395. TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITY TO RECEIVE HEALING

[A Sermon on Mark 0129 I preached in the Healing Service at St Andrew’s Cathedral in February1990.]

James wrote, “You have not because you ask not.”

A hymn has these words. “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

We need to act on the opportunities we have to receive the grace of God or we may miss out!

In this passage are 2 accounts of opportunities taken to receive healing from Jesus.

  1. Peter’s Mother in law

Jesus returned from the synagogue in Capernaum to Peter’s house where they found Peter’s mother in law ill with a fever.  She was probably in no fit condition to reach out to Jesus for healing.  However Peter and the others brought her need to Jesus, something she was not well enough to do for herself. We read how Jesus took her by the hand and restored her to greater health so that she was able to get up immediately and make them a nice hot cuppa.

It may be tonight that you’re here to receive prayer for someone who is unable to be present either because of distance, or through illness. It’s our privilege to pray with you for God’s blessing on that other person, and we hear every week of wonderful answers to prayer in this way.

Like the people in Peter’s home, we simply join together to tell Jesus about the one who is sick, and leave it to Him to reach out to them in His love, and in His way and in His time.

2. The Sick of Capernaum

Good news can sometimes travel as fast as gossip. Within hours of the man being delivered, and of Peter’s mother in law being healed, people came to the home where Jesus was, bringing all their sick and those with evil spirits. In fact the whole town was outside to see what was going to happen.  They witnessed many being healed and delivered of evil spirits.

We’re not told whether it was the people who brought the sick, who had faith, or whether it was the sick folk themselves. It would appear that those who were sick and were able to make it on their own, got there, whilst those who weren’t well enough to make it, were brought by others.  What is true, is that all the people took the opportunity that was provided, and wonderful healing took place.

Many of us who have been involved in the Healing ministry have seen both of these things happen. There have been occasions when someone has come and asked for prayer for another person who was too ill to be present.  Hands were laid on the person who brought the request, and prayer offered for the other person, and later news is brought of that other person’s wonderful healing.

Or on other occasions, the sick person manages to come for prayer, and prayer and the laying on of hands is ministered, and the person receives a healing.  Whichever way it happens, it is still the same God who has brought the healing. The risen Christ is the Healer, and He can heal the person who is present, or the person who is geographically distant.  The reason is, that though you and I can only ever be in one place at one time, Christ isn’t limited like we are.

Let’s notice what happened just a few hours after Jesus ministered in Capernaum. Mark says that He drew aside to pray in the early hours of the morning.  But His quiet time was disturbed by His disciples who followed Him. They told Him that everyone was looking for Him.

His response may seem surprising. Instead of returning to Capernaum and continuing His teaching and healing ministry, He told His disciples that it was now time for Him to leave to go to minister in other towns.  And He did, going throughout all Galilee preaching and casting out demons.

The opportunity to receive the Lord’s healing had only been offered for a short time in Capernaum, and then it was withdrawn for some time.  But praise God, many took advantage of it and knew the Lord’s touch on their lives.

What if, what if there had been some in Capernaum who heard that Jesus had the power to heal but didn’t act upon it. Some could have said the same sort of things that people say today and fail to come to Him for healing. 

Some could have said, “I’m always suspicious about healing ministries. There are some funny people involved in healing ministries so I’ve heard. I don’t want to get involved with some weirdos. I’ll just hang back a bit and wait to see if the people who receive prayer actually live through it.”

Or others could have said, “I’m still working out my theology of healing, to see whether the scriptures actually indicate that healing might be a possibility in today’s world. “That’s not a bad attitude in some ways, for we need to search the scriptures to see whether these things are so. But when are we going to be convinced? The religious leaders and scholars of Jesus’ day saw firsthand His healings. They were confronted with Lazarus, a man whom Jesus had raised from the dead, yet they still wouldn’t believe.

In fact their unwillingness to believe in Jesus’ healing power made them look away from the proof before their eyes, and made them try to wipe out both Jesus and Lazarus.  Such is the strength of religious prejudice.  It refuses to be convinced and tries to destroy the evidence. It often tries to do so through character assassination.

{ ILLUSTRATION. The founder of this Healing Ministry Canon Jim Glennon  had a funny eye and a different sort of walk. Many scoffed at him and at his apparent physical difficulties. But God chose him to raise up this ministry to His glory and blessed it over all these years. It’s as though God said, “I’ll exalt him internationally, through a wonderful healing he’ll perform, knowing I can trust him to exalt Me.” He did perform a marvellous healing recently overseas which made national papers.  How wonderful that even the paper recorded his words, “Sometimes there are remarkable results. At other times there are not. We just have to leave it to God. “

What are the factors that would inhibit anyone from receiving prayer for healing?

Hopefully, not unbelief or religious prejudice. But there could be other factors. 

Fear of what people might think is one factor.  What would my friends in my church say?

Or pride. “I don’t need other people to pray for me. I’m a mature Christian! ” You may also need to be a humble one, letting God minister through other people to you.

Or it could be that you would feel a hypocrite for asking for help from God, when you’ve not really had much time for Him up to the present. It’s true that God wants to be the Lord of your life, but it’s possible to give your life to Him and ask for help at the same time.

The opportunity to ask Jesus into your life, to be your Saviour and Lord, or to receive prayer for healing and blessing, is here now.  

But I don’t know, and you don’t know, how many other opportunities you will have.  Certainly in Jesus’ day, there were many who missed out on His blessing.

Don’t be among those who in Feb 1990 had the opportunity but missed out. Be encouraged as you reach out to the Lord for your healing, by this fact, that God loves you and wants to bring you blessing, more than you want to receive it.

Blog No.395 posted on Monday 24 January 2022.

About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement in 2006 was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
This entry was posted in Bible verses. Comments, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Healing, Prayer, Salvation, Sermons and articles on the Gospel of Mark and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s