Edward Hancock II
The Imperfect Blog
|Posted by EHancock2 on October 1, 2012 at 10:10 AM|
Undoubtedly, this is my favorite part of this series I am writing. Jesus as Healer.
Thirty-Eight years ago, in St. Joseph's Hospital of Joliet, IL, a little boy was born with Spina Bifida. Medical science was confused. There was little they could do, they told the new mother. She needed to prepare herself to bury her newborn son. It would happen, they said, before his 2nd birthday.
The little boy was me. The mother, my own. But what the doctors didn't know is that we had an ace up our sleeves. While my mother rested from given birth to a disabled child born butt first, folded up like a taco shell. (And by born, I mean by natural child birth. There was no option for a C-Section by the time they learned I was turned wrong.)
My dad was charged with calling the relatives. He called Mom's parents first. They were not home. So he called everyone else, letting them know the bittersweet news that, yes, he had his son. But his son did not have long to live. When Dad had called everyone, he called Granny and Grandpa back. Granny answered. I think they'd been at the rent house in Longview. I can't remember.
Anyway, my dad was already beat down. This 6'5, 300+ lb man had shared the news so many times, he'd been reduced to a shell of his former self. But, somehow, he mustered the strength to tell it one more time.
"We have a son, Mama." (He always referred to his in-laws as "Mama" and "Daddy")
"What's wrong, Son?" Granny asked. I'm sure she could hear it in his voice.
"He's sick, Mama." Dad told her. (His voice cracked several times, Granny would later tell me.) "The doctors, they don't expect him to live very long."
Undaunted, Granny reached across the miles and carried my giant of a father on her Godly shoulders. From her little country home, on the little country road in the little country town of Ore City, Texas, my grandmother reached across country with her faith and lifted my dad up.
"Now you listen here, son." she told him, her voice resolute. "You go right back in there and you tell those doctors GOD has plans for that boy! You hear me?"
He heard, loud and clear. Rumor has it, that he took Granny literally and gave them Granny's message verbatim. I have to admit, I was a little busy in the nursery trying to look cool to all the other newborns. Hard to do with a bunch of tubes and wires sticking out of you, but I bet I managed pretty well.
So, the doctors did what they could. They performed several surgeries on me. But most still held that I would not live past my second birthday.
Meanwhile, back in that little country home in Ore City, Granny got on the phone to a couple at her church. Their last name was Smith. Brother and Sister Smith is how I knew them. I am sad to admit, I never learned their real names.
When they got to Granny and Papa's house, they all joined in prayer, asking God to heal my body. Begging God with all they had to let me defy the death sentence imposed upon me by finite human minds.
The Bible calls Him "Jehovah Rapha". The Lord Our Healer.
Jehovah Rapha can be found in the Bible, however it cannot be found in any modern translation (i.e. NIV, ESV) because of the translation method. The word Jehovah Rapha does appear in the Masoretic Text, which is the Old Testament manuscripts which have been maintained by the Levite priests since the original manuscript was written.
Isaiah 53:4-5 is a good place to start:
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
Did you see that? We are HEALED because of His Wounds! Of course, most of you are probably sitting there thinking, "Yes, I knew that already." I'm sure you have heard that one, even if you've never cracked open the Bible, right? But can you really say you've APPRECIATED it? Let's just stop and think about this for a moment. Because of his having been beaten within an inch of his human life, God in human form (Jesus) has declared every sickness HEALED! Think of this like a scale. On the one side, is every sniffle, every scraped knee, every battle with cancer or tumors, every issue of blood or circulation. Every aneurysm. Every toothache is there too. Every broken arm or broken nose. Every bruise or cut that's ever taken too long to heal. It's all there.
Let's consider Exodus 15:26 as well: “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”
It's good to pause for a moment to address an issue many people have. To fully address the matter would take a series of blogs itself. But, as it is not my purpose for THIS series, let me just ask a question then labor to answer it in brief.
Q: The above verses are talking about God, not Jesus Christ, right? So why does this make JESUS our Healer? Doesn't it make GOD our Healer?
