Thu, Jan 10, 2002

HIS HEALING TOUCH MARK 3:7-12 02/10/02

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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
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HIS HEALING TOUCH
MARK 3:7-12
 

Please turn in your Bibles to Mark chapter 3, as we look at the healing touch of Jesus upon our lives and what we do with that. And as you are turning there listen to the extremes some people will go to in order to prolong their life. The story goes like this:

In an underground storage site near Los Angeles, a dozen men and women lie in capsules that look like giant vacuum flasks. Their bodies are wrapped in tin foil [I guess that is to protect them from freezer burn?]. Remove the foil and a thin layer of frost covers their faces. An icy mist of liquid nitrogen clings around each body.

These people have been dead for some years. But centuries from now, attempts may be made to bring them back to life again. They chose this odd method of entombment in the hope that, at some time in the future when medical science has improved far beyond today’s standards, they will be thawed from their deep-frozen state and cured of the disease that killed them. Some of the corpses have been there since 1967. They could be there for hundreds of years because, if the person died from a particular form of cancer, it could take that long before an effective cure is found.

- Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations, 5043

I find it amazing the amount of time and money that is spent to preserve these physical bodies, which are only temporary, and yet they do nothing about eternity, they have not prepared to meet their Maker, their spiritual lives are empty, they are bankrupt!

In our study this morning we are going to see Jesus heal thousands of people physically, and tragically their spirits were not moved! And even though they were healed of this illness, they would eventually die of something else and would be unprepared to meet their Maker. With that said, lets read through our text this morning beginning in verse 7 of Mark chapter 3 and see what the Lord has for us.

MARK 3:7-12

As the religious leaders were rejecting Jesus, He takes His men to the area around the Sea of Galilee. And as He does, word gets out that Jesus is there, and multitudes came to Him to be touched by Him. From Judah, Jerusalem and Idumea in the south, to east of the Jordan River and all the way up to the north in Tyre and Sidon the people came.

And can you imagine the first person who was touched by Jesus crying out "I’m healed! I’m healed!" I’m sure the crowds pushed in even more to get closer to Jesus and be touched by Him, to be healed by Him. The situation could be dangerous with all those people so Jesus has a small boat off shore to get into in case things get out of control, and this is probably Peter’s boat.

Not only did Jesus heal people from their physical diseases, but He also delivered those who were demon possessed. Can you imagine the number of people that just kept coming and coming to Jesus, and the joy and celebrations that took place as these people were healed, set-free from the bondage they were in.

Look at Mark 3:10 again. Mark tells us "For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him." The implication here is that whosoever came to Him to be healed He did heal. And when they touched Jesus it was not just a surface touch they felt but this touch was to have an influence on their lives, they were to be free of the afflictions or plagues or scourgings upon their lives that gnawed at them day after day.

And please understand that they were not coming to Jesus with a cold or toothache or a earache, but many of these illnesses were life-threatening. Their own doctors couldn’t help them but Jesus could. And if it truly was a non-threatening illness, why would all these people travel many miles to come to Jesus? They wouldn’t! But for many, their backs were up against the wall, there was nothing else they could do, Jesus was all they had left, all they could do was come to Him!

Can you imagine if you or your family member or friend was dying and the doctors gave you no hope. Then you hear about this man named Jesus who is healing people along the Sea of Galilee. What would you do? You would get into your all-terrain four-wheel drive camel and race over to Jesus to be touched by Him and to be healed by Him!

As I have said it was not only those who were physically sick that pressed upon Jesus, but also those who were demon-possessed. Now picture this in your mind, as Jesus is walking slowly through the crowds, touching people, healing them, and He comes upon people who are demon-possessed and they are hitting the ground before Him. Why? Because all will bow the knee to God, even the demons. Thus, I think you can easily see why Jesus had a get away boat standing by, things were already wild!

Let me ask you this question. Was this the main reason for Jesus coming, to heal people physically? No, not at all. Jesus used these miracles to authenticate His ministry, to show people who He is, that He is the fulfillment of what the Old Testament prophets spoke of, He is the Son of God, He is the Messiah.

Remember when John the baptist was in prison, placed there by Herod for coming against his marriage to his brothers wife, for committing adultery. And John was discouraged, he was wondering if Jesus really is the Messiah or is there someone else they should be looking for. So John sends two of his disciples to Jesus with these questions and Jesus responds by saying,"...‘Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.’"Matthew 11:4-6.

In other words, Jesus is telling the disciples of John to go back and tell John the things that you have seen Me do, all the things you have heard Me say, for they will testify to who I am, the fulfillment of what the Old Testament prophets spoke of. So Jesus used the miracles to authenticate His ministry and He also had compassion for the people, and He healed them.

