Community Group Study Notes
Have someone in your group provide a 2-minute summary of Sunday’s teaching.
What is one thing that God taught you through this message?
In what ways does your vision of God’s healing need to be enlarged – so that it is as big as God himself?
Share an occasion when God healed you. How did God use this for His glory and who else was affected by this process? What did you learn as a result?
Read Jeremiah 17:14. What ailments – physical and spiritual – are you in need of God to heal?
Take time to pray for one another in your group.
So when Edie and I were university students, many of you know that both of us went to the University of Georgia and we started dating in the latter part of our time there. When we were there as reasonably new believers growing and learning and in our faith. We had some friends who were more mature in their faith that we were really grateful for, particularly when you're younger in your faith and you're endeavoring to grow in grace and in knowledge of the word. It was great to be able to have some people around us that knew the Lord that walked with the Lord. And there was one friend that we had really closer with with Edie than with me, who was really, really strong believer in Jesus, but she started sharing some stuff, particularly with Edie that began to bring a little bit of confusion to her and then she shared that with me and it kind of went like this.
If Edie complained of having a headache then this friend would say, "Well, all you have to do is you have to claim that headache and you have to have enough faith and if you do, then because God is our healer, it will be gone. It will be done game over." Well, I mean Edie probably tried that and I know that I've tried that. We've all done things along that line and you can imagine kind of some of the net effect of that was a little bit confusing maybe to us. Because really that line of thinking for this particular friend would have carried over into virtually everything. I mean, not only in getting front parking spaces in the parking lot because she claimed it, but a bunch of other things, right?
I mean, if that were broken bones or if that were cancer or if that were flu and I imagine that if her college age self was still thinking in those terms, but was present today, she might say the same thing about COVID-19. Well, what was the effect that it had on us? Well, it was initially a little bit confusing, but it was also a bit intimidating because what it felt like was, is that she was serving this big, humongous God and that Edie and I were serving this much smaller version of God. But as we grew and as we matured, and as we began to know the word and those types of things, I realized something. I realized that actually our friend's vision of God was far too small, far too small. It had become somewhat of portraying God is like a divine vending machine.
That if you say the right words and you have the right faith, then out spits your healing or out spits the outcome that you were looking for. Now, don't misunderstand, I'm not trying to downplay faith in any way. In fact, it's the only way we please God. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. The scripture says, but what we need to realize is that even though faith is imperative in the idea of healing, we have to realize that in the scripture there's a really broad understanding of the nature of healing. Like some people are healed based on their faith, and Jesus clearly states that in his ministry we see that in the Old Testament, we see that in the New Testament.
We also see people that are healed not because of their faith, but because of others faith, like in Mark 2, when friends lowered the paralyzed man into a house through the roof, and Jesus observed their faith, not the paralyzed man's faith who was healed but their faith. And then there are other scenarios like you would read about in John 9, where there was a man that was born blind and it didn't say anything at all about his faith. And the disciples asked when they saw this man who was born blind, "Did he sin or did his parents sin?" And Jesus said, "Nobody."
That's not really the issue. It didn't mean that they were sinless, but that's not the issue is the sin. That's not why this person is blind. It's so that the works of God, the glory of God might be demonstrated. So this didn't actually have to do with anyone's faith. It had to do with the sovereign purposes of God. So you actually see all of those things. People whose faith resulted in their healing, other people's faith resulted in someone else's healing and nobody's faith at any particular point. That still resulted in a healing because of God's sovereign purpose.
So it really works against this idea of God as divine vending machine where if we have this formula that if we have the right words and the right faith and we put it in the slot, then out pops our healing or out pops the outcome that we were looking for. Some of you have been around people with that kind of thinking and maybe it has disillusioned you and maybe it has confused you. Some of you that are watching right now might actually embrace that type of thinking. And then there's probably others of you who've been hurt by it, who've been disappointed by it, because you've seen it not actually play out in the way that they said that it would go. Well, here's what I'm hoping. I'm hoping that our vision of God's healing, because God is healer. I'm hoping that our vision of his healing is not that small.
In fact, here's what I would say about that. Our vision of God's healing should be as big as God himself. Let me say it again. Our vision of God's healing should be as big as God himself. Now, I'm not sure if you actually saw that coming from the way that I opened up in terms of what I was talking about. I'm not sure if you saw that phrase actually coming your way. What I'm hoping is that you will see it more clearly as we work through the text that we want to deal with today and to do that, to look at the idea of God as healer or God's healing. There's a story that I want us to engage. It's in Matthew 8, we'll be there in just a moment, and it's a story of an unnamed leper who actually has a relationship or initiates a relationship with Jesus and we see that he ultimately is healed.
He speaks a one-line prayer, which is what we've been studying in these series, kind of one line that teaches us about the character and nature of God. He has this one-line prayer when he approaches Jesus and Jesus ends up healing him. Now, this story is recorded in all of the Synoptics. The synoptic Gospels are Matthew, Mark, and Luke, right? John is different because it's set up differently. The reason they call them the Synoptics is because they're very similar in the stories that they tell and in the sequence of those stories in many ways.
So Matthew, Mark and Luke all relate this particular story, but we're going to look in Matthew's Gospel in chapter number eight to see this story play out. Here's what it says beginning in verse number one. It says, "When Jesus came down from the mountain side, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him, and said Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean. Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. I am willing, he said, be clean and immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy."
Now this is a remarkable story because this man is obviously in bad health. Now we don't hear about the idea of leprosy much anymore, but leprosy in... when the term was used in the scripture, it actually was kind of a broad term that covered all manner of various skin diseases, some of which were significantly more devastating than others of those diseases. Nonetheless, we're not sure exactly which one this man is dealing with, but there were some that actually affected your nervous system in such a way that you lost feeling in many parts of your body, wherever that was affected and you lost feeling there and it's really a devastating disease in that timeframe, depending on which kind of dimension of the disease that you actually had.
And because this man was Jewish, obviously, where Jesus was ministering, because this man was Jewish, there were actual laws that were given through Moses. You read about them in Leviticus that were given to kind of understand what needed to happen to people who actually found themselves with this disease called leprosy. Here's what it says. In fact, in Leviticus 13 beginning in verse 45, "Anyone with such a defiling disease such as leprosy, must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of their face and cry out, unclean, unclean. As long as they have the disease, they remain unclean. They must live alone. They must live outside the camp."
So you can probably imagine how devastating this particular disease was. So now when you have this disease, you have to self quarantine, you have to be outside of the camp. In other words, the village area, you have to be outside of that and think about it. What if you've got this disease? What if this man in this story he self quarantined except for maybe when he goes out to get some food or something like that and if he does go to do something like that, he has to yell out whenever he sees anybody, unclean, unclean, and cover his mouth. Could you imagine that? Could you imagine the social ostracizing that occurs with somebody like that?
People seeing a man and he's yelling, unclean, unclean and you're bolting. You're doing everything you can to get away from this particular person. Imagine his family being separated from him. I mean, I know in the framework that we're in right now where we have to quarantine and we're not able to see other family members that we wish that we could see as often as we wish we could see them, and they didn't have FaceTime, they didn't have Zoom, they didn't have any of those platforms to even be able to speak to one another. They couldn't call on the phone. This was a devastatingly harsh kind of thing that happened in this man's life, but what's interesting is that he approaches Jesus.
Now think about that, how socially taboo that would be. He approaches Jesus and he makes a very simple request. Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean. Now, I want to look at that prayer, so to speak, that statement that this man made to Jesus and I want to pull out three truths for us to be able to work through in our hearts and in our minds because I think they are really powerful to understand the nature of God and his healing. Here's the first one.
God is able to heal. God is able to heal. Look at what it says again in verse number two where he makes this prayer or this request, it says, a man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, listen to this, you can make me clean." This was a bold statement. In fact, it was a demonstration that this man had a confidence in God's power to heal and he had a confidence that Jesus was a vehicle or a conduit for God's power to heal. He said, "You can make me clean." The reason this was so bold of a statement is not just that this man had a concept. He was Jewish, obviously, and had a concept of God's power, but it was bold because of how leprosy was viewed. Now, keep this in mind. There was no cure, in that context that's why they were quarantined off.
