So what's the big deal? Why the emphasis on healing?
It's simple, really. I've been reading in the Gospels and Acts a lot lately, and do you know the number one reason that persons came to Jesus and to the apostles? It wasn't to hear a fantastic message. It wasn't to hear Him/them stick it to the Pharisees. It wasn't to get miraculous bread broken into thousands of pieces. It wasn't to figure out how to live a good life, or even how to live a great life, or to inquire about the nature of the law and the covenant.
They didn't come for programs and potlucks. They didn't come for youth groups or Bible studies. They didn't come for mission trips and outreach. They didn't come for social standing or something good to put on their resumes.
The number one reason that persons in the Bible came to Jesus and to the apostles was to be healed.
Look at it. The Gospels are overwhelmingly healing-centered. Acts has healings scattered quite through it. What the people wanted more than anything else in all the world was to be healed by God.
Not any more.
There are a lot of reasons that persons come to church today. There are a lot of reasons that we read our Bibles, pray, fellowship, worship, whatever. There are a lot of reasons that we get involved in the stuff that our churches are doing, and our churches are doing a lot of good stuff.
But we're not healing persons.
We're not healing them, and they no longer expect us to. It's not what they're coming for.
Do you realize the magnitude of this? We have, somehow, in just a short 2,000 years, taken the thing that Jesus did most often...and stopped doing it. We have taken what He was known for...and made Him all about other things. Ask someone who walks into your church for the first time this week what Jesus does, and they'll tell you - I don't know. Like Heaven and stuff?
Ask a Christian what Jesus does, and they'll tell you - He redeems us.
He redeems us! That's what we think Jesus is about. That's what we've made central to His being.
Jesus came, lived, died, and lived again so that after you've put in your time in this horrible, terrible, crappy life that never gets any better, you can go to Heaven and forget about it. Jesus came, lived, died, and lived again so that your horrible, terrible, crappy life would mean something once it's over. I don't buy it. Not only do I not buy it; I don't see it. I don't see one example of a person in the Gospels running up to Jesus, or the apostles, and saying, "Lord! Please tell me that after I die, my life will have meaning!"
No! They're running up to Him crying, "Lord, heal me!"
And He does.
Do you get that? He heals them. Not only does He heal them, but He heals the next guy, too. And the next one. And the next one. And the next one.
We are surrounded by persons who need Jesus. Not because they need to have eternal salvation or go to Heaven or repent of their sins or whatever, but because they need healed. And we're not healing them.
Worse still, we're not giving them a Jesus who does, either.