Sunday, October 10, 2010

Healing starts with faith in Jesus.

1Jesus got into a boat and came back to his own town.
2 Some men brought to him a paralyzed man lying on a mat. When Jesus saw how much trust the men had, he said to the paralyzed man: “I have good news for you my son - your sins have been forgiven”.
3 But some of the experts in the Jewish writings said to each other “This man is speaking against God”.
4 Jesus, however, knew what they were thinking and said “Why are you thinking evil things in your hearts?
5 Which of these is easier? To say: ‘Your sins are forgiven’, or to say: ‘Get up and walk’.”
6 But I want you to know that I, the Son of Man, have the right to forgive evil ways here on earth.” He then said to the paralyzed man: “Get up, roll up your mat, and go to your home.”
7-8 And to the amazement of them all, the man got up and went home. The people were awestruck and praised God who had given a man, i.e. Jesus, power to do such things.(Matthew 9:1-8)

In this story the first concern of Jesus is not the healing of the body. His first point is forgiveness. “Your sins are forgiven” says Jesus. That is the key point of his whole mission.
But what is the connection between forgiveness and the healing of the body? Is it just a coincidence that Jesus talks about forgiveness first? When we read the gospel of Matthew and the whole New Testament we will observe that it is a standard pattern of Jesus to address the point of forgiveness first. The reason for this is clear as soon as we move from a narrow view of well-being to a complete view of human nature. We are not just our physical body. We are integrated beings with spirit, soul and body. They are closely connected. The spirit, the soul and the body of a person are addressed by Jesus. His task is to heal the whole person, not just the physical illness!
Now we can start to talk in more detail about the way Jesus heals. In our story it all starts with the trust of the men. It starts with faith! That is a key observation. Healing starts with faith in Jesus. That leads us right into the heart of the New Testament. Its concern is not miracles. It shows a lot of miracles, but that is more a side effect of the power of God. Its main concern is faith.
Faith in God is the key feature of a healthy soul and faith in God is the key step to healing. Faith is always in the center of the Bible, both in the Old and in the New Testament.
The first consequence of faith is forgiveness. That is the message which Jesus tells again and again in the New Testament, with every healing story. “Your sins are forgiven!” The healing of the body in this story happens as a confirmation of the authority of Jesus.
Faith in the New Testament is trust in Jesus. We have faith when we fully realize whom we meet, that in this person Jesus we meet God himself, who wants to heal our relationship with him. That is the healing which God wants for us, to bring us home into his presence.

Peace and love,


"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. " (1 John 4:9-10)

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