Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thursday, May 29th ~ Miriam

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Kings 5-6; Psalm 108; Acts 19.
Today's scripture focus is Luke 4:38-44

Jesus Heals Many

38 And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon's house. Now Simon's mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf. 39 And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them.

40 Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.

Jesus Preaches in Synagogues

42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, 43 but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.[a]

OK, so I decided to read Mark Driscoll's sermon on this passage (the first one).  Interesting point:  I have read and never bothered to question that Peter (to whom Luke is referring when he says "Simon" above) was the first pope and was never married.  These were Catholic-influenced writings and I never thought to wonder about it.  But here Mr. Driscoll points out that, obviously, if Simon Peter had a mother-in-law he must have been married.  Duh.

So if Simon had a mother-in-law, it would be very weird for the Bible to say he had no wife, but he did have a mother-in-law. That’s just peculiar all by itself. 1 Corinthians 9:5 says that Peter had a wife. Eusebius, the early church historian, says that Peter’s wife actually loved the Lord and was actively involved in women’s ministry. So we love Catholics and some are brothers and sisters in Christ, but Peter was married and he and his wife lived in this home and apparently their mother-in-law lived with them or was staying with them.

And here we see the authority of Jesus over demons and sickness. Do we believe in demons? Yes. Do we believe Jesus has authority over demons? Yes. Do we believe in sickness? Yes. Do we believe Jesus has authority over sickness? Yes. Do we believe that God can and does heal people? Yes, we do. Some get healed in this life, all of God’s children get healed in the end with the resurrection of the dead where there’s no more sickness, sin, death, destruction or tears, so our God is a healing God. Now we don’t heal people, God does. We pray for people and God can choose to answer them if he wills. And this woman is healed.
Now I found this interesting - talking about the laying on of hands.  I've always been a little bit suspicious of that.  It always seemed to me like mystical, magical stuff.  As if the power of healing was the combination of touching someone and praying over them and one of the other wouldn't be enough, but it's the power of GOD and it always bothered me that with the whole laying on of hands thing that it seemed like the healing was through the people.  Mr. Driscoll describes it in a way that makes a lot more sense to me:

We don’t believe there’s anything magical, supernatural, super spiritual in the laying on of hands. We do believe it’s a sign of love and blessing and affection and encouragement and help. We believe that. Jesus’ brother James writes sometime later in the book bearing his name that leaders of the church are to lay hands on people in the church, especially those who are sick, and pray for them that God would heal them. So we do that at Mars Hill. You need to do that in community group, you need to do that with your friends and family. Don’t just tell people “I’ll pray for you.” Put a hand on them and pray for them. It shows that God is loving them through you. All right, this is a shoulder-to-shoulder hug, put your hand on somebody’s shoulder, put your hand on somebody’s head. A lot of people feel lonely and isolated and abandoned and touch is very important. It’s a demonstration of God’s affection, so we pray for people. 
Satan is real. He’s really at work. He really does hate Jesus. He has servants who really are working with him. We believe all of that and we’ve seen it. We’ve also seen, like Jesus did, people delivered from that kind of bondage and oppression to live new lives, and sometimes the healing is connected to the spiritual because we’re one person, many parts, material and immaterial, and sometimes when the spiritual part of a person gets fixed, the body gets healed. Sometimes, and I want to be careful with this, just ‘cause you’re sick doesn’t mean you have a demon. But some of you are demonically oppressed or influenced or non-Christians—you’re even possessed—and it leads to lots of physical problems. And if you were connected to Jesus and the Holy Spirit were to be the most powerful presence in your life, then you might also see some physical healing as well. That’s indeed true.

I don’t want you to be scared of Satan and demons, but I don’t want you to neglect them. When you see someone who is spiritually oppressed and damaged, don’t automatically just judge them and get self-righteous. Have an air of compassion about you. Pray for them, pray with them, speak the truth of Scripture into their life.
Happy Thursday!

Tomorrow's scripture focus:  Luke 5:1-11
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:  1 Kings 7-8; Psalm 109; Acts 20.


Roxie said...

It is a powerful thing, the laying on of hands. I don't believe that there is something "magical" about it, but I have found praying while touching someone, whether it is on their shoulder, holding their hand (or whatever appropriate spot my hand might be on...I have definitely laid my hands on feet when they were too many hand layers for me to have a hand or shoulder...anyway) brings a sense of connectivity, not only with the person I am paying with, but also with God. It sometimes feels like we are taking a stand together, we are stronger, together...and that is a powerful thing. Really good post, Miriam. A good reminder for me.

TammyIsBlessed said...

That was a great description of the reason to lay hands on people while praying - a demonstration of God's love, and a sign of love, blessing, affection, encouragement and help. Beautiful!

Isn't it amazing how Jesus' healings were immediate and complete? We all know how long it takes to feel normal after we've been sick - and that's just from "regular" sickness. Can you imagine being pretty much at death's door and then Jesus heals you and you feel 100%! Complete healing.

There just aren't healings like that anymore. I mean, I totally believe God healed my nephew Baret. He was at death's door, some organs already shutting down, and for no medical explanation he began to heal. But it was not instant. And it was not complete instantly. It was still a gradual process of healing. How amazing would it have been for him to go from death's door, to running and jumping and playing! THAT'S the power that was on display. Can you even imagine it?! God is so awesome!