We’re learning in this series that we are not in control of our lives, but in all things God works. This week we will learn that God is at work in healing.
When Jesus began his public ministry, he became a teacher and healer. Jesus is our healer today.
So what do you need healing from?
Do you need healing from a broken heart or a broken relationship?
Do you need healing from a failure that weighs you down?
Do you need healing from guilt or shame?
Do you need healing from being abused or neglected?
Do you need healing from a bad choice you made?
Do you need healing because you’ve suffered a great loss?
Do you need healing in your body?
Do you need healing in your mind?
Do you need healing in your heart?
This message is about the power Jesus has to bring healing in our lives.
Full Sermon Script:
I’m so glad you decided to join us today. I want to say hi to those who are joining us online.
We’re in a series called — “In all things… God works.”
We’re looking at the reality that a lot of things happen in our lives that are out of our control.
We looked last week at this classic statement from the apostle Paul. And I asked that we would all live with this statement throughout this series.
The idea is we can memorize this statement so that we take it with us every day and it just becomes part of who we are.
Let’s say it together out loud.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. Romans 8:28
We said all things happen to people whether we believe in God or not. We all live in the same world.
Sometimes things don’t work out the way we want, but God is at work in all those things. That’s the good news — He’s working for the good.
That doesn’t mean I get whatever good circumstance I want.
That means God wants to do good things in my character to produce the character of Jesus in me — God wants to use good circumstances and God wants to use bad circumstances to produce good things IN me.
And we can know this. We don’t just guess it or hope it. We can actually live in this knowledge.
In this series, I want us to learn how to find that “in all things” — in all of the things of our lives from one moment to the next — “God is at work.”
Today we’re going to be talking about a very important way that God is at work.
This is something God gives us that we cannot control, and that is —
God is at work in healing.
Some time ago, I was doing chores around the house that involved a hammer, and I accidentally hammered my thumb as hard as I could.
Immediately, my body began this incredible series of responses.
Through a process called nociception, my body sent tremendous pain signals to my brain, saying, “Stop hitting yourself with the hammer.”
Then little platelets traveled to the area where the wound was… and they began the clotting process. That both stops the bleeding and keeps infection from getting into the body.
Then in the next phase, something called polymorphonuclear neutrophils flooded into that area. I practiced saying that all week.
They began to eat the bacteria up. They did that for a couple of days. They were like the heroes.
Then something else called macrophages came like little Pacmen and began to eat them.
Then there was a final phase of healing that’s actually called the remodeling phase where new tissue replaces old tissue.
What’s astounding about all of this is — my body did all of this… but I don’t even understand it. Somehow, my body did it. I didn’t do it.
You see, God is at work in healing.
I learned two great lessons through this process.
One of them is — never do chores around the house involving a hammer… or really any chores at all… because something could happen that would prevent me from being here with you.
I love to do chores, but I told my wife I need to not do something that would potentially rob you of my presence.
That was one lesson.
The other one is that God is at work in the healing process. It’s not under my control.
It’s not always what I want.
It’s not always when I want it.
It’s not always how I want it.
Sometimes I’m left with scars. Sometimes I’m left with a limp.
It’s an amazing thing about our world — God is at work in healing.
But not just in our bodies.
I was having lunch with a firefighter recently. He was talking about how we can go through parts of the earth where there have been tremendous fires, and everything is ugly and charred… but then there’s a little miracle — little green sprouts start to shoot up all over the place.
I learned a while ago that giant sequoia trees have in their pinecones seeds that will release new life, new trees — only if there’s a tremendous fire.
It’s like God has built healing into the way the earth works.
God is at work in healing.
The people of Israel a long time ago came to believe this says something real significant about the kind of person God is.
One of the ways you can divide up the human race is — you’re either a saver or a thrower.
If something breaks down, and you’re a thrower, you just get rid of it.
Every marriage generally has one of each.
Some time ago, our oldest daughter got fish that she keeps in her room.
One day a fish appeared to be lifeless near the top of the water.
My wife said to me, “I don’t think this fish is doing well.” I immediately said, “Let’s get rid of it. We’ll get a new one before she gets home from school.”
There was a table that had been in Kathy’s family for a long time. It was a small beat up table that didn’t really fit in our house anywhere.
My wife said to me, “Can we store this in the garage somewhere?” I said, “Let’s just get rid of it.”
My wife doesn’t ask me about things like this anymore because she knows which category I fit in.
In Israel, they came to believe — God is a saver.
When God makes things, and they break down, he wants to save them.
And that’s makes God a healer.
God is at work in healing.
Israel would express this in the most amazing ways that I want us to live with today.
