Jesus - God's Radiance Forgives and Heals
By Benjamin H. Liles
This has been on my heart lately as well as how God gets dirty with us in our messes, which I posted last night. I've often wondered how it is we're to clean ourselves up. I mean think on it a moment. Yes, God forgives us when we come to Him in faith, asking Him to send us His love through His Son Jesus Christ. But this has been a question of mine for some time now. And I'm fairly certain others like myself even question: How can I remain clean when I'm still sinful?
On one hand Jesus tells the Pharisees, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness" (Matthew 23:27-28, New King James). I know for a fact I'm no scribe or Pharisee. I mean I'm willing to humble myself and admit I never have all the answers. I just get before God and ask Him to show me Himself and what He desires of me.
It seems that what Jesus is getting at with those religious men of His day is that they are full of dead and empty spaces. Think on that, and look at how many people He willingly cleansed due to their faith in Him. Can the Son of God not heal someone who has no faith in Him? I would think not. Let's look at those few examples:
* The woman with a blood issue - "A woman suffering from bleeding for 12 years, who had spent all she had on doctors yet could not be healed by any, approached from behind and touched the tassel of His robe. Instantly her bleeding stopped. “Who touched Me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds are hemming You in and pressing against You.” “Someone did touch Me,” said Jesus. “I know that power has gone out from Me.” When the woman saw that she was discovered, she came trembling and fell down before Him. In the presence of all the people, she declared the reason she had touched Him and how she was instantly cured. “Daughter,” He said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace" (Luke 8:43-48, Holman Christian Standard).
* A man with leprosy is healed - "In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus instructed him not to tell anyone what had happened. He said, “Go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed" (Luke 5:12-14, New Living Translation).
* The healing of a paralyzed man - "One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby...Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!" And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!” (Luke 5:17-26)
It stands within my mind that since Jesus made this happen by having the seen the faith of these few people and countless others within scripture that we have an availability given to us through God on high. It happens when we put our faith and trust in Him to do those impossible things. One of those is forgiveness. That's the biggest charge those religious elite throw time and time again at Jesus: "Who do you think you are? Only God forgives!" Do they not see the healing this man provided to those who so desperately needed healing, forgiveness and the compassion of God?
It all started the day after Jesus had been baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus went around Israel, from Jerusalem to Samaria proclaiming, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15). Repent means to change your heart and gospel is used to mean good news. So, when you see Jesus saying, "Repent and believe the gospel," He's saying, "Turn from your sins and believe in the good news!" The only problem in my mind is that it can't simply be that easy. But I have seen some amazing things too from coming back from the brink of death to having life restored to me.
I love how whoever wrote Hebrews says this: "And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3). It means He cleanses us through our faith, just as He cleansed and healed those who showed Him their faith in who He is. It is why since my gall bladder surgery that I've been more adamant about Jesus being the life of all men. I pray this helps and encourages you today. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.