Jesus is Healer…

You still with me?  Great!  Thanks for reading!

We started with the idea that Jesus is Truth.  Then we saw how Jesus is Freedom.  Last time, we saw how Jesus is Knowable.  Jesus is a lot of things … a lot of things that the world denies exists.  The world denies that there is truth, yet it constantly makes truth claims.  The world denies that freedom is good because people want power and they think the best way to attain it is to subjugate others.  The world denies that you can have absolute knowledge about something because it sounds arrogant, and God forbid that anyone actually act as if what they believe is true is actually true!

The world is messed up.  It’s broken.  It needs to be fixed.  The government can’t fix it.  Money can’t fix it.  Being nice can’t fix it.  We can’t fix it.

Because we are the problem.

The solution to this broken world must come from outside of ourselves, contrary to what Gene Roddenberry would have you believe.  Star Trek was great fun.  It was fiction.  Humans, as long as are like we are now, will never rise above this.  Star Trek reflected our desire of Utopia.  But all we see around us is a dystopia.

But it wasn’t really different 2000 years ago.  Humans have been pretty much the same for a very long time.

In chapter 7 of his letter to the church at Rome, Paul recalls his own struggle with sin.  He writes:

Romans 7:15–20 (ESV) (15) For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (16) Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. (17) So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (18) For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. (19) For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. (20) Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

He is basically saying “Why do I keep doing what I know is wrong?”  And he answers it honestly – “I want to do what is right, but I am not able to do it.” In fact, this realization makes him cry out:

Romans 7:24 (ESV) (24) Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

As long as we humans are like we are, we may want to do the right things, but we will be unable to do so.  That does not bode well.  We are wretched.  We need someone else to deliver us from our bodies of death?  Have you ever wondered why people are so wrapped up in the idea of finding other intelligent life in the universe?  One reason that always somes up is this – “If there is a race of aliens out there who have lived long enough to travel here and visit us, surely they are better than us, and can teach us how to save ourselves.”

The world is arrogant enough to say that we can overcome our own evils and save ourselves.  But that is foolishness.

Paul on the other hand, gives a much more grounded answer.  One that testifies to the truth of our condition.  He says:

Romans 7:25–8:4 (ESV) (25) Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (1) There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (3) For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, (4) in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

God has done what we could not!  He sent His own son to live the life we couldn’t so that the righteous requirement of His own law would be fulfilled.  Jesus stood before His people and took their place!

We couldn’t even fix ourselves, so how can we expect to fix the world?  God must do what we cannot.  And He will.

Revelation 21:1–5 (ESV) (1) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. (2) And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (3) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. (4) He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (5) And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

What great news!  Jesus is making all things new.  Because we can’t.

Jesus is healer.  He’s the healer of the heavens and the earth.  But he’s also our healer.  Healer of our souls.  He may heal our bodies, our circumstances, our lives.  He may make them better.  But He doesn’t promise that like He promises to heal our very souls.  That may be a hard pill for you to swallow – that you may pray your entire life that Jesus would heal some affliction of yours.  But remember Paul?  That guy who wrote the things I quoted above.  He also wrote this:

2 Corinthians 12:7–8 (ESV) (7) So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. (8) Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.

Imagine pleading with God that He would heal your body, only to hear what Paul heard in response:

2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV) (9) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.”

In other words – “No Paul, I will not heal your affliction.  You will show the world that you can still love me even if I don’t do everything you want me to do.  My power is made perfect in your weakness.”

And Paul’s response is more amazing to me than the fact that God did not heal him.  “OK Lord.  If your power is made perfect in my weakness, then I will boast about my weakness so your power will be displayed all the more.  I don’t need to be healed of my affliction.  I need Christ. May His power rest on me.”

I am reminded of a song lyric that goes like this …

If hope if born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our savior
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We’d be held (Held, Natalie Grant)

Can you respond this way?  Do you know that the promise was not “you will never fall”, but it was “when you do fall, you’ll be held.”

Here’s that promise:

John 10:25–30 (ESV) (25) Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, (26) but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. (27) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (28) I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (29) My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (30) I and the Father are one.”

If you belong to Jesus, if you are one of His sheep, you are in His hands, and He will never let you go.

John 6:37–40 (ESV) (37) All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (38) For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. (39) And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. (40) For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

If you belong to Jesus, if you are one of His sheep, you have been given to Him by the Father, and He will never lose you.

Why?  Because He lived, died, and rose from the dead to fulfill a promise made thousands of years earlier.

So, can you see past the “now” of your circumstances, of your affliction, of your struggles?  Can you see the power of God in your weakness?  Is His grace enough for you?  Can you hold onto the promise of the future and fight through the now in His power?  Even if you must die to see that promise fulfilled?

Or do you want more?  Do you expect Jesus to give you what was never promised?  Is His grace sufficient for you?  He says it is, do you accept that?

But remember that thing about knowing the truth and the truth setting you free?

John 8:36 (ESV) (36) So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

But before I ask any of those questions, I should have asked this one – “Do you know the Truth?  Notice that I did not ask “do you know that there is such a thing as truth”, but “do you know the truth?”

John 14:6 (ESV) (6) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

There is truth.  There is freedom.  He is knowable – do you know Him?  Are you free?

Jesus is Knowable…

By now, you ought to know that truth matters, and defending truth is important.  You should also know that truth leads to freedom and that knowing truth is required if we are to have any meaningful relationship with God.

Because relationships based on falsehood are not really relationships.  They are fantasies.

Think of it this way – let’s say that you have a mother.  Let’s say that she is 5′ tall, her name is Linda, she has short dark hair, she’s been married for 45 years to the same man, she was born in October, etc.  You probably know a ton of things about your mom, right?  You also know that these things are true about you mom, mostly because she raised you, cared for you, fed you.  Heck, that means that you also know that she is kind, caring, generous, etc.  Lots more things you know about her.