That's why they were separated from everybody. There was no cure. There was no vaccine, right? These were harsh realities in that moment. These things were reminders of how serious this was. In fact, it was so serious that mostly people felt like it was impossible, impossible for you to be healed of leprosy. In fact, if you looked back into the Old Testament, there was a man named Naaman who was actually a soldier in the army of Aram, and the King of Aram found out about the fact that Naaman contracted leprosy, and so he heard about the possibility that there was a prophet in Israel who could heal him. And that was Elijah, and so he sent a letter to the King of Israel asking the King of Israel to heal Naaman who was from Aram, which was modern day Syria.
He asked him to help heal him, and here's how that went in 2nd Kings 5. It says, as soon as the King of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, "Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!" I hope that you understood what this King just said. He said, "Can I raise the dead to life?" Do you know that rabbis, when they viewed this, they equated the idea of someone being cured from leprosy with the idea of being raised from the dead. In other words, they said as if you can imagine how impossible it is to think about somebody being raised from the dead. That's how impossible it is for somebody to be cured of leprosy.
Now, of course, Elijah, by the power of God, did end up healing Naaman in a very unique way, and it didn't have to do with Naaman's faith so much as it did by the power of God that came through Elijah and he gave him a very unconventional means of going in washing and seeing that happen so that they would know that there was a prophet among them. Now, I say all that to say this, Jesus had the power of God and that's what this unnamed leper realized. He had confidence that God could heal. He said, "You can make me clean." He said that to Jesus. He believed God could heal and that Jesus was a vehicle or a conduit through which that healing could come. And we see when we read the Gospels, by the way, that Jesus clearly has the power of God to be able to heal.
Maybe you remember the story it's told in Mark, but you might remember the story of a father and a son. The son had been tortured by this demon and the demon would do things like throw him into water and throw him into fire to try and kill this child. You see how evil, evil really is, and the father then basically appeals to Jesus and here's how that goes. In Mark 9, here's how the story is recorded this way. Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?" "From childhood," the father answered. "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him, but if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." Jesus said, "If you can? Everything is possible for one who believes?" I love that Jesus answered this man's request when he said, "if you can do anything, please have pity on us. Please have mercy on us." And Jesus said, "If you can?"
In other words, what we're reminded about is that the issue related to healing is never about God's ability to heal. Why? Because he is able, God is able to heal. That's the first truth that I pull out of this text that I don't want us to miss, but there's a second truth that I don't want you to miss either. Not only is God able to heal, but God is willing to heal. This is what we see in our text in verse number two. Listen again to this prayer that this man prays. It says, a man with leprosy came and knelt before Jesus and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." I find it interesting that when we talk about God's ability to heal, that speaks about his power. God is able, he has the power, but when we talk about his willingness to heal, this speaks to his heart.
Able speaks to power, willing speaks to heart, and this man asks him this question, will you heal me? Basically, if you are willing. Now, the reason that I tell you that this speaks to God's heart and certainly to Jesus' heart as an expression of God fully, is because of what Mark's Gospel when it records this story for us. Mark's Gospel shows us that in Mark 1:41, here's what it says, moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, "I will be clean." Moved with pity, or moved with compassion. In fact, in the New International Version, it actually translates it. Filled with indignation. The idea of indignation there was the idea that he was upset at what this physical malady had done and was moved with compassion because of this man having to deal with this.
So the leper, the unnamed leper in our story, he believes that Jesus can heal, but he's trying to figure out and wonders if Jesus is willing to heal. Now you can understand that, right? I mean, this man has had no physical contact with anybody. He's an outcast. In fact, he's basically forgotten until he's not, and then when he's not, he's avoided because once people remember, oh, there's that guy, he has to yell out, unclean, unclean, and then everybody runs away.
And so nobody's hanging out with him. He's an outcast. He's been marginalized from society. He's actually been cast out of society. He's probably thinking to himself, I'm emotionally bereft, right? I don't have anything available here. It's a horrible situation. But here's what we see. We see Jesus' heart in all of this. We see Jesus says, "I'm willing, be clean," because the man is wondering, not if he has the power to heal, but if he has the willingness to do so, and by his ability, we know that he has power and by his willingness we see his heart, that his heart says, "I have compassion on you and I love you and I welcome you."
