual healing and how that happens today. Jesus isn’t here physically to speak the words of forgiveness to us like He was present on that day in Luke 5. He had the power to speak forgiveness while He was alive on earth, as He also does later in Luke 7:47-48 and even on the cross to the criminal who was crucified beside Him in Luke 23:43.
Once Jesus died, His will became our law (Hebrews 9:16-17). When He gave the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, that became the operating orders for all future disciples. Those orders included baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In every case following His death, burial, and resurrection we find when a person wants spiritual healing (forgiveness of sins) they repent and are baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
From that point on, once a person becomes a Christian, they have the spiritual blessing of continual cleansing from the blood of Christ when they confess their faults and pray for forgiveness (1 John 1:7-9). A Christian lives life spiritually healed.
It is eye-opening to compare physical healing to spiritual healing and the lengths people will go to in order to find both.
A sick person will go through surgeries, take medications, travel far distances, pay large sums of money in hopes of getting better. And rightly so.
Some, in order to be washed in the blood of Christ will be baptized in the middle of the night, some will humbly walk in front of an assembly, some will go against other family members’ beliefs.
This serves as a reminder of how Jesus continually addressed the most important thing first.