So, let’s now say that a friend introduces you to a man named Lane.  In getting to know Lane, the topic of moms comes up, and you talk about how great your mom is.  After a while, Lane starts acting like he knows her, and confirms your suspicions by blurting out “Dude!  I totally know her!  She’s like 6′ tall, long blonde hair … what’s her name … Kris … Kris Kremmins!!  I can’t believe it!”

What would you say?  Probably something like “Um … no, her name is Linda.  She’s 5′ even, short dark hair.  I don’t think you know her.”

But Lane presses – “Yes I do!  She’s also kinda witchy – those cheerleader types always are.  Dated the basketball team, not just certain members of the team, the whole team!  Couldn’t ever talk to her though, she never gave me the time of day.”

It wouldn’t take you very long to see that Lane has a completely different person in mind.  He might be thinking of a female, but apparently, that’s where the comparison ends.  He can’t even get her name right!

Would you defend what you know about your mom to Lane?  I hope so!

Absurd, right?  It may even seem like I got this idea from a movie (truth – I did.  bonus points if you know which one).

But it’s all too real.

Worse? Lane’s not talking about your mom.

He’s talking about Jesus.

“Yeah, I know who Jesus is.  He’s some revolutionary that lived in Israel a long time ago.  What he taught got him in trouble with the law, and he was killed.  Poor guy.”

(Yeah, I know your mom. She’s some law breaker that was arrested for stealing food.)

“Yeah, I know Jesus. In fact, I believe in him, I’m a Christian.  He was the son of God and some mother goddess, I can’t remember her name, and he had a brother too – Lucifer.  He showed us how to become gods!”

(Yeah, I know your mom.  She’s that crazy woman who is always on the news talking about how aliens abducted her.  She’s nuts.)

“Yeah, I know about Jesus, but he wasn’t real.  He is merely a story people dreamed up to keep others in line.  Eternal punishment is a pretty good bogey man!”

(Yeah, I know about your mom…your real mom.  Didn’t you know you are adopted?  That lady you think is your mom really isn’t.  You’ve been lied to all these years.)

Wait…what?

Heard any of those?  They even use the name of Jesus, but they have no idea who Jesus really is.  Whoever they are talking about is not the real Jesus, he’s some made up Jesus.  If this were unique to atheists, Muslims, or other religious groups, it would be bad enough – spreading falsehoods about anyone, especially Jesus, is pretty bad.

I wish I could say that “Christianity” doesn’t suffer from this.  But I can’t.  It’s close to home.  Too close.

“I not only know Jesus, I know what He taught.  He’s the Son of God all right, and because He loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives, He wants us to be healthy and wealthy.  He said that if you are sick, it’s because you don’t have enough faith.”

(Yeah, I know your mom, she was such a great second grade teacher.  I learned so much about the world from her, like the reason alligators are so mean is because they have all those teeth and no toothbrush.)

“Yeah, I know Jesus.  He’s God, so that makes him the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.  He’s part of this trinity thing – you know three Gods in one God or something like that.  It doesn’t really matter though.  He’s God!”

(Yeah, I know your mom.  She’s your aunt and sister too, right?  You’re thaaaat family.)

Absurd in the highest!

It’s almost like we don’t really care because for whatever reason, we just let people keep spreading lies about Jesus.  You don’t even have to go too far to see it/read it/hear it.  Why do we do that?

I do know this – if Jesus were as real to you as your own mother, if you believed with your heart of hearts that everything the Scriptures proclaim about Him is true, you would reject all of those caricatures of Jesus and seek to correct the errors about Him.  Just like you’d correct anyone who spread falsehoods about your mom.

All that to ask you this:

Do you truly believe that Jesus is knowable?  Not only knowing things about Him, which is important, but also knowing Him, which is vital.  Your eternity depends on it!

That said, we’ll never know everything about Him.  But we can certainly know some things about Him.  Some very important things about Him.  Some vital things about Him.  Things like:

Luke 2:11–12 (ESV) (11) For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (12) And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

He was born.  Born in the City of David.  He is the Messiah (Christ).  He is Lord.  He was born as a baby.  He was the fulfillment of prophecy.

Hebrews 1:1–2 (ESV) (1) Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, (2) but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

He is the final word from God.  He owns everything.  Through Jesus, the world was created.

Hebrews 1:3–4 (ESV) (3) He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (4) having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

He is God.  He is powerful to hold everything together, simply by His word.  He atoned for sin ONCE, that’s all that was needed, and finished that work.  He is not Michael the archangel – He is much greater than angels.

Romans 5:6–10 (ESV) (6) For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— (8) but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. (10) For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

We are weak, but He is strong.  And while we were weak, He died for sinners.  While we were enemies, He died for us!  His death and resurrection saves His people from God’s wrath (yes, God is wrathful as well as merciful), and reconciles them with God.  No longer enemies.

And we can know Him…

1 Corinthians 2:1–5 (ESV) (1) And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. (2) For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (3) And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, (4) and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, (5) so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

So, there it is.  Jesus is knowable.  Things about Jesus are knowable. The entire bible, all 66 books, 1189 chapters, 31102 verses, all of them tell us something about God – something about His character, His nature, His actions, His interactions, His laws, His grace, His mercy, His TRUTH.  There is no excuse.

Jesus certainly is knowable.  He’s as knowable as your mom.  As real as your mom.

And He’s so much more than your mom.

He’s God.

John 14:6 (ESV) (6) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Do you believe that?  Because if you do, if you truly do, it should affect you to your core.  Does it?

You know your mom well.  You should know Jesus better.  Do you?

If not, there’s this one book…