By the way, whether you have status or whatever your appearance, Jesus says, "I have compassion and I love you." Jesus is demonstrating that to this man who is as ostracized and outcast and forgotten and marginalized as we can imagine. Isn't it great to know that Jesus welcomes us one and all. That even if we're outcast, even if we're forgotten, even if we feel like we've been placed on the margins, Jesus says, "I see you and I welcome you." This is encouraging because we're seeing the heart of God through Jesus, but one of the things that we have to remember as we see his heart is that his desires, Jesus' willingness, his desires don't always equal the outcome we desire. Now in this particular story, it does, and I know that that leper is certainly thankful for that, right?
If you are willing, I know you can and Jesus says, "I'm willing, be clean." You see, Jesus desires demonstrate his heart of compassion, but just because we know that Jesus has a desire doesn't mean that it gets us the outcome that we desire. In fact, I could point you to other places in the scripture where that's the case like 2nd Peter 3 for instance, where God doesn't desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. God doesn't desire that any should perish, but all should come to repentance. Here's the question, do any perish without coming to repentance? The answer of course, is yes, they do. You see what, that statement, God doesn't desire that any should perish. It's a statement about his heart, not a statement about the command of his sovereign will. This is what we have to understand, that when we come to God, God has sovereign purposes as we've studied in our series already, God has sovereign purposes that we don't always understand, but God's heart is that he wants to help.
You see, it's not always God's will to physically heal someone. Contrary to maybe what you have heard with the kind of thinking that I shared with you that our friend in college was sharing with us, it is not always God's will to physically heal. I mean, there's a million places that we could look right? I mean, Paul had friends that he traveled with, people like Trophimus who needed healing that Paul never... by the way, Paul had a gift of healing. God used him to be able to heal, but Trophimus, as far as we know, was never healed. Paul was never healed of the malady that was afflicting him. Some argue that it was his eyesight. Who knows what that may have been, but he wasn't healed of that.
So it's not always God's will to physically heal. In fact, if we looked back at Mark's version of this story of the man with leprosy and we look right before it, we find that Jesus has just healed Peter's mother-in-law in her house. And I want you to see what transpires in that story. It's in Mark 1:32 it says, "That evening after sunset, the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon possessed. The whole town gathered at the door and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was." Very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed. Simon, that's Peter and his companions went to look for him and when they found him, they exclaimed, "Everyone is looking for you," and Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else to the nearby villages so I can preach there also. That is why I have come."
Now I find that extraordinarily interesting and here's why, because after Jesus heals a bunch of people one particular day and or evening, the next day, very early in the morning, Jesus is out praying and the disciples don't know where he is and they come to find him and they say, "Hey, everybody's looking for you." Well, why? Because they were bringing more people. They were bringing more who were afflicted and they wanted Jesus to do the same thing for them. And Jesus says, "Let's go to another village so that I can preach. That's why I have come." He came to preach the kingdom of God. The healings that were going on there were to listen to this, were to demonstrate the presence of the kingdom of God among them, but Jesus' intent was not to be a traveling healer.
His intent was to broadcast the reality of the kingdom of God. I say all that to say that God is willing and able to heal, but we have to understand some things about that. Now, when we say that God is willing, listen to this. If God is willing, that means that God doesn't desire for us to suffer. Think about this. If God is willing, he doesn't desire my suffering. It's not what his heart desires, right? Because we said what he desires or what he wills in that sense of desire is that he's saying he doesn't want to see our suffering. He doesn't want to see our heartache. He doesn't want to see our physical malady, but we also know that if God is able, he isn't powerless to end my suffering. Now think about these two things. If God is willing, he doesn't desire my suffering, and if God is able, he isn't powerless to end my suffering.
So if those things are true, then what happens when we realize that God is willing and we realize that God is able, but we haven't been healed of that which we desire to be healed of? Does that mean that something's wrong with us? Does that mean that our faith is somehow bad? Not necessarily. Certainly there are times where God wants to draw out our faith as I've already established, that God wants to heal based on our faith. That is certainly talked about in the scripture. Make no mistake about that, but it's not necessarily so that there's something wrong with our faith or something wrong with us. Even though God is willing and doesn't desire for us to suffer and God is able, which means he's not powerless to be able to fix us, to be able to heal us. So if he hasn't done that and we still have something we've been praying about and we've been trusting God for, and maybe it's for a child or maybe it's for a husband or a wife, or maybe it's for ourselves.