God says to Israel:
You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt and how I carried you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself. Exodus 19:4
They love this — this is a beautiful picture.
If a mom has a little baby eagle, and it’s too little to fly, or its wing gets broken, it will tuck that little eagle into her great big wings and fly with her.
This has become an important image of God’s protection and God’s healing.
This is from the writer of Psalms.
Under his wings you will find refuge. Psalm 91:4
Our God is a healer.
The word for wing in Hebrew — like under God’s wing — is the word kanaph.
It’s also the word used for the corner of a garment.
A devout Jewish rabbi would wear a prayer shawl. They still do. At the bottom of the prayer shawl would be tassels — all kinds of tassels that would remind them of the commandments of God… because those commandments were something that offered them the protection and the healing of God.
Rabbis would eventually come to talk about how, “We obey these commandments because they exist for the healing of the world.”
That corner of those prayer shawls was called the kanaph.
Over time, a wonderful tradition was born in Israel —
Unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings. Malachi 4:2
Over time, there arose this idea in Israel that when the Messiah would come, and in his kanaph — in his prayer shawl… in the corners of his garment — there would be healing in his wings.
In December we sing a Christmas carol — “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”
One of the lines is, “Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings.”
God is at work in healing.
They believed this in Israel.
Every once in a while, God would act in remarkable ways, and there would be miracles — healings.
They’re not spread at random throughout the Bible, but periodically, especially in an important era when God was going to reveal something about his kingdom —
a king named Hezekiah receives healing.
a man who’s not even from Israel named Naaman is healed of leprosy.
God is at work in healing.
One day, a rabbi named Jesus entered the world. He was a teacher… but he was also a healer.
Healing was fundamental to his ministry because he was giving a foretaste of what God was going to do when God finally heals the world.
This is his story.
A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. Mark 5:25-26
A large crowd followed and pressed around him [Jesus]. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had [on those doctors], yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
This gives us a peak behind the scenes of the gospel writers for a moment.
This is the gospel of Mark. This story is told in three of the four gospels.
Luke also tells this story, but when Luke tells this story (you can look it up sometime later), he leaves out the part about this woman suffering a great deal under the care of many doctors. Luke leaves out the part about her spending all of her money on doctors.
Does anyone know what Luke did for a profession? He was a doctor.
He just decided, “No, I don’t like that part,” so he left that part out.
Imagine being this woman. 12 years —
She suffers physically from anemia.
She’s weak, no energy.
She suffers financially.
She’s lost all of her money. Everything is gone.
She’s maybe a beggar now.
She suffers spiritually.
The law in the Old Testament was very clear about this.
If she was in a state where there was a constant problem of bleeding…
That meant she was unclean.
That meant anyone she touched was unclean.
That meant the bed where she slept was unclean.
The chair on which she sat was unclean. If you sat on that chair, you would become unclean.
There was a stigma attached to uncleanness.
She would have heard all the dumb things people say to someone who is suffering —
“If you just had enough faith, you wouldn’t suffer.
“You must have sinned. You must have done something wrong.
“God must be displeased with you for something.
She had to live with that for 12 years.
Maybe she was a mom. Most women were. That would mean she could not touch her children. If she did, they would be considered unclean.
Imagine never being able to tuck your kids into bed at night.
Never being able to give them a hug.
Never giving them the care a mother longs to provide.
If a little child falls and scrapes a knee, that child will always bring that knee to their mom. What do they want their mommy to do? Kiss it to make it better.
She can’t do that. If she does, she would make them unclean.
There’s a good chance she’s married. Her husband could not touch her, or else he would be considered unclean. Maybe by now she’s lost her marriage.
I imagine every night before she goes to sleep, she prays, “God, heal me.”
Every morning, when she wakes up (some of you know what that’s like), she thinks, “Maybe today.”
And every day, she realizes, “It’s not going to happen today.”
Then she hears about this rabbi, Jesus — this healer who’s coming.
When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Mark 5:27-28
She gets this crazy idea. She hears that a healer is coming, and she thinks, “If I can just touch him, I might be healed.”
Kind of a loose association. There was a woman in the early days of television who was always coming up with crazy ideas. Her name was Lucy.
Did anyone here ever watch “I Love Lucy?”
Any time a celebrity or well-known person came into her world, she would get some harebrained idea. She would disguise herself or do something sneaky to get to be with that person without her husband finding out.
Of course, Ricky always found out… and Ricky would always say the same thing to her —
“Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do.”
Well, this woman (we might call her Lucy) gets this crazy idea — “I’m going to track Jesus down and get some healing.”
She approaches Jesus because she was bold, but she approached him from behind.
