Life Notes—October 7, 2010
“Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’” Luke 17:19
Once upon a time there were ten lepers. Jesus approached their village and the lepers cried out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Jesus healed them and they went on their way. All except one, a foreigner (a dreaded Samaritan), who came back to thank Jesus. Christ’s response is one of the “Jesus lines” we read often, but I daresay poorly understand. He said, “…your faith has made you well.”
Does faith heal? We know from many stories in the Bible that the presence of Jesus, along with faith in who he was, resulted in healing. But what about today? It is a difficult, heart-rending question, as we all know or know of people who have experienced miraculous healings, and we thank and praise God for the miracle of God’s grace. Yet, we also know or know of people who have not experienced healing. Faithful, good people who succumb to illness, addictions and violence. Who or what determines who is healed and who is not? And what role, if any, does faith play?
I suspect the actual presence of Jesus was so awe-inspiring that people’s faith, in his day, skyrocketed. To be around someone so wise and prophetic—someone who could command the dead to rise and the lame to walk and the lepers to be made clean—would certainly suspend anyone’s unbelief.
Without Jesus physically present to command us to be well, healing today involves the third person of the Trinity we call God—the Holy Spirit. When Jesus departed the earth he said he would send the Holy Spirit to be present with us. It is our faith that allows us to experience and draw on the power of the Spirit. And where is the Spirit when bad things happen to good people? Certainly present, in good times and in bad. As with many things in life, healing can be a matter of perspective. As we understand our earthly experience to be only a part of the life of a soul, we trust whatever incompleteness remains on earth will be completed in the eternal after-earth. In this larger sense, we are healed already, regardless of our infirmity. While our faith may not heal us within the time and space confines of earth, our faith knows the wholeness we will attain in eternity. Sometimes we must look farther than our eyes can see…
Mitch will be preaching at the downtown services this week. His sermon is titled, “Ten Little Lepers,” based on Luke 17:11-19. Life worship begins at 9:40 in Brady Hall. Traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary. Tom is preaching at the west campus, where contemporary worship is at 9:30. His sermon is titled, “Practice Gratitude,” based on the same scripture.
Come home to worship this Sunday. Strugglers welcome!
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator