Kathryn Kuhlman was a “faith healer” (she hated that title as the Youtube clip shows), a Presbyterian who lived in Pittsburgh during the middle part of the last century. She was loved by some and distrusted by others. She had a habit of showing up on stage in a slinky black dress with see-through sleeves and acting in dramatic ways. But the fact is people were healed during her services. Really. I know one quite well. The sad fact is that not all got healed and no one, especially Kathryn, knew why. She never pretended to be the healer, only a conduit. She lived in a fine home surrounded by a security fence and additional security, knowing that she was continually a possible target of one who didn’t get healed
In a way, all of our Scripture readings today deal with things that lead to health—be it personal or national. Look for this theme as you read our four lessons.
Our “second” guest blogger today is Rev. Mike Mullin. A retired pastor, he and his wife Elaine split their time living in Cincinnati, Ohio and the Colorado mountains. Thanks Mike for pitching in today! He contributed to the February 1 post.
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Numbers 33:40-56. Were you struck by the precise detail of the camping places? In his book, Why I Believe the late D. James Kennedy notes that archaeology has not once uncovered contradiction of the biblical record. Just a thought.
The command in verses 51-56 seems harsh, but is it? The Canaanites could note how God has preserved Israel and turn to him. They haven’t. God knows how easily we can be corrupted and Israel has demonstrated their tenuous trust. This command demonstrates God’s sovereignty over all mankind, and his judgment of those who fail to receive him.
Luke 5:12-16. We have noted before that leprosy could be a variety of skin conditions. Here Luke, the physician, uses a medical term describing the extent of this man’s ailment.
In verse 14, Jesus sent the healed leper to the priest. Going to the priest accomplished several things. It fulfilled the law and verified that the man was healed so he could be released by the priest into society. It was also testimony to the ministry of Jesus.
Luke 5:17-28. The famous hole-in-the-roof story. Pharisees are present. Their name means “separated ones.” Many scholars believe Jesus leaned toward the Pharisees and his battles with them were like family squabbles. But the Pharisees just didn’t get it. Here Jesus takes the opportunity to speak directly to the legalism of the Pharisees, and to demonstrate that he is God among them.
Read verse 26 carefully. If the Pharisees didn’t believe Jesus was God at least they were filled with awe!
Psalm 65. The NIV Study Bible notes describe this psalm as:
A hymn of praise of God’s great goodness to his people. In answer to their prayers (1) he pardons their sins so that they continue to enjoy the “good things” of fellowship with him at his temple (3-4); (2) he orders the affairs of the world so that international turbulence is put to rest and Israel is secure in her land (vv 5-8); and (3) he turns the promised land in at veritable Garden of Eden (vv 9-13).
Is this a kind of healing?
Proverbs 11:23. Advice on how to stay healthy?
This proverb predates Paul’s advice to the Philippian Church but he may have gotten the wisdom here: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8)
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
I have always been fascinated by miracles. I thought it would be great fun to be able to heal the sick. Graciously, once in a while, God does permit me to know the unrevealed truth or to be present for a healing but he has brought me much further.
Reading about Israel questioning every step in the wilderness and often failing to see how God was teaching and guiding and protecting them is like looking in a mirror. I’m that way, too! Ouch! Jesus performed miracles because he demonstrated great love for those considered sinful since they were afflicted. And he performed miracles to demonstrate that he, Jesus, a man from Nazareth whose mother is Mary, is Emmanuel, God with us.
The Apostles’ Creed, apparently an early baptismal confession, never mentions the teachings or miracles of Jesus. We are to see HIM. The Pharisees were in awe, but still they didn’t see God who can as easily tell a crippled man to walk as he can forgive his sin.
None of us are called to be Jesus. We are called to be like him, however. He spent long hours alone to pray. So should we. He was God’s man on earth, come in flesh and blood. Have you ever considered how difficult it would be if you were God in flesh to reveal your true identity? In mental hospitals I have met Jesus and even God himself! See where indiscriminate claims to greatness got them. Jesus was very wise in his self-revelation. He often used miracles to reveal himself.
At every miracle there were some who got it. Most of the influential never got it.
- Did today’s reading expand your faith?
- Have you ever been a conduit for God’s power?
- What is the greatest healing one can experience?
- Is thinking good thoughts part of your spiritual discipline?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.