Day 10: The Healer

Matthew 9

Key Verses

Matthew 9:6
But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home.

This is another chapter filled predominantly with scenes of Jesus’ healings. Which leads me to a question…

Why doesn’t Jesus heal the way He healed when He walked the earth? Have you ever tried to count how many people He healed in the gospels? He heals 6 people in this chapter alone! When you consider sweeping statements like “He went from town to town healing and teaching,” we can surmise that one of Jesus’ primary acts on earth was to heal. Why did He do it then and not now? We all have stories of people dying from cancer, struggling with a chronic illness, suffering from a disability. Why doesn’t GOD HEAL??!!!

I have an answer. It’s actually a very satisfying answer. I learned it from Nancy Guthrie, author of Hearing Jesus Speak Into Your Sorrow. The answer is found in the story of the Paralytic…

And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men (Matthew 9:2-8).

My gut reaction to this story is usually disappointment – which reveals my lack of understanding. I tend to think, “How in the world does forgiving his sins help this poor paralyzed man? I want to shout, “HEAL HIM! DON’T FORGIVE HIM!” Oh, how wrong I am…

My daughter, Anne, suffers from a severe traumatic brain injury. If God came to me and gave me a choice…  “Would you rather me heal Anne spiritually so she’ll live forever in heaven with a perfect body? Or would you rather Anne be healed physically, right now, but knowing that she wouldn’t be able to go to heaven?” Well, I would choose for Anne to be whole in heaven.

Jesus healed on earth to give us a physical representation – a word picture of sorts – of how he heals us spiritually. When we have a saving faith, we are healed for all eternity. Our current bodies are broken and temporal. Sometimes He heals us physically and sometimes He doesn’t. But really, God cares more about our eternity with Him than our ease and comfort on this earth. God knows the TRUE, BIG picture which we don’t see clearly…

Sometimes, God chooses not to heal because when we are broken physically, we are better able to see our spiritual brokenness. Jesus says in this chapter,

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means,  …I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:12-13).

God loves the broken-hearted, and the humble in spirit. He must have seen this brokenness in Matthew – as He called him to be a disciple and chose to dine at his house (Matthew 9:9-11). Matthew, a hated tax collector, turned to Jesus as his only hope. Jesus lifted him out of his hateful, lonely lifestyle and gave him a new heart with a new purpose and hope. He does the same for me. And he does the same for my daughter, Anne. Why? He is the healer!

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