All three gospel writers include this detail in the story — she came up to him from behind… because she was afraid.
She said, “If I just touch him.”
Touching is something that we often do with someone when we want something from them.
There’s a church that has all of their welcome team members where the same t-shirt, and on the back of the t-shirt is a little patch that says, “Tap here if I can help.”
Initially they put in on the shirt to be kind of funny, but it ends up people are getting tapped all the time, sometimes just to find out, “How can you help me?”
There’s just something about touching someone.
If you get bored during this message, just start tapping the person next to you and see what happens.
This woman gets this idea and says, “If I can just touch his clothes…”
Why does that thought occur to her?
You see, it’s not just clothes. It’s the corner of his garment, it’s the corner of his prayer shawl, of his kanaph.
You see, it may well be that this woman is thinking — out of everyone in Israel, she’s the only one who gets it —
“This is the one we’ve been waiting for with healing in his wings. If I could just touch his kanaph, if I could just touch the corner of his garment…”
She looks at Jesus and on his prayer shawl she sees this little patch that says, “Tap here if I can help,” and she does.
It’s an amazing story.
Then we read:
Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. Mark 5:29
There is this unbelievable, electric moment.
This is what it feels like to be normal.
This is what it feels like to be whole.
This is what it feels like to be well.
She thought, “I got what I came for. I got healing from Jesus. That’s the end of the story.”
But it’s not —
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. Mark 5:30-33
It’s an incredible story.
We see with Jesus both his remarkable power… but also his humanity.
Healing strength goes out from him, and he knows it’s from God, but he’s also human — he doesn’t know who got it.
So he says, “Who touched me?”
The disciples go, “You’re kidding me. There are people all around you touching you. What are you talking about?”
Jesus knows someone in the crowd knows what he’s talking about.
He looks around… and one woman knows what he’s talking about.
She looks at Jesus, and Jesus looks at her.
And Jesus says, “Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do.”
She falls at his feet.
She’s scared to death because she broke the law.
She made Jesus unclean.
Then there’s this remarkable phrase — “She told him the whole truth.”
I would love to have been there for that.
That little word whole — she told him the “whole” truth.
I just want to say for anyone here who needs healing —
We’re going to have a time available after this message for anyone who wants healing in any way.
But you need to understand this — you don’t really get healing with Jesus without bringing the whole truth.
This woman just falls at his feet.
She just pours out the whole truth to him, whatever it is for her —
Jesus, I gave up so long ago.
I didn’t have enough faith.
I didn’t really believe.
I didn’t pray like I should have.
I haven’t been the kind of mom I know I should.
I have no money at all.
I feel like such a failure physically.
I feel like such a failure financially.
I feel like such a failure spiritually.
Then she waits. And she’s terrified because she doesn’t know what’s going to happen.
She broke the law — she made him unclean, and he’s a rabbi. What’s he going to do?
She’s shaking in fear.
Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:34
Jesus said to her, “Daughter…” No one has called her “daughter” for a long time. “…your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
When he says “daughter,” he means she’s a daughter of Israel. That mean’s she’s a daughter of God.
I was wondering as I was reading through this story, why does Jesus do that?
The woman got healing. That’s what she wanted.
She was suffering… and she got healing. She got what she was looking for.
Why does he embarrass her? Why does he make her talk with him face to face in front of the crowd?
I believe it’s because Jesus wants her to have more than just a physical healing. He wants her to know the Healer.
And he wants to know this woman.
Something inside Jesus says, “This is the kind of woman I want to get to know.”
You know something — with Jesus, it’s okay to not be okay.
With Jesus… that means here in this room. That means for us. That means at our church — it’s okay to not be okay.
You don’t have to be okay.
In fact, Jesus kind of specializes in people who are not okay.
In fact, people who think they’re okay don’t always connect well with Jesus.
Okay, let’s go back to the story.
It began with a wealthy synagogue leader named Jairus coming and asking Jesus if Jesus would heal someone in Jairus’ household.
So they’re on their way, and that’s when they got interrupted by this woman, this anonymous woman.
This actually happens fairly often in the gospels.
A Side note here.
Mark will do this quite a bit in the gospel of Mark — he’ll have one story happening inside of another story.
It’s sometimes called a Markan Sandwich.
In Luke, we might call this episode a Lukan Twinkie.
No? No Twinkie fans here?
It’s that surprising white, creamy, wonderful filling on the inside that makes the golden, spongy outside good. My father-in-law was a big Twinkie fan. I’m sure he would appreciate that.
Anyway, with a story like this, we have to ask, “Why are these two stories set together? What’s the relationship between them?”
