Gospel, Luke 5:12-16

12 Now it happened that Jesus was in one of the towns when suddenly a man appeared, covered with a skin-disease. Seeing Jesus he fell on his face and implored him saying, ‘Sir, if you are willing you can cleanse me.’

13 He stretched out his hand, and touched him saying, ‘I am willing. Be cleansed.’ At once the skin-disease left him.

This was today’s Gospel and it’s an excellent passage to reflect on in terms of the healing ministry.

The man asked the key question that we all ask. Not if God can heal him because God is God, of course He can but if God actually wants to heal him?

Now in some Pentecostal circles the automatic answer is yes. They’ll say “by His stripes we are healed” and therefore conclude that Jesus wishes to heal everyone.

However experience shows us that this is simply not true. So let’s have a look!

You see Jesus died to save us and to bring us to heaven. In other words the end result of Jesus’ sacrifice will only be seen in heaven where those of us who make it will live in eternal joy with our beautiful resurrected bodies never to experience any illness or suffering again.

If we take this as the ‘end result’ then we can agree with the Pentecostals and say “by His stripes you are healed”.

There is now only one problem! If the end result is heaven then does Jesus want to heal us here and now as well?

Well the answer is maybe! It depends.

You see Jesus always has the big picture in sight. He’s thinking of bringing us to heaven where we will share eternal joy rather than giving us a heaven on earth.

And because God Himself will reunite us with our bodies He is asking us down here to focus on our spiritual souls.

And so in some cases Jesus does not want to heal people’s physical illnesses because He wants to use the illness to extract a greater spiritual good.

You see when we are suffering we are often far more prayerful, far more humble and so far more holy. Suffering helps us to pray, it helps us to grow spiritually and so if Jesus took it all away it’s be like taking someone’s weights away at the gym!! How would they build and muscle?

Yet in some circumstances Jesus will heal us physically because He desires to make His goodness and power known to us and indeed to those around us.

So far this might sound a bit gloomy and your chance of being healed might seem slim. Don’t despair because there is some very good news….

Regardless of whether Jesus wishes to heal you physically, you can be 100% sure that He wants to heal you spiritually.

In other words, inner and spiritual healing are far more important to Jesus than physical healing and how many times in the bible was Jesus disappointed at the lack of gratitude and love of those who received physical healings?

In today’s busy world inner or spiritual healing may not seem attractive. People are so consumed in the things of this world that they do not see their real brokenness. They do not see the brokenness of their souls.

While they cry out for Jesus to heal their backs and eyes Jesus is crying back at them to let Him heal their hearts. Jesus wants to remove the anger and hatred, the lonliness and lust, the bitterness and jealousy. He wants to remove the emptiness of lives based on houses and jobs and cars and refocus people’s lives and hearts on what really matters.

But to do this Jesus needs our cooperation. He needs us to stop, to reflect and to think. He needs us to go to those inside places and to make a fearless inventory of our hearts.

He needs us to be brutally honest with ourselves and with Him and to walk with Him on the road of true healing and transformation.

This does not happen overnight but rather is a way of life and only those who focus their sight on the end result in heaven will go on this journey.

And so friends it is the same with the Covid virus. Many of you may be praying for God to take it away and yet God may not want to take it away.

Perhaps God wants to use it to humble us even more, to wake us up, to make us repent and to come back to Him in humility and surrender.

And so as I wind this little blog up my prayer would be that everyone would go on the journey of healing, of spiritual healing.

This life is short and we only get one go. Through the church Jesus has given us all the remedies such as mass, confession, healing prayer etc. but as the saying goes: “you can bring a horse to water but you can’t make Him drink it”.

So if you are already on the journey of healing then keep on going and if you are not then remember that ‘every journey begins with the first step’.

Thanks for reading,

Michael