A: Yes. And Jesus is God's only begotten Son, having been born of a virgin, who was impregnated by the spirit of GOD Himself, therefore, (to quote Jesus) "Whoever has seen the Son has seen The Father." Put another way, My father and I are two different people. My Human Father is not me. Nor I him. But a part of him indwells within me through science and genetics. When we are talking about God, we must understand God's ways are far higher than our ways. We can not relegate it to mere genetics and science. It was not God's heavenly sperm cell that impregnated Mary. It was His presence. His BEING that did it. His Spirit. His Essence. His WILL. He took part of himself, joined with Mary's pure humanness and created Jesus Christ. A flesh and blood embodiment of Living Light. In summary. Jesus Is God is Jesus. The nature of One EQUALS the nature of the Other, no matter which way you go.
Moving along, let us look at more proof of Jesus as Healer.
in John 4:43-54, we see Jesus healing a Roman Official's son in Galilee. I find this one especially miraculous for one reason in particular. Jesus never journied there! He never set foot in the Official's house! He merely told him "Go home. Your son has been healed." He no more than finished saying this than a servant came running up to tell the official of the miraculous healing! Jesus knew He would meet this official, long before the official did. He knew the official's child would be sick probably years before it happened. And He had healed the boy before the father had even asked! If not, how else could the servant have so quickly ran up to him to tell him the good news? Jesus was omnipresent.
In Mark 1:21-28 and Luke 4:31-37, Jesus brings John, James, Peter and Andrew with him to Capernaum. There, he heals a possessed man. I like this story too, as Jesus shows his omnipotent power to silence demons when he forbids them to talk or tell anyone who He really is. When Jesus said "shut up!" you Shut Up! No matter who you are!
Three of the Four Gospels (All but John) tell of Jesus healing Peter's Mother-in-Law. Luke tells it well.
When Jesus got up and left the synagogue (after healing the madman) he went into Simon (Peter)'s house. Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus about her. He stood over her as she lay in bed, brought the fever under control and it left her. At once she got up and began to see to their needs. Then, as the sun was setting, all those who had friends suffering from every kind of disease brought them to Jesus and he laid his hands on each one of them separately and healed them. Evil spirits came out of many of these people, shouting, "You are the Son of God!"
But he spoke sharply to them and would not allow them to say any more, for they knew perfectly well that he was Christ.
Throughout the Gospels, we see time and again where Jesus heals. He gives sight to the blind, he allows speech where none had been before. Lame legs were given strength to walk, run and dance.
What pains me is that not everyone was truly appreciative of the gifts Jesus possessed. Of the abilities he readily put on display. Of the miracles attesting to his divinity. Nowhere is this more evident than in the story of the 10 Lepers.
Luke tells of the account in Luke 17:11-19. In brief, Jesus heals ten men of leprocy. Later, one comes back to thank Him and worship. Jesus asks, "Were not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?" Of course, He knew where they were. His question, you might say, was rhetorical.
Of course, we can speak all day long of how he healed them from leprocy, from clubbed feet, blindness, etc. What about Lazarus? Let's face it, it's hard to beat being "Healed" from DEATH Itself!
Can you do it? I sure can't! No matter what your thoughts on Jesus, the man raised another from the dead! (You can read the full account in John 11).
Of course, I've had many discussions with atheists and agnostics about Jesus' Healing powers. I've cited all of these miracles and more. Most argue that it's just a first century press machine going full steam with Jesus Propaganda. Hey, if they want to believe that, fine. Who am I to argue?
Oh yeah, I'm the little boy born 38 years ago (39 in March) who was given less than 2 years to live. A boy whose praying granny boldly prophecied "God has plans for that boy!" If anyone knows anything about Jesus' Healing power, I have no problem at all saying that I am that person.
In part three of the series, I am going to explore the side of Jesus nobody seems to want to discuss anymore. At least not in any rational, realistic frame. I'll speak about Jesus as Judge. And we're going to attempt to dispell this ignorant notion that we, Christian brethren, are never to judge one another.
Till next time, this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2