Thursday, July 9, 2015

GSC Module 23/ Hands On Healer



Objectives; By the end of this Module you should;
  • Know about Jesus' compassion and hands-on method of healing
  • Know why Jesus was unable to heal many in Nazareth
  • Be able to understand the Jewish Law of Jesus' time
  • Have knowledge about the confrontations and controversy between Jesus and the Pharisees of His time
  • Have knowledge about the accusations of demonic possession levelled against Jesus
  • Be able to preach a sermon about Jesus' healings being a sign of proof of His Messianic identity


Jesus the Man - Jesus' Public Ministry
1.  Hands On Healer
2.  Failure to Heal
3.  Confrontation with Sabbath laws
4.  Confrontation and Controversy
5.  Demonic Accusations

1. Hands On Healer
  Jesus' attitude to the sick and infirm was that He made Himself completely accessible to those who needed Him.
  Jesus - in apparent contrast to the priests of the day - touched people who were both ritually unclean and physically ravaged by disease.
  Jesus touched a sufferer of leprosy [Mark 1;40-44]
The contagious illness was among the most dreaded in Jewish society. 

  In the normal course of events, Jesus would have been expected to contract a contagious disease from any of the disease-sufferers he healed; the fact is that He did not.
   A woman who had been been struggling with an ever worsening bleeding condition over twelve years [Matthew 9:20].
  Jewish Law declared her to be ceremonially unclean due to her bleeding issue [Leviticus 15:25-27].
  This meant that the woman would not have been allowed to enter the Temple for Jewish religious ceremonies. According to the Law, anything or anyone she touched became unclean as well.
 Male Jews of the time would have considered the touch of a chronically haemmorhaging woman to be a defilement.
  Jesus did not. He reassured her, and more than that; she had been healed by His Divine Power.
  Physically challenged people were often either despised or pitied in the society of the time; but not by Jesus. He came not to patronise or snub - He came to heal.

2. Failure to Heal
  Jesus had some notable failures to heal. His powers were restricted because of the unbelief that met Him in Nazareth [Mark 6:5-6/ Matthew 13;58].
  Faith was needed to effect a cure. And, sadly, only a few sick people in Nazareth had sufficient faith in Him to draw on His healing Powers for a cure.
  The saying that a neighbourhood always admires the artificial flower imported from the city and ignores the rare luminous lily growing by their kitchen door had never been proven more true.
  Home grown talent and destiny were despised; and prejudice of the social classes refused to believe that the son of a blue collar carpenter could amount to the Greatest Healer ever born.

3. Confrontation with Sabbath laws
  Jesus confronted religious thought and custom of the day concerning Sabbath laws.
  An observant Jew, He nevertheless disobeyed details of the Law.
Jesus carried out Messianic duties and signs controversially confronting accepted religious mores and behaviour of the time.
  He carried out healings without regard to prescriptions of the Law.
This caused scandal among certain religious leaders, who devotedly served God by observing the directions of the religious law.
  Jesus' healings thus became the cynosure of all eyes and a flashpoint when He healed the sick on the Sabbath; such as when He restored to health a sufferer's shrivelled hand 
[Matthew 12:9-14].

4. Confrontation and controversy 
 The crux of the difficulty came because the religious leaders saw Jesus as a Jew bound in duty to the details of the prescribed Law of God.
  Jesus saw Himself as God; and the leaders were aware of this.
Jesus gave new interpretation both to the Sabbath laws and to understanding of the Scripture.
  Jesus' disciples snacked on heads of grain in a field during the Sabbath.
  Some Pharisees, anxious about any breach to the Law, questioned Jesus about this.
  He answered them by referring to King David, His ancestor and the beloved of God, by remembering that David and his companions had snacked on consecrated Temple bread.
  Jesus was making clear that as the Jewish king had been innocent in the matter due to the circumstances, so His disciples too were innocent.
 Jesus goes further; He tells the Pharisees that One greater than the Temple was there in their presence.
  They would have been aghast, because Jesus was clearly stating that He was greater than the Temple; He was stating by inference that He was God.
  He compounded His theological reinterpretation of the Law by carrying out the healing instead of referring the same to the following day in deference to the Pharisees' expectation.

 The Pharisees not only could not control Jesus' behaviour with religious expectations and call to obedience; they were losing their authority as the mobs of people following Jesus acclaimed Him Son of David, and many accepted He was the Christ.
  So; many in the ranks of Jewish society acclaimed Jesus the Son of David, while many of the leading Pharisees saw a rebel Jew.
  Further, Jesus' threatened Temple priestly livelihood because Temple taxes, the lifeblood of the Temple hierarchy and religious way of life, were slowly diminishing. Under Jesus' influence, crowds were flocking more to Him and less to the Temple.

5. Demonic accusations 
 Tempers flared on occasion, to the point that Pharisees - witness to the undoubtedly genuine healings of Jesus - accused Him of driving out demons by the power of the evil one, satan 
[Matthew 12;22-37].
  Placing aside the fact that satan has never been known in even one instance to heal but in many cases to harm, the Pharisees accused Jesus of demonic possession. Fighting talk, indeed.
  Jesus turned to rational logic in his answer, proving that driving out demons [servants of satan] in the service of satan would cause satan's kingdom on earth to fall, not strengthen.
  He referred to the holy exorcists of the Temple who also practised exorcism [the deliverance ministry] with sufferers.
  Jesus concluded his argument with the words, 'But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.' [Matthew 12;28].

  The situation turned ugly as the confrontation escalated to the point that Jesus, exasperated, hurled insult at His accusers, calling them a brood of vipers [nest of snakes] and evil [Matthew 12:34].
  Unsurprisingly, this did nothing to endear Him to the Pharisees, who considered Him a threat to the established religion of the day. And they were quite right. 
  Jesus was in the process of establishing a new world order that was destined never to fit into the current traditions of the time.
  Jesus was using new wineskins [new traditions] for the new wind [the new form of serving God] [Matthew:17].

  The very act of goodness in healing led to confrontation with religious authorities of the day.
  Control was threatened; and Jesus and His disciples were headed towards a showdown with the Temple authorities.
  Keeping the high stakes in mind - Divine Messianic King versus Human Religious authority and taxation system - the final showdown did not promise to be pretty.

Rev Catherine
Image by Rev Catherine

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