We Need Him 5

Revelation 1:17-18

In an episode of the television show M*A*S*H many years ago, the character of Doctor “Hawkeye” Pierce performed a risky procedure on an injured soldier. After the operation Hawkeye made a comment to the patient that one reason the surgery had been successful was because the patient had looked at the doctor with confidence. The doctor knew the patient trusted him, and with that trust the doctor had his own confidence.

In Revelation we have an account of the visions God gave to a man named John. The book ultimately is a message of hope for humanity, although some images may be disturbing. John’s first encounter with the Lord, in fact, is somewhat overwhelming.

How did John react? What encouragement does Jesus give? What qualities does Jesus profess about himself?

As we examine our own situations, looking at our physical health needs and our emotional needs, we must first determine if we trust Jesus enough to turn to him for the healing we might need. Who is this Jesus? Is he just a smart teacher or wise philosopher? Was he a trickster or a clever magician?

No, absolutely not. Jesus was and still is the very Son of God. He is the Beginning and the End. He holds the keys of death and Hades. Jesus is the one who is in control of all things.

With that knowledge, with that confidence and assurance, we can turn to Jesus with complete trust and faith. He is able to heal us of our physical infirmities. He is able to ease our troubled hearts and minds. He is able to cleanse a sin-sick soul.

As we consider how Jesus encounters us, as we see Jesus as the Great Physician whom we need, let us bear in mind always the power and authority that Jesus has.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you be confident as you turn to Jesus?

We Need Him 4

John 3:19

Many years ago our neighbor had a load of mulch delivered to his house. The huge pile of wood chips and fertilizer was dumped very near our house, and then for a few days we were plagued with cockroaches that came in from the mulch.

It was disturbing to enter into our family room, switch on the light, and watch dozens of the creepy little creatures scatter and hide. They didn’t like the light. They preferred the dark, and it was somehow fitting that these bugs which we detested preferred to avoid being seen.

It isn’t only bugs that like the darkness. Some people seem to prefer the dark, and Jesus has his own comments about them. What has Jesus brought to the world? What was the response?

A few verses before this comment Jesus explains that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son.” This comment harkens back to the beginning of John. John 1:4 states, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.”

The gift of Jesus – his teaching, his sacrifice, his healing – was a gift of light from God. Jesus is the gift of light, which is the light of hope, the light of joy and the light of love. Jesus brings us the light of spiritual healing, and healing of the heart.

Yet, so many people prefer to ignore the light. They choose to continue living a life of darkness, a life of ignorance, a life of shame, a life of suffering. Some people prefer to be in the darkness of sin and suffering, rather than confess their needs to God and accept Christ as their Savior. Some people are, perhaps, unaware that what they are doing, how they are living, is the wrong way of living. They may need light shone into their lives and hearts so that they can see there is a better way.

Are we willing to face the darkness so that we can instead turn to the light? We must be aware of our need so that we can go to Jesus for our healing. And when we have been healed – body and soul – we can help others come out of the dark and enter the light of God’s love.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you keep darkness out of your life?

We Need Him 3

Matthew 20:30-34

Today’s passage is a little longer than most days, but it presents a story which flows rather quickly. Who does Jesus encounter? What do they want? What do the people in the crowd do? How does Jesus respond?

This is a simple story of healing from the Book of Matthew. As Jesus is traveling he passes two blind men who call out to him for healing. There is nothing wrong with that, but for some reason the crowd wants them to be quiet and leave Jesus alone.

But they persist until they get the attention of the Lord. Now Jesus addresses them directly – what do you want? Obviously, they want the ability to see. And so, with great compassion, Jesus touches the men and they are healed.

It’s a wonderful story but, of course, we can’t just leave it at that. There must be something deeper going on.

The first thing that I notice is that these two men who are in need of healing sought out Jesus by way of calling to him. They knew they had a need and they were willing to do something about it. When they were aware of his presence they tried to get his attention. Now, for some reason, others wanted them to be silent.

Could this be a message to us that we need to be willing to be honest about our need for Jesus in spite of what others think? If we need the healing power of Jesus – whether physically, emotionally or spiritually – we should be willing to call out to our Savior without fear of what others may think of what we are doing.

The two men were self-aware enough to know what they needed. They needed the ability to see.

What about us? Although we may have the physical capacity to see, we may need the self-awareness to know that we need to have the eyes of our spirit opened so that we are more sensitive to how we can live in the Kingdom of God. We may need to have Jesus touch us so that our vision is the vision that God gives us.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you get new “sight” from God?

We Need Him 2

Isaiah 53:5

As the summer nears we are planning our vacation. But I can’t simply walk away from my responsibilities in the churches. Whenever I am going to be out of town for any reason I must arrange to have someone take my place in the pulpit. Someone has to do the work for me while I am away, but it will only be for a week.

This is nothing new to most people. Whenever we deal with a replacement for ourselves – someone to cover our job, someone to hold our place in line – it is usually a temporary situation.

But we can see in Isaiah that Jesus has been a replacement for us for a much more important reason and for a much longer time. What has Jesus suffered? Why did he do this? How do we benefit?

We know we need Jesus to give us comfort and healing. We know that we need the presence of Christ to help guide us, to show us how to live a better life. It is simple to turn to Jesus in times of stress and fear. It is simple to turn to Jesus when we are sick.

What we too often overlook is how much we need Jesus for our salvation. Because we are human – mortal – we are easily tempted into the earthly way of thinking and acting. We sin. We commit selfish acts. We do the wrong things.

Because of this we deserve punishment. We deserve to suffer. But God loves us so much that he sent Jesus to be our replacement in the punishment. Instead of suffering for our own wrongs, Jesus has stepped in and suffers in our place.

So, we need him. We need Jesus because he is the one who was able to be pierced and crushed for the wrongs we have committed. He is the one who is able to endure the punishment we have earned. We need Jesus to be spared what we deserve.

And through Jesus we are brought into that place of total healing, of complete grace and love – of forgiveness – with God. We need Jesus for our soul-healing.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What can remind you of the soul-healing Jesus offers?

We Need Him 1

Matthew 4:23-24

For the past two weeks a family in our church has had to cope with the sudden illness of a loved one. The medical problem came on unexpectedly and was very serious. In those days and hours in the hospital there were many times of prayer, many times of fear and worry, and many times when we all relied on the strength of God to make it through.

Sickness and injury are nothing new. People of all times and places have had struggles with health. In Matthew we have a brief summarization of the work Jesus did. What does this passage tell us of Jesus? What was the response of the people?

Most everyone has had to deal with themselves or a loved one in the hospital. Whenever our health fails or we are injured, when we are stricken with illness and need the medical attention we can only find in the hospital, it is a simple step to turn to Jesus for that assurance. We can see that Jesus was a healer. He restored the physically ill.

Calling on the Lord can be a wonderful source of spiritual strength as well as being a time of physical healing. We need God to help us in difficult times, and Jesus encounters us when we call upon him for help.

But if we look at what he did when he went throughout Galilee we can see that an encounter with Christ should be more than simply a help when we are ill. As Jesus healed he also preached. He preached the good news – the message that we can be forgiven and saved from our sin if we will accept him as our Savior. The healings he performed were a part of the whole healing process – he healed the soul as well as the body. He restored people completely.

We can call on Jesus to help us in times of illness or injury, but we need to be certain that our encounter with Christ is a relationship of total healing, not just a temporary help in desperate moments. Jesus heals not just the body, but the soul and the mind and the heart also.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you turn to Jesus to be healed in your soul as well as your body?