If we continue to pray along that line and we haven't seen that healing, what does that mean? Well, it means based on all we know of God and his sovereign purposes, that he's got a reason. He has a purpose in it. It doesn't mean that his heart desires for us to suffer and it doesn't mean that he's not powerful enough to end it. God has demonstrated that throughout the course of history and in fact has often demonstrated that in our lives from time to time, but it means that God has purposes in this, and this is where I want our vision of God's healing to get bigger, not smaller. Because God is able to heal. God is willing to heal, but let me share with you a third truth here. God is healing. God is healing in his very nature. I want you to turn your attention again to the story that we're reading in Matthew 8 and look at what it says in verse number three. Look at the very first words.
After this man had said, Lord, if you're willing, you can make me clean. It says, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said, "Be clean." And immediately, immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Now, as I told you, I don't know a whole lot about this unnamed leper. There's not a lot of, this is a true story. This isn't a parable, but we don't know a lot about this man. He's doesn't even have a name as far as we know. I mean, he has one. We just don't know it. Now, there was this papyrus in the second century. It called the Egerton Papyrus because Egerton's who found it and it was dated to the second century and it actually had some information on it about this story.
And it actually made the kind of observation that this man contracted leprosy by being in a hotel where other lepers were actually there maybe quarantining or something and that he was at, I say, hotel, it was called an Inn at the time. And that, that may be, is how he got it. Well, that's something that I couldn't speak to. So this papyrus may have told us a little bit about how this man contracted it, or maybe not. We don't really know, but what we do know is that this man was a Jew and because he was a Jew, he actually knew some things about God. He knew a thing or two about God. And what he knew about God is that God can heal.
He already established that. He knew God could heal and he established that. Jesus is the one who could do the healing. But as a Jew, he also knew kind of the first five books of the Bible, really, really well, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. He knew those really well. I'm sure because that's what you grow up learning. That's what you're instructed in. Right? So he would have been very familiar with the story of Moses having led the people of God, Israel out of the bondage of Egypt and into the wilderness. And then they were in the wilderness without anything to drink. And they were going some time without anything to drink. And I'm sure he was familiar with this story in Exodus 15. Here's what it says. It says then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the desert of shore.
For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. That is why the place is called Marah. Marah means bitter. So the people grumbled against Moses saying, "What are we to drink?" Then Moses cried out to the Lord and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water and the water became fit to drink. Then the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test and he said, "If you listen carefully to the Lord, your God and do what is right in his eyes. If you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians for I am the Lord who heals you."
Now that phrase that he uses there at the very end, I am the Lord who heals you. This is God speaking is the phrase, Jehovah-Rapha. Now Jehovah means the existing one. It's the idea of the great I am and Rapha or Rophe means healer or healing. See what God was doing is he was pro progressively revealing himself to the people of Israel. He had done that earlier in time and now he was progressive progressively revealing to who he is and what he does. And in a fact, he says, I am Jehovah Rafa. I am the existing one. I am. And what am I? I am healer or I am healing. Think about that for a moment. I am healing. I am healer.
You see this not only speaks to what God does, but it speaks to who God is. This is what's imperative for us to understand what Jesus does right here after this man asked the question, Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean. It says that Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. Did something occur. Yes, the man was healed. But why? Because of who Jesus was, Jesus did what he did because of who he was and what do we understand as a result of that, that God is healing. You see, this is important for us to understand. And here's why, because I get asked this question quite a bit. Will God heal me? I get asked that by a lot of people. There may be going through a particular issue. Maybe it's with a child that they have who sick, maybe it's themselves and they've got a diagnosis that they're not happy with her. And they'll ask this question. Will God heal me?
Now, you might say that the answer to the question is, I don't know, I'm not God, right? And that's a fair enough answer. That's a real world answer, but let me answer it slightly different. Will God heal me? Well, we know this. God is able, we also know this. God is willing. And we also know this, God himself is healing. So you know how I would answer that question for those who believe, for those who have faith. I'm not just talking about anybody here, but for those who believe, for those who entrust themselves to Jesus, if you ask the question, will God heal me? Listen carefully. The answer is absolutely yes, he will.
