Clergy View: Jesus awakens faith
“And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.” (Matt. 8:14,15)
Jesus did many miracles, including the healing of the sick, giving sight to the blind, and allowing the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, and many other deeds. The purpose of these miracles was to awaken people to believe that he truly is the Son of God. When people saw the miracles that Jesus did, many believed. These miracles often involved people who were sick, handicapped or physically in need of care. Jesus was once approached by two blind men, desiring to receive their sight. They cried unto him: Thou son of David, have mercy on us...Jesus said unto them, ‘Believe ye that I am able to do this?’ They said unto him, ‘Yea, Lord.’ He touched their eyes, saying, ’According to your faith be it unto you.’ And their eyes were opened. (Matt. 9:27-30) Scriptures relate that without faith, it is impossible to please God.
In this gospel text, Jesus enters Peter’s home, and sees Peter’s mother-in-law lying sick with a great fever. The physicians of Jesus’ time would often prescribe medication or a healing ointment to help heal a sickness. Today’s physicians also prescribe medications to help heal. Now, Jesus comes into Peter’s home to serve as the greatest physician. He heals through his word. His word becomes the best medication and faith in his word allows one to be healed. Jesus has taught that they which are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. Jesus stretches his hand forth to touch the hand of Peter’s mother-in-law and the fever leaves her and she arises and ministers unto them.
Healing is a picture of God’s grace and love toward mankind, while sickness portrays a spiritual condition of sin. Sickness can also awaken the need for God’s grace. People who become sick or are near death, may reflect upon the events of life and their own soul's condition before the face of God. Scriptures teach that we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. It would seem important that a person in this lifetime could find God’s grace kingdom on this earth, where is proclaimed the forgiveness of sins through the merits of Jesus Christ.
The outstretched hand of Jesus is an invitation to believe and become healed. Prophet Isaiah said: ”Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. (Isa. 59:1-2) In today’s society, one is surrounded by many evil forces and forms of ungodly life. People are often restless and burdened with their own sins. Many do not know which way to turn for help in their distress. However, there is a place of refuge in the midst of all this evilness. Jesus has taught to seek first for the kingdom of God and its righteousness. There, one can hear the voice of the good shepherd: ‘Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee.’ Jesus still desires to awaken faith in the hearts of men. This is God’s great gift to mankind. Apostle Paul writes: ”For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. (Eph. 2:8)
Howard Parks is pastor of Brainerd Laestadian Lutheran Church.