There was this little old broken down church in a broken
down part of town with only a handful of broken down
people left in it. One Wednesday night prayer meeting
they were especially dismayed. They prayed,
“Lord, you know we’re too old and too weak to
go out there, into the streets with your gospel.
If you want us to serve you here bring to us
some people who need the gospel.”
The prayer was answered. Sunday morning as they gathered
for their dry little service people started coming in off
the street. That first Sunday there must have been fifty
of them. But the weird thing about it was that every
single one of the newcomers was sick.
- Some were on crutches,
- Some were talking to themselves,
- Some could hardly breathe,
- Some were drunk.
It looked like the emergency room of the city hospital.
“How can we preach the gospel to these wrecks,
Lord? They’re too sick!”
A prophecy came forth in the meeting for the first time
in ten years.....
“How can we heal them, Lord?” said the Christ-
ians, “we’re too sick ourselves!”
Then an old man with Parkinson’s disease who had been
going to that church for years stood up, his body
shaking so violently it was a wonder it didn’t fly
apart, and he prayed,
“Lord, manifest your love to these friends who
have come to us today.”
Suddenly there was shouting in the back of the church.
“Thank you, Lord! I can see!”
“Thank you, Lord! I can walk again!”
“Thank you for giving me back my mind!”
When the service was over the little old man with
Parkinson’s disease was still shaking, but there wasn’t
a more joyful man in all the world than this trembling...
servant of God.
As the weeks passed more and more sick people kept
pouring into that place and found healing... and many
of those who found healing opened their hearts to the
healer and entered the kingdom of God -- and the little
old man with Parkinson’s disease kept right on shaking.
You could say that the platform from which the gospel
of Jesus Christ is proclaimed with power is the plat-
form of healing. There has to be some evidence that
the river of mercy which started flowing on this
earth at Calvary is still flowing. The call to proclaim
the gospel is always a call also to heal. We’ve
been ordained to a healing ministry just as surely as
we’ve been sent to preach that gospel....but we tend
to hold a shallow view of what this ministry involves
and what it costs.
We look at the successful American physician with his
status in the world, his power to make things happen
“We’ll operate day after tomorrow at 8:OO”.....
his fabulous income. Or, perhaps we can look at men
and women who have notable healing ministries and how
the crowds are always waiting at the door of the
auditorium hours before the meeting begins. And then
we look at ourselves....bogged down with problems.
- Problems in our
- Problems in our
- Problems in our
bodies, and even in our heads.
We may look normal enough on the outside, but inside
we’re so weighed down we can’t even swim to the top of
our own mess much less help anyone else’s mess.
How can I even begin to think about exercising a ministry
of healing and help for others until I get this pain
out of my own life? And so we wallow in our unhappiness
and dream about the things we would like to do if
ever this load is lifted from us enough to be able to
help someone else.
But a valid ministry of healing in the name of Jesus
bears no similarity whatsoever to the career of a
successful surgeon or that of a celebrated healing
evangelist. The model we have to look at is Jesus....
and when we look at Jesus what do we see?
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been
brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as
his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he
stood up to read; and there was given to him
the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened
the book and found the place where it was
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to preach
good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
And he closed the book, and gave it back to
the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of
all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And
he began to say to them, “Today this scripture
has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And all
spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious
words which proceeded out of his mouth; and
they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” And
said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to
me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself;’....
That’s how his ministry began....and this is how it
And those who passed by derided him, wagging
their heads and saying, “You who would destroy
the temple and build it in three days, save
yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down
from the cross.” So also the chief priests,
with the scribes and elders, mocked him,
saying, “He saved others; he cannot save him-
self. He is the King of Israel; let him come
down now from the cross, and we will believe
in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him
now, if he desires him; for he said, ‘I am the
Son of God.'” Matthew 27:39-43
....despised and rejected of men. A man of sorrows and
acquainted with grief. Who, when he got to the real
moment of healing for the world....broke the curse
through his own agony and death, received no thanks or
applause. All the world could say was,
But it was this apparent defeat and all the pain and
loneliness and disgrace that went with it which opened
the healing fountain for us and for the world.
The fact that we’re burdened with problems hurting in
our own souls will never hinder us from healing others
in the name of Jesus. In fact, these wounds within us
may be just what we need to be effective.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
to show that the transcendent power belongs to
God and not to us. We are afflicted in every
way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not
driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken;
struck down, but not destroyed; always
carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so
that the life of Jesus may also be manifested
in our bodies. For while we live we are always
being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so
that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our
mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but
life in you. II Corinthians 4:7-12
Of course the sin in our lives that God has put his
finger on has to go.
- The grudges we’ve been holding,
- The fantasies of self-pity or lust or revenge,
- The covetousness which keeps perverting us
takers instead of givers,
....these things have to go.
But the wounds,
the pain, the things we have thought of as signs of
defeat, these can be turned into the very means by which
life flows to others.
For while we live we are always being given up
to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of
Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So
death is at work in us, but life in you.
Each of us, individually and all of us as a body have
been called to a healing ministry. And the basis of
our healing power is the cross... the place where God
the Son was hung up to die in weakness,
Every healing Jesus ever performed came from that cross.
And every healing that has ever taken place since, in
his name, comes from that cross.
But we have to touch that cross of Jesus not just with
our intellect. We have to touch it with our life. And
the place where our life touches the cross of Jesus is
the place where we are weak,
where we hurt.
- These weak
spots in our lives,
afflictions, hardships, and calamities,
things that keep us low,
...are the doorway to blazing communion with
the crucified God.
And to keep me from being too elated by the
abundance of revelations, a thorn was given
me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to
harass me, to keep me from being too elated.
Three times I besought the Lord about this,
that it should leave me; but he said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power
is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the
more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the
power of Christ may rest upon me. For the
sake of Christ, then, I am content with weak-
nesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and
calamities; for when I am weak, then I am
II Corinthians 12:7-10
This weakness in my life drives me to the Master, and in
a mystery I come forth with healing life for others. This
pain in my soul (or in my body) brings me down into
fellowship with the afflicted of this earth and helps me
to be the living link between their pain and the Lamb
who bears away their sickness and sin.
Until this sorrow came I was comfortable and blind.
now I have some idea of the sorrow that afflicts this
race. The sorrow in my own heart drives me to God for
comfort and in a mystery gives me power to comfort other
hearts... to heal them through the wounds and sorrows of
Calvary which have now become part of my own life. This
frustration that once drove me out of my mind has now
become the death of Jesus dwelling in my mortal flesh...
the very power of Calvary by which I can set others free.
Until the Lord comes back every one of us who follows
Jesus will have a wounded thigh like Jacob,
a thorn in the flesh like Paul ---
something that limits us,
holds us down,
keeps us weak.
And we have a choice:
- We can spend our lives wallowing in this
using it as the excuse for wrapping the gifts
has given us in a napkin and doing nothing
- We can take this thing which keeps us nailed
to the cross of Jesus and make it the doorway
to daily fellowship with our Lord and the
fountainhead of healing for the sick ones
Satan will say to the wounded servants of the Lamb what
he said to the Master through those sneering voices on
“Physician, heal yourself!”
But the Lord says,
“My grace is sufficient for you. My power is
made perfect in weakness. Weak as you are I
send you forth in my name to heal the sick and
raise the dead and bring the lost back to the