And that’s when we understand not just each story by itself but something much more beautiful and deeper and surprising about Jesus that the gospel writers want us to know.
Here, it’s the contrast between the two:
Jairus gets there first. By this time, Jairus is probably thinking, “Hey lady, take a number. I was here before you.”
He’s a man.
His name is Jairus.
He has money… because he has servants.
He has status.
He’s a leader in the synagogue.
On the other hand, in the second story, we have a woman. We don’t even know her name.
She has no status at all.
She has no money. We know she’s given away everything she had to the doctors.
She is considered unclean.
Jairus is a somebody.
And this anonymous woman is a nobody.
Jesus interrupts the somebody to be with a nobody.
You see, what the writer of scripture is trying to tell us is — with Jesus, nobodies become somebodies. With Jesus, the first become the last and the last become the first.
That’s why we have this fabulous story where he’s going to help Jairus. Jairus is a somebody. Everybody expects that.
Then he helps this woman — she’s a nobody.
In the kingdom, nobodies become somebodies.
In the kingdom, nobody is a nobody.
In the kingdom, you are NOT a nobody.
I don’t know what you need healing for.
I don’t know how long you’ve needed healing.
I don’t know what’s going on in your life.
I just know this — God is at work in healing.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. Romans 8:28
As we get ready in this service to go to God for healing, I just want to ask you…
Where do you need healing?
Where do you need God to touch you?
Our God is a healing God.
I want you to hear a story about God healing a relationship between a mother and her son who is autistic. Sarah is the mother. She came to faith about a year ago and God has been moving powerfully in her life. This is how God is healing her son Max.
— Video: Sarah Teo —
I’m telling you our God is a God who heals.
If we had time, I could tell you many healing stories from my life. I’m sure many of us in this room could tell you how God has healed us.
J. R. R. Tolkien, the guy who wrote the Lord of the Rings books, loved the idea that God is a healer. Tolkien was a Christ-follower.
If you ever read his work, you know the image of wounding and scars — over and over again, this image of a wound that needs to be healed surfaces in his stories.
I love this line from Tolkien. Tolkien says, “For it is said in old lore, ‘The hands of the king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known.’”
The hands of the king are the hands of a healer.
Tolkien writes about how in the ancient world, it was thought that the kings had the power to heal — always because of their power, because of their greatness, because of their strength — except for one King… risen with healing in his wings.
He does not heal out of his strength.
For he took up our pain and bore our suffering.
The punishment that brought us peace was on him.
By his wounds, we are healed.
By the head that bore a crown of thorns and bled.
By the back that bore a splintered cross.
By a side that was pierced with a sword till the blood and water gushed out.
By hands that had nails driven through them.
The hands of the King are the hands of the Healer.
God is at work through healing.
We’re not in control of our lives. We’re not in control of anything, but God is at work in all things, and he wants to heal.
Here’s my question for you today. Where do you need healing?
What we’re going to do in just a moment when I’m through talking, there will be some music playing, and we’ll be singing together… and there will be other people standing around the parameter of the room, some with the gift of healing.
If you want, you can just slip out of your row while we’re all singing. We would love to pray for healing for you.
If you’re watching online, you can text the word prayer to the number on the screen and we will give you a call this week to pray for you.
Maybe you need healing of a broken heart or from a broken relationship or because you have suffered a really, really bad loss.
Maybe there’s a failure that just weighs on you, and you’ve never been willing to tell the whole truth, so you carry it in secret, and it just keeps getting heavier.
Maybe there’s guilt. Maybe there’s shame. Maybe there was an abortion or there was an affair.
Maybe you’ve been abused. Maybe you were neglected. Maybe you got fired.
Maybe you feel like you’re doing so badly in something. Maybe you’re a parent, and you feel like, “I’m such a failure as a mom or a dad. I can’t touch my child, and I want to,” or, “I can’t reach my mom or my dad.”
We’re just going to have a healing time in here today.
The band is going to be playing a song, and I’m just going to invite anyone who wants to come forward.
I know it’s kind of different. I know we don’t usually do stuff like this, but this is just going to be a time where if you want to come, there will be a number of us around the room.
Just name the whole truth before God. Have someone lay hands on you and pray for healing.
I know some of you will be thinking, “I can’t do that because if I do that, other people will see me, and they will think I’m not perfect.”
Listen, they already know you’re not perfect.
This is not a place where we cheer on perfect people. This is a place where we cheer on imperfect people who bring their imperfections and neediness to God.
And we’re going to pray for you because we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.
We know the rightful King because there is healing in his wings.
Let’s pray now and then when the band begins to play, please come up to one of us standing around the room for prayer. We want to pray for healing for you.