Jerry, are you sure? A hundred percent. He will heal you a hundred percent of the time. For those that believe 100% absolutely unequivocally. Some of you right now are sitting in your houses and your computer screens and your televisions and you're thinking to yourself, Jerry, have you gone absolutely nuts. I haven't. For those who believe for those who are, who are his children, he has obligated himself that he will heal us every single time, a hundred percent of the time.
Now, before you fall into the trap, however, of making God too small, let me explain what I'm saying. You see God who is healing is also God who is not bound by time. God is not bound up with past present and future a we understand it. God lives in the eternal present. It is all before him, always at the same time, this is the nature of what it means to be God. He is omnipresent. That means God has always existed. He has existed from eternity past. He will exist into eternity future and all we understand is things about past and present and future. But for God, everything is an eternal present.
What does that mean? Well, it means God will heal his children every single time on his time. God will heal every single time, but it will be on his time. Here's what that means. As we experience it, as we understand it, sometimes what God is going to do is he is going to heal us immediately. That's exactly what happened in this story. Exactly what happened in this story. It says immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. And sometimes that's what God is going to do. I can't explain it. I don't know how it happens. I don't know how it works, except for God is able and God is willing and God is healing and there will be times where we will come before God and God will touch us and we will immediately be healed.
Thank God for those times. There's other times where we will eventually be healed. In other words, we might be praying about this for many, many, many, many years, and then finally, eventually we are healed. Praise God. Thankful for that. So sometimes we're immediately healed. Sometimes we are eventually healed and then other times we are ultimately healed in death.
You see what I'm saying is this is that God will heal his kids every single time, a hundred percent of the time, but it will always be on his time. Now, why is it then that he does this? Why does he choose to operate this way? That I can't explain because this now gets into God's sovereign purposes, but I want you to think about it this way.
If your physical healing is delayed, then it is delayed for the purposes of God's glory and for his good purposes in the world, maybe for you and maybe for others. In fact, think about it this way. What if God were to delay your physical healing that you've been praying for so that someone could observe your faith in the midst of that trial and experience eternal healing of their soul. You see, this is a part of God's sovereign purpose. Or what if God wanted to heal you immediately so that he could spur faith in the person that was observing this. That's also a possibility. You see God in his sovereign purposes is working in ways that we can absolutely pin into a corner and that's important for us because what it does is it gets us out of this idea that God is a divine vending machine.
That somehow if we just have the right words and we just have the right faith that we push that into the slot and out pops our healing. It is not that that is far too small, a view of God, because God himself is healing. God himself transcends time and God himself will heal all of his children who have believed in him by faith in Jesus Christ. Sometimes, immediately, sometimes, eventually, and always ultimately, but it's about God's time, not about ours because God is working out his purposes for his glory and for the good of the world. And you know how he's working out those purposes, he's working them out in and through Jesus. You see Jesus healings when he was ministering and preaching about the kingdom of God and validating his preaching with the healings of people, which was prophesied about what the Messiah would do.
Jesus was doing that because he was giving the world a foretaste of the kingdom. Now these healings, by the way, that Jesus was giving as you and I could imagine, these physical healings were temporary. So he heals a blind man that was blind from birth. Well then what happens when that man eventually dies of cancer? So he raises up a child that had died, but that child ends up growing old and dying of something else. What these were, were not intended to be just an indole. They were actually a sign pointing to an ultimate destination. These were signposts along the way. They were real. They were true and they were beautiful and they were signposts of the kingdom. They were foretaste of what is headed our way. In fact, when we read a little bit ago in Exodus, where we learned about Jehovah-Rapha, do you remember what Jehovah-Rapha, the existing one who heals the God who heals?
Do you remember what exactly he said and told Moses to do? He said, "I'm going to point out a tree and I want you to take that wood... He basically said wood of tree. I want you to take that wood. I want you to take that tree. And I want you to put it into that bitter water. And when you put it into the bitter water, that water will become sweet." Do you know what that was? That was a foreshadowing of what would occur in Jesus Christ because every one of us needs to be healed of our sin sick souls. So what happened is, is that God designated a tree called a cross that the savior got on to die in our place so that it could be planted into the bitter waters of sin so that you and I now could taste the sweetness of what it means for our souls to be healed by faith in Jesus Christ.
