Friday, July 3, 2015

GSC Module 22/ Teach, Preach and Heal



Objectives; By the end of this Module you should;
  • Know about Jesus' use of healing as a sign of the kingdom
  • Have knowledge about the Jewish synagogue
  • Be able to give a sermon about the dynamic preaching of Jesus as He moved through Galilee from synagogue to synagogue
  • Have knowledge about the ancient prophecies about the Messiah
  • Be able to give a sermon on how Jesus the Christ fulfilled the ancient Torah prophecies

Jesus the Man - Jesus' Public Ministry
1.  Teach, Preach and Heal
2.  The Jewish Synagogue
3.  Jesus the Healer-Preacher
4.  First sign of proof; Miraculous deliverance from disease
5.  Fulfilment of the Prophecies

1. Teach, Preach and Heal
  Jesus - accompanied by His disciples when He devotedly taught while carrying out a full Messianic ministry - began His healing career with a sermon in Nazareth. 
  "And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up;
   and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the 
   Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the Prophet
   Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and 
   found the place where it was written, 'THE SPIRIT OF THE
   THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED ...' "  [Luke 4;16-18]

Jesus began operations in Galilee, going through the district.
  His busy programme was;
  • teach
  • preach
  • heal  
Jesus systematically worked His way through Galilee, teaching in the Galilean synagogues.
  It seems logical that He could only have done this with the permission of each synagogue's local rabbi. Apparently Jesus' message was more favourably received than His initial coming out as Messiah in Nazareth.

2. The Jewish synagogue
The Jewish synagogue - in Hebrew בית כנסת
 - played a pivotal role in the rapid spread of Jesus' gospel message.
The Jews of the Dispersion had founded synagogues in every city of the Empire where they were enough Jews to maintain one.
  Galilee, which in the days of the Maccabees was largely Gentile 
[1 Macc 5:21-23], was filled with synagogues in Jesus' time.
  The synagogue was the social center where the city's Jewish inhabitants gathered weekly to meet each other.
  The synagogue was the sacred educational medium for keeping the Law before the people, and for providing instruction for the children in the ancestral holy faith.

  The synagogue was also the substitute for Temple worship, when attendance at the Temple was precluded by distance or by poverty.
  The study of the Law took the place of ritual sacrifice; the local worship leader took the place of the priest; and communal faith was thus made possible for daily life.

  Every synagogue had a leader, the 'head of the synagogue' 
[Mark 5;22]. This leader was possibly elected by vote from among the respected elders. 
  The hazzan, or synagogue attendant, acted as the property's custodian. To him fell the task of alerting the village people of the beginning of the Sabbath on Friday afternoon, and notifying them of the close of the Sabbath.
  It is possible that the official spoken of by Luke in his Gospel Chapter 4, verse 20 [who brought forth the roll of Scripture for Jesus] was the hazzan.

  Every synagogue had a chest in which the Torah was kept. 
There was a platform with a reading desk from which the Sacred Reading of the day would be read; and benches or seating for the Congregation.

  The synagogue service started with the recitation of the Jewish Shema, "Hear, O Israel: Yahweh our God is one Yahweh: and thou shalt love Yahweh thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." [Deuteronomy 6;4,5].
  The Shema was accompanied by praise to God called Berakot because they began with the word 'blessed'.
  Ritual prayer followed the Shema; then individual silent prayer among the congregation.
  The reading of the Scriptures followed, thereafter a sermon. 
The service closed with a blessing by the elder who carried priestly qualification; if there was no such member leading the service, it ended with a prayer.

  So; it is clear that Jesus made good use of the infrastructure God had planned and facilitated over the years He reached out to His Chosen People in Israel.

