SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
August 14, 2005
Faith in Jesus Can Release God’s Healing Power
Key Verse: Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace. – Luke 8:48
In the days of his flesh Jesus healed some people because they had faith. Some he healed because other caring people had faith. Still others he healed when no faith but his own was evident. We learn all this by studying the gospels. But what we really want to know is personal, not historical. When I need healing, or my loved ones need healing, will my faith in Jesus cause God to release his healing power? That is the question we face in this lesson.
We know that Jesus had the power to heal in the first century. Surely he still has that power as the Resurrected Savior, our living Lord. So the question becomes, can we avail ourselves of his healing power?
As we search for an answer it may be helpful first to ask a pertinent question about Jesus. For example, what was the attitude of Jesus toward sickness? Clearly he wanted people to be well. He healed them.
In no instance does he suggest that sickness is the will of God or that God is using sickness to teach someone a lesson. Jesus never said, “God put you flat on your back so you would have to look up.” If some people believe that even today, it was certainly not the attitude of our Lord toward sickness. To have healed people whom God made sick would have been to undo or oppose the will of God. This Jesus did not do because his whole life was focused on doing the will of his Father.
Luke portrays Jesus as being full of compassion, especially toward the sick. He was compassionate even with the crowds of people who pushed and shoved their way to be near him. Never did he ask his disciples to “keep these people away from me.” He was in the midst of a pressing crowd when the respected Jewish leader, Jairus, fell at Jesus’ feet begging him to come help his dying daughter. Immediately Jesus began following Jairus toward his home.
Suddenly Jesus stops because someone in the crowd had touched his clothing. No doubt Jairus was very frustrated by the interruption. Nevertheless, Jesus turns with compassion to identify the woman and minister to her.
The woman’s faith impressed Jesus. She believed that she would be healed of her embarrassing flow of blood if she only touched the tassel or fringe of Jesus cloak. She had not wanted to be noticed and was surprised when Jesus asked who had touched him. Now the center of attention with the crowd staring at her, the woman fell down before Jesus in fear and trembling, as though she felt she needed to apologize for having been healed without permission!
Expecting a rebuke from Jesus, she was stunned by his astonishing kindness. To the crowd the woman was a social outcast. This, plus the fact that she was a stranger to Jesus, caused the crowd to expect Jesus to address her by the name, “Woman.” Instead he calls her “Daughter,” a gracious word that expressed the Lord’s affection and respect for her dignity as a person. Surely a smile must have broken across her face as she heard Jesus say, “Your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
Like this woman, Jairus also had faith that impressed Jesus. Observe how different the key persons in these stories are. Jairus is a recognized leader in the community; the woman is a nobody, “unclean” and alienated. Jairus was important; she was disposable. But their social position was not relevant to Jesus; what mattered was that each had faith.
This has significance for us when we pray for healing, whether for ourselves or for others. We know that we will all die someday. However, until God calls us home, we have every reason to believe that God’s will is wellness for us and our loved ones. How then shall we pray for healing?
We can rejoice that God’s healing is not reserved for “important” people. God delights to hear and answer the prayers of ordinary people as well as people of prominence. What matters most is faith. It is interesting to note that Paul mentions in the same verse (First Corinthians 12:9) the gift of faith and gifts of healing. Both are gifts of the Holy Spirit given to believers, Paul says, as the Spirit wills or determines.
Whatever gift God gives us, we should “fan the flame” and allow it to grow strong within us. We need not suppose that our prayers must be crafted with fancy words that impress others. Neither Jairus nor the poor woman offered a prayer that made its way into a prayer book. They took their need to Jesus and humbly asked for healing, despite the fact that both felt unworthy to ask for God’s favor. They had faith in Christ’s power to heal.
Intercessory prayer is probably the most important ministry of the church. We should be ashamed not to pray for the sick and to seek God’s healing for the sick, the bereaved, the wayward, and the emotionally disturbed. God wants us to pray for healing so he can release his power and use the healing of the sick to bring glory to the name of Jesus.
While it may appear that sometimes God does not hear our prayers, we can be sure that he does. He hears and he answers our prayers. He does not always say yes. Sometimes he says no or wait. Whatever his answer, we rest in the assurance that Father knows best.
When healing occurs in answer to our prayers, we should be careful to give God glory. Just this week a man in our church with bone cancer was told by his doctor that his cancer was in remission. The doctor even said he had never seen bones heal in this type cancer. Many intercessors have been praying for this man. Among them there is great rejoicing and God is being praised for what appears likely to be a healing.
Let us, with faith in Christ, seek the release of God’s healing power for ourselves and others! And let us expect not to be rebuffed but to be welcomed by our heavenly Father with great compassion and kindness.
+ + + (Contact Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org)