I'm getting excited in the middle of no one right now, but I hope that you're understanding the beauty of this and that your vision of God's healing is enlarged as a result of it. You see God's not a divine vending machine where we just have the right words in the right faith and out comes our stuff. It's so much bigger than that and our bold faith tells us that God is so big. Listen to this. God is so big. He's actually willing to heal everything everywhere. Can you imagine that? God is so big and God is so willing, and God is so able and powerful. He's actually willing to heal everything everywhere through Jesus. Do you know that we see that ultimately? Think about it this way, Jesus' death and his resurrection was this in breaking of the kingdom of God and was showing what would be and Jesus ascends to the Father and he has promised us that he is going to return. And when he does, he brings new creation with him.
Listen to what it says in revelation 21. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy city, the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God prepared as a bride, beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look, God's dwelling places now among the people and he will dwell with them. They will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away."
He who was seated on the throne, said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." I mean, he goes on to talk about the healing of the nations that everything everywhere in and through Jesus can be healed. See our vision of God's healing should be as big as God himself, not a small view, but a God sized view. He's willing, God is to heal. He is able, he himself is healing and his healing certainly includes physical healing, but it's so much bigger than that. He's the only one that can heal your soul. God alone is the only one that can heal your soul. He's the only one who can heal your past. He's the only one who can heal your trauma. He's the only one that can truly heal the empty spaces that you find yourself budding up next to now, that you're alone a lot.
God himself is the only one that can actually heal you of sins bondage, just him. Why? Because he is healer. So what I'm hoping is that you let his words that he stated to this leper be a bomb to your soul today. "I am willing," Jesus says, "Be clean." "I am willing. Be clean." I don't know about you, but those are words that I need to hear. They not only encourage me in terms of understanding the nature of who God is and the bigness of who God is and understanding that our vision, our vision of God's healing should be just as big as God himself, that we don't shrink him down. That's why I would suggest to you that our vision of God's healing needs to go far beyond just the realm of physical healing. He does that. I believe that he does that.
I've seen him do that. God does physically heal, but there's something much bigger than that. Our sin sick souls need to be healed. And there's only one way that that occurs. That is because of what God has done in his grace on our behalf, through Jesus Christ, that the world that was drowning in the bitterness of sin, God planted a piece of wood into the bitter waters of sin so that we might now be able to taste the sweetness of salvation in Jesus Christ. It's by grace, that we have been saved through faith and it's not of ourselves. It's a gift of God. It's not of works so that no one can boast. This is purely God's doing. So if you've never come to a place where you've received Jesus, I certainly hope that today you will. Maybe you need to talk to somebody about what that looks like to have your soul healed by the one who forgives.
And by the way, if you're worried about man, I've been such a bad person, man, you don't know what I've done. I'm certainly glad that I'm not actually at the physical building of the church because I'm afraid the roof would cave in if I walked in the door, listen, we just read about a leper who was socially ostracized, who was an outcast, who was avoided by everyone. And Jesus said, "Welcome." That's what he said. And he says it to us. When sinful people truly turn to the savior, he never cast them away. He receives them. That's where you'll find healing for your soul. Let those words be a bomb to you. "I am willing. Be clean." Jesus says. That's so much bigger than just physical healing, because he can heal us eternally and if you've never come to that place, I really pray that in just a moment when John shares with you, how you can connect with us, that you'll do that.
Father, I pray in Jesus' name, that you would speak life into every person, that's listening. I pray you would teach us more, the beautiful reality of the fullness of who you are God, that we don't have too small of a vision of who you are but instead we have a vision as big as you are, at least to the extent that our minds can conceive. And father, I pray for those who are trusting you, that maybe they're experiencing some physical issues. Maybe they've had some in their family, maybe they're interceding for a child or a loved one or a spouse. Father, I pray that they would continue to pray prayers of faith. I pray they would continue to trust you because we don't know God, what it is you have in store. We know God that you are able, we know God that you are willing and we know that you are healing itself, but we also don't always know what your timing is and for what sovereign purpose it may hold.
So God may we see in the midst of this, you not just our affliction, not just who we're praying for, but God may we see you and may we trust you all the more, that you work out your purposes for those who believe, and you work them out for good. So Father, I even pray as well for those who have yet to entrust their life to you, God, may you draw them by the power of your spirit, that they may realize that only by faith in Jesus can their sin sick soul be healed. And I trust you to do this now in Jesus name. Amen.