3. Jesus the Healer-Preacher
  Jesus preached the good news of the kingdom, and healed those afflicted with disease and sickness among the people 
[Matthew 4;23].
  The crowds went wild over Him, and news about Him spread far and wide - all over Syria.
  In every village, travellers, their relatives, shopkeepers and friends gossiped with the wondrous news of the Healer from Nazareth.
  It was said - they marvelled - that He could heal all illnesses by power through a touch, command or thought.
  Families and agonized sufferers, those with severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures and those with paralysis wended their way with their carers over dusty thoroughfares to wherever Jesus and his growing band of disciples were camping.
And Jesus healed them all [Matthew 4;23-25].
  Massive crowds were on the move from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judaea and the region across the Jordan as they followed in His wake.

  Roman army garrisons charged with keeping the peace, local synagogue leaders and the tax-dependent Temple authorities became increasingly and uneasily aware of the march of milling crowds following the charisma and healing of Jesus.
  His healing made a compelling statement; more than simply being a healer, Jesus' healings showed that He was the fulfilment of the prophecies. 
This was the Ruler promised by God.
  The prophet Micah had been told by God - and documented - the prophecy;
  " 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of 
     are by no means least among the 
           rulers of Judah;
     for out of you will come a ruler
       who will be the shepherd of my
               people Israel.' " [Micah 5;2].

4. First sign of proof; Miraculous deliverance from disease
  Jesus' curriculum vitae of healing is more than impressive; it is phenomenal.
  He healed sufferers of the disfiguring disease leprosy 
[Matthew 8;1-4].  
  Jesus healed the paralysed from their terrible suffering 
[Matthew 8;5-13].
   He drove out infections [Matthew 8;14-15]. 
Jesus cured those who were blind, restoring sight - and restored withered tongues to full use [Matthew 9;27-34].
  Jesus healed a man's shrivelled hand of extensive muscular and nerve damage [Matthew 12;9-14].
  The Great Healer healed seizures [Matthew 17;14-18].
 The crowds clamouring for healing were so dense that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch Him [Mark 3;10].
  Jesus cured chronic haemmorhage [Luke 8;43-48].

  Jesus made it clear that the multitude of healings pointed as clear sign to His Messianic status.
  John the Baptist, in gaol and facing the spectre of execution, sent to Jesus for a sign to prove that He had not been mistaken in claiming Jesus as Messiah. Both he - and Jesus - knew that the Baptist's life was at stake upon Jesus' final answer.
  Jesus replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard; the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have skin diseases are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor." [Luke 7;22].
  The burden of proof was thus that extraordinary power and goodwill belonged to Jesus as Messiah; in order to relieve all who came to Him for help regardless of age, creed, religion or gender.
All were given physical healing when needed.

  Christ's answer was no empty one. The result of John's subsequent refusal - loyal to the last to the Messiah at whose presence he had kicked in joy as an unborn babe - was that the Baptist died an ignominous death.
  Jesus, knowing this, was so overcome at the grim reality of what the Messianic duty was costing Him and His loved ones - even to their very lives - that He had to withdraw from the crowds by boat to be alone.
  Grown men don't like to be seen when they cry.
The fact remains, that the healings at Jesus' hands were proof positive that He indeed, was the promised Messiah. 

5. Fulfilment of the Prophecies
  Jesus' healing were the fulfilment of ancient prophecies in the Torah.
  It had been foretold that One would come Who would be able to carry out miracles only God can do.
  The Messiah would raise the dead [Isaiah 26;19].
He would heal the blind [Isaiah 35;5 and 42;7]
  The Anointed One would heal the deaf [Isaiah 35;5] and the lame [35;6].
  The Promised One would heal the deaf and blind 
[Isaiah 29;18-19] and have a healing ministry [Isaiah 53;4].
  The Messiah would preach the Good News [Isaiah 61;1-2] and have unusual abilities not granted to ordinary humans; such as His ability to walk on water [Job 9;8].

 The Messiah - Jesus the Christ - for whom holy men such as John risked all in defiance of satan's dominion over earth, and paid the price with their lives - gave evidence of His Messiahship through His healing powers. 
  As Jesus' Ministry grew and the number and enthusiasm of His followers and disciples exploded, He showed that He was a Hands on Healer.

Rev Catherine

Image by Rev Catherine


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