February 7, 2021 - 5 Epiphany - Deacon Deborah Drake
Today we hear about Jesus healing people but we don’t talk enough about Jesus as a Healer. Is Jesus healing you or someone you love?
Perhaps your healing is emotional; spiritual or perhaps it is healing of relationships with others, or maybe healing has to do with your mental health or physical health. Why don’t we hear more from Christians about the healings Jesus taught us as received from God” The spiritual healing stories seem to be lacking in the United States, have we become too sophisticated to engage in spiritual healings?
The Covid Pandemic has put a stop to healers being physically present to someone requesting healing but we can be physically distanced from one another and still pray for healing. Jesus taught us and there are stories in scripture such as John 4:51-53 when a nobleman travels to Jesus in Cana for the healing of his son. The distance between Capernaum and Cana is over twenty miles, yet Jesus healed the dying boy by His word alone, he did not have to be physically present for the boy to be healed.
The healing accounts in the Bible represent only a small number of the multitudes of people who were made whole by Jesus. The closing verse of John's Gospel explains:
"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." (John 21:25, NIV)
In today’s Gospel we heard of The Cure of Peter’s Mother-In-Law’s Fever and the People at the Door (Mk 1:29-39). Jesus went to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law had a fever. People knew nothing about bacteria and viruses. They did not have antibiotics, fever reducers like Ibuprofen or Tylenol, or IV fluids. People dreaded fevers because they quickly raged out of control and often caused death. All Jesus did was to grasp her hand, and the fever left her immediately. Later the same evening, the sick were brought to the door. There were no hospitals, diagnostics, or surgical options. Those with disease were hopeless and left to weaken, but Jesus cured many of them (Mk 1:34). Jesus gives us new life through healing. When illness or your emotional distress that weights you down is taken away from you by the healing of Jesus a new life begins.
Healings did not end when Jesus left this earth. He told his disciples they would do greater things. It is clear in the Book of John that Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I am doing. He will do even greater things than these” (John 14:12).
I believe there are people present here today called by God to be healers in the name of Jesus Christ. You may have felt the call many times but put up the obstacle of “I couldn’t possibly do that”. You just have to start doing it and praying to Jesus Christ to hold up your belief in healing. You will be more confident if you remember healing is all about glorifying Jesus. It’s not about us, this reminder will make you more comfortable in using your gift of healing. Don’t hold back the use of your gift of healing but be open to opportunities to help others. Your gift should always be motivated by love for others. As you step out in faith, you will see the suffering of others relieved. I have heard people say about praying for the sick, “What if they don’t get healed?” It is not our responsibility to heal the sick; It is God’s job and God wants us to pray for healing without pressure or fear. We are merely the vessel that the Holy Spirit flows through.
Before praying for someone it is a good idea to ask,” May I pray with you?” If they are in agreement, touch them gently if possible and pray by faith. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians we see that Paul spread the gospel good news to everyone he met. Prayer for healing is not just for people you know or just for Episcopalians but for anyone who desires healing. Always acknowledge God and give thanks for God’s love and presence.
When you pray, don’t pray the problem, but pray for the answer. e.g “Thank you, God, for touching and healing my mom. I thank you that you are always present with us and loving.” You do not have to pray fancy, just pray in faith from your heart. After you have prayed for the person, end with giving God thanks for what God has done.
Neglected Gifts Diminish the Church’s Effectiveness.
If we do not accept and obediently use our spiritual gifts, which are expressions of “the manifold grace of God” (I Peter 4:10), we neglect God’s work of grace in our lives. As we mature in our understanding of spiritual gifts and learn to be channels of God’s power, we are equipped to go into the world living our abundant lives.
God gives people various spiritual gifts and we need to be aware of our gifts and use them to the glory of God. Each gift is different, but they all serve an essential purpose in the growth and fellowship of God’s kingdom.