Sunday March 21, 2010
"Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
"Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
As the crowd tried to hush this man he became louder. He knew his one opportunity of a lifetime was passing by. He knew that if he did not take advantage of the situation presenting itself he would regret this the rest of his life.
To be blind in that society did not get you a double deduction on your tax forms for the IRS. Instead, it got you placed on the side of the road begging for alms in order to have something to eat at the end of the day.
Bartemaeus understood the implication of the moment. He knew this was his chance. This was greater than making free throws to win the game or sinking that 40 foot put to win the Master's. This was the chance to see again. Something he longed for since that fateful moment years before.
And now Jesus was coming. Jesus had healed so many people and had done such wonderful things. Surely Jesus would do something today.
"Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
And Jesus heard his cry for help and called for him to be brought to him.
And as this blind man stood before Jesus he is asked: "What do you want me to do for you?"
And as Jesus comes through here this morning and if this is your one opportunity of a lifetime for healing what do you want Jesus to do for you today?
Let's understand first of all that a you must:
- See your need.
One of the problems of human pride is not seeing one's self the way one ought.
For Bartemaeus, seeing his personal need of sight was not a matter of personal pride. For him, the very thought of being unable to see was horrifying.
It is believed by some scholars that Bartemaeus was able to see before. Many think that when he tells Jesus he wants to see that it is in a reference to being able to once see in the past. Which got me to thinking: how often we might find ourselves looking back to the good old of days of great health and maybe even great wealth. How easy it is to look back to where we once were rather than looking ahead to where God might be leading us.
a. Be ready to do whatever it takes.
Because he was blind, Bartemaeus was ready to do whatever it takes. He was not meekly whispering, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." Instead, he was yelling with desperation.
When I was in college I took voice lessons so that I could be a great singer. Seriously! Well, the great singer thing didn't work out but I did learn some proper breathing techniques when singing. One of the drills that my voice teacher, Drexel, used was to get me to holler at an imaginary man smashing my imaginary sports car with an imaginary sledge hammer. As I attempted to do this Drexel would stop me and get into my face. He would actually make me a tad upset (but because I'm a holiness pastor I really don't know what anger is all about). Finally, I was able to holler properly. I'm not sure Bartemaeus did it right for Drexel but he sure did something right.
This man got Jesus attention. And I think it was because he had...
b. Put Jesus in the right place.
Bartemaeus referred to Jesus as "Son of David." I got at feeling that He knew who Jesus was- that Jesus was the Messiah. I also have a sense that he understood the ramifications of approaching the son of God. I can't help but wonder if Bartemaeus got his spiritual affairs in order. In fact, it would not be unusual for a man in his condition to find himself utterly dependent on God because of his tragic disability. However correct my conjectures, I still can't help but believe that this blind man saw perfectly who Jesus was.
c. Take care of the sin in your life.
I find it therefore essential that a person get their spiritual house in order. If any of us dare approach God for healing then it is imperative that we recognize our personal need of salvation as well as seeking the Lordship of Christ in our life. How can I ask God for healing if I am not willing to let him lead my life? How can I seek favors from him if I am unwilling to surrender areas that are not pleasing to him?
Why should God heal me if it allows me to further a life of sin? Why not be healed so that I can glorify God with my body? (1 Corinthians 6:20)
d. See where the answer lies.
Bartemaeus saw where the answer to his problem was: in Jesus Christ. And so the question begs of us: do we know where to go when we need the healing hand of God in our life?
Obviously, the answer is to come to Jesus. And when you do, you show that you…
2. Recognize the source.
I am convinced that there are three key people in your healing:
First, doctors have their responsibility to heal you. They understand the human body, study medicinal and therapeutic answers and then they give their recommendations. We depend on them to do us right. I didn't go to school for ten years (alright, maybe I did, but not to be a doctor). They did the studying, they understand the answers and they make the big bucks. The medical field has a certain level of responsibility in the healing of your physical problems.
Second, you have a responsibility in healing yourself. When the doctor prescribe medicine to take or recommends that you change a lifestyle habit and you refuse, then you are not taking serious the healing process. For most of us here, to lose weight and exercise would do all of us a world of good. We don't need a doctor to tell us that. But when we don't care for our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit then how can we really complain if something goes wrong? I'm not saying all illnesses and diseases are because of neglect but we have to admit that sometimes it is.