But that was not the primary purpose of Jesus coming. In Mark 1:14-15 we are told, "Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’" You see, this is the purpose He came, to heal people spiritually. Jesus was bringing Good News to a world in darkness, a world drowning in sin. He called for them to repent of their sins and come to Him, to receive Him into their lives, and their sins will be forgiven them. Again, Jesus came to point people back to God and provide a way to God through Him, He is the door!

Now, as you read through these verses, that was not the reason people were coming to Jesus. They were coming to be healed physically, they really didn’t care about the Good News, that Jesus is the Messiah, but their own physical problems, which I guess we can understand. But think about the thousands upon thousands of people that gathered around Jesus, and yet there was not a large number of people turning to God, repenting of their sins.

Remember the 10 lepers who were cleansed by Jesus of their leprosy, cleansed physically. How many of them turned to God and where cleansed spiritually? Only one of those 10 men recognized Jesus and repented of his sins. What about the other 9? They were not interested in anything but their physical health and tragically, if they did not repent of their sins and come to Jesus, they would die and be eternally separated from God!

In John chapter 6, after Jesus feeds the 5,000 men, which would make the crowd that day that were fed by Jesus some 15 to 20 thousand people, including the women and the children! And as the people are fed, Jesus crosses over the Sea of Galilee, and the people track Him down. And you think, "Great, they are hungering and thirsting after God!" Wrong! They did not come to receive forgiveness of their sins, that Jesus is the Son of God, but starting in verse 26 of John chapter 6 we are told, "Jesus answered them and said, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.’" John 6:26-27.

You see, they were more concerned about their body appetites than the things of God, their spiritual hunger. And what a mistake it is to pass up the Bread of Life, the Living Water, Jesus Christ just to have your fleshly desires satisfied! Jesus met their physical needs, but they rejected the spiritual gift that God also had for them.

I guess the question we can ask after looking at all of this is "Was Jesus used by the people for their own personal needs?" I guess so. It does seem like they took advantage of Him. But the interesting thing to me is that Jesus still reached out to them, He had compassion on them, He met their physical needs. Jesus desired to touch the lives of those around Him, knowing that many would turn away and not follow Him. He gave them all a chance, many chances to turn to Him, but it was their choice.

Think about it this way. After some 3 years of teaching, ministering, reaching out to the people, how many people were in the upper room on the day of Pentecost? Only 120! Now there were other believers for Paul tells us in I Corinthians chapter 15 that Jesus appeared to 500 brethren. But, when you consider the thousands upon thousands of lives that He touched, only a small number truly received Him into their lives.

Now we may look at that and wonder how in the world could they use God like that? It would seem like they took advantage of Jesus. They just wanted what they wanted and when they wanted it, and everything else they ignored. Be careful, we can do the same today.

You see, when things are going bad, when our finances are low, when our job is in jeopardy, when our marriage is on the rocks, or whatever, who do we run to? God! We plead with Him to intercede for us and once the problem is over, once it is taken care of, we are back to our old ways, keeping God at a distance, only to be used again in an emergency, and that is wrong.

Of course this is common for the unbeliever, either blaming God for what has happened, even though they don’t believe in Him, or crying out to God to heal the situation they are in. And you know what, God does intercede and touch people and heal them, even the unsaved. Why? Because they may turn to Him, that they may see that He is real, that He cares for them. Does it always work? Of course not! But the opportunity is there for them, they can either receive it or reject it.

The person I want to focus on now, with the remainder of our time this morning, is the believer. For some Christians their walk of faith is more of a crisis to crisis relationship they have with God. What I mean is this. They call themselves Christians, they go to church when it fits into their schedule, they read the Bible when they can find the time, and then when disaster strikes, a crises comes their way, they cry out to God asking "Why?" or asking God to heal the situation. They then are in church, they then are in fellowship with other believers, we have seen this with the terrorist attacks in September and when the Gulf War started several years ago, a crisis caused churches to be filled!

Then, when the crises is over, they fall right back to following Jesus at a distance, trying to fit Him in with their busy schedule until the next crises or problem arises. Obviously that is not the kind of relationship Jesus wants with us and He will use situations to get our attention, to wake us up, if we would only respond and return to Him with that deep love He desires from us. Don’t live in that crises Christianity mode, but walk by faith moment by moment, day by day, week by week and year by year!

Remember the story of the two twin brothers, Jacob and Esau, sons of Isaac and Rebekah. Esau was a man’s man, a rugged outdoors man, while Jacob was more of a mama’s boy. And as it was time to deliver these twin boys, Esau was born first, and Jacob, not wanting to be last, grabbed the heel of Esau and thