We have all wanted healing, for ourselves, or for someone we love. Reading the stories about Jesus’ healing miracles (and there are 27 of them, told multiple times) makes us think, “I sure wish Jesus would do that today.” Or where was Jesus when any number of the people we loved and lost died?
If Jesus can heal, why doesn’t he heal the person I love more than anyone in the world?
If miracles are real, why did that person get them, but not my spouse or my parent or my child?
If 1. Miracles are real and 2. Healing is a miracle Jesus did and 3. Jesus loves us then where is our miracle? We long for them. We yearn for healing. We go searching for them. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who will take advantage of us when we do.
There are a lots of “Christian” teachings out there that want you to believe that no one needs to be sick if they’ll just believe. The most popular teaching about miracles today is that they’re for sale. That healing can be bought by a certain number of prayers or faithful acts or even by sending in money to a preacher on television. One of the Copeland’s even got a tweet on the front page this week for saying that the flu can’t affect true Christians.
But that’s not the way that miracles work.
That’s not what healing really means.
So before we read any further in Everything Jesus Taught, we need to know how to interpret all the healings that Jesus did, and how to interpret life with all its fragility, today.
In this post, I want to share one important Bible study principal with you. This is the key to understanding the healings in Jesus’ life and teaching.
On the podcast that Dave and I have been doing each Monday, we were talking about how what we watch on television gets into our heads and affects what we do.
This seems to be especially true with reality television.
For example, if we watch home improvement shows Dave and I start taking down walls in our house.
When we watch traveling shows we start planning a trip.
Once Dave and I binge-watched an entire season of American Ninja Warrior. That’s the one where people compete on these intense obstacle courses after training for years to prepare. A few episodes in,I decided I was, in fact, a future ninja warrior and started doing push ups on the commercials and jogging in place.
But then we took a break from ninja warrior to watch the Great British Baking Show. A few episodes into that one I was making a layered chocolate cake in the kitchen with raspberries on top and talking about its “crumb.”
(I realize that the baking show and the ninja warrior competition don’t create complementary goals for my life. So I’m going with the cake.)
Whatever we are watching tends to affect what we talk about, think about.Or, in other words:
For all of the things we may hate about the internet, there is one thing I think we can all agree is truly fantastic…Stories and pictures of interspecies friendships.
Cats and dogs napping together.
An elephant and a black lab playing.
A gorilla cuddling a kitten.
One of these stories recently caught my eye because it seemed so unlikely. The two species weren’t just uncommon together. They were enemies. Predator and prey. At the Primorsky Safari Park in Russia there is a Siberian tiger named Amur. Twice a week they throw in a live goat for Amur to eat. And every time, he quickly pounces on the goat and devours him.
Way before I was a pastor, before seminary and serving churches and ordination, I was a volunteer with the youth group. Dave and I both were, and we worked with the youth group every week, helping to lead games or give a talk or sing songs with them. Then the time came to plan for the middle school summer trip. The trip was scheduled for just 3 days after we would return from our honeymoon, 2 weeks after our wedding. This particular year, we were doing the 8th grade plunge, which involved about 15 eighth graders and 4 leaders sleeping under tarps and going to the bathroom in the woods for a week.
I can probably think of a more romantic way to have started our married life together.
But off we went as newly weds to help that group of eighth graders learn to love Jesus, even though it didn’t involve flush toilets or electricity or even tents.When we left for the trip I had been camping maybe twice in my whole life. But there we were, out in the woods of Tennessee. Just us, a sleeping bag, and a tarp.
And I. Was. Terrified.
It was all so …. naturey.But then, to really take it up a notch, we not only camped but did high adventure wilderness activities, everyday. One day, we hiked several miles into the woods. Another day we went deep into the depths of a natural cave, moving through tunnels way underground. And then, on the last day, we set off to go white water rafting.