Thirdly, God has a responsibility in the healing process. He has created the human body to heal itself naturally. That is amazing to me. Go out cut a hole in your garden hose, wrap some tape over it and leave it alone for a week. Then go and unwrap the tape, turn on the water and see what happens. The hose will leak. What did you expect? For the hose to heal itself?
The human body can get a cut, bleed like crazy but stick a bandaid on it , check it later and it will likely have quit bleeding.
But further than just the natural process of healing, there is also the supernatural. God can touch the human body by the power of the Spirit and make a person whole. Jesus did this and Christians have been praying this for centuries. Not only instantaneous healing but also a speedier healing recovery.
God holds a certain level of responsibility for healing in your life as one of His children.
And so what do we do with this issue of healing?
3. Put faith into action.
As Christians we witness to the world that we have a Father in heaven who loves us and cares about our deepest hurts and needs. At the very least we testify to a father who at least hears our every prayer. The scriptures say that the righteous man lives by faith. And so I ask you this morning: do you live by faith? What does this mean for us to put our faith into action?
a. By putting faith into action you must make your confession before God.
Is there any sin hidden in your heart? Is your heart and conscience clear between you and God and between you and others?
b. Be sure to apply faith in all the right places of your life.
You might say, "Well, Pastor, shouldn't faith be in every place of my life?" Now you're getting it. The just will live by faith. Therefore, allow your faith in God to lead you in every aspect of your life.
"Without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who seeks him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Hebrews 11:6
c. Establish daily disciplines in your life.
Make habits of reading your Bible and engaging God in a conversation each day. Do the right things that honor your body. After all, the Bible says that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, we are now instruments of righteousness. We should not be doing things that harm or bodies or make them less healthy.
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7
d. Live your life not by yourself but by the power of the Holy Spirit.
This is living a Spirit-filled and Spirit-led life.
e. And remember that scars remind us of God's miracles.
I sat in a Pastoral Counseling class with a woman who had been in a near fatal car accident with her boyfriend in Wisconsin. She testified that because of that accident God not only saved her life but God saved her soul. She was healed of nearly every problem that almost killed her. However, she had one part of her that wasn't healed: her ankle. Sure, she had the church pray for healing but that ankle did not heal. What she did was take it as God's reminder to her of how she got saved. And with tears she shared with our class how she never wanted that healed because with every step that caused that foot to drag, she wanted to remember that her Savior suffered and died to save a woman so unworthy as her.
And so I ask the question again: What is it that you want Jesus to do for you? Are you ready to allow yourself to be touched by the Holy Spirit for healing this morning?
Conclusion: The call to healing.
13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 5:13-16 remind us that we have an opportunity unlike most unbelievers. When we are in trouble or are suffering we should pray. Duh? Right? And when things are going well sing songs of praise. But if any are sick, they should cal the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.
This is our high privilege as God's people. This is your privilege as a child of the king- to petition the king through this means of grace.
And so I raise the call to all that are present here this morning to come and present yourselves before the Lord for healing. As you do remember four important thoughts behind the idea of healing:
Let God be God. There are simply going to be too many things we don't understand. Just because some people die from cancer does not mean that we don't pray for healing for others with cancer. Just because someone is cured of their diabetes doesn't mean someone else will. Leave these things with yourself in God's hands and let Him do as He sees fit.
Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Let Jesus come alive. Too often as Christians we are simply content to let Jesus have his place in our life but not too big of a place. Well, Christian, if you are serious about being truly made whole then you need to allow Jesus to have not simply a bigger portion of your life but let Jesus come alive and have all of who you are.
Galatians 2:20- I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Let the Holy Spirit lead your life. When Christ is allowed to live in your life you will see your life being led by the Holy Spirit. After all, Jesus was led by the same Holy Spirit. I like how in the letter to the Galatians Paul makes a serious point about Christ living in him. And then near the end of his letter he writes this: Galatians 5:16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
He is making very clear that regardless of what people say about you, regardless of what circumstances you find yourself in and regardless of how difficult life may be, LIVE BY THE SPIRIT.
Healing is not a simple matter of human need and the individual but has a lot to do with the Christian community.
And so let's prepare our hearts as a body of believers for this time of prayer for healing.