Healing—gift or reward? - Hope 103.2

Healing—gift or reward?

By David ReayWednesday 23 Apr 2014LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Matthew 8:5-13

5-6 Then as he was coming into Capernaum a centurion approached. “Sir,” he implored him,”my servant is in bed at home paralysed and in dreadful pain.”

7 “I will come and heal him,” said Jesus to him.

8-9 “Sir,” replied the centurion,”I’m not important enough for you to come under my roof. Just give the order,please,and my servant will recover. I’m a man under authority myself,and I have soldiers under me. I can say to one man ‘Go’ and I know he’ll go,or I can say ‘Come here’ to another and I know he’ll come-or I can say to my slave ‘Do this’ and he’ll always do it.”

10-12 When Jesus heard this,he was astonished. “Believe me,” he said to those who were following him,”I have never found faith like this,even in Israel! I tell you that many people will come from east and west and sit at my table with Abraham,Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven. But those who should have belonged to the kingdom will be banished to the darkness outside,where there will be tears and bitter regret.”

13 Then he said to the centurion,”Go home now,and everything will happen as you have believed it will.” And his servant was healed at that actual moment. (JBP)

We can sometimes spend lots of time and energy trying to make ourselves worthy of God’s help. God is busily knocking to gain entry to our lives while we are too busy trying to tidy ourselves up to let him in. We reckon we need to clean up our act before inviting God to clean us up. A bit like people who pay others to clean their house but rush around madly making sure the house is clean for the cleaners!

When it comes to asking Jesus to heal us,we do well to recognise that the people he healed in his ministry were not in and of themselves ‘worthy’ of healing. A non-Jewish woman,a nervous non-descript woman,a self-aware centurion-all approached Jesus from a standpoint of humility. No arrogant demands,insisting divine power be used to overcome some pain or discomfort. Just a desperate seeking after grace. Of course we do exercise faith,but we dare not quantify that faith: a mustard seed will do.

To try to be worthy of healing,to vainly attempt to summons up greater faith,to make demands as if Jesus exists to smooth our way through life-these are futile and mistaken. When Jesus chooses to heal,he does so not to reward us for our faith or our dedication. His response to us is always out of grace. A gift rather than a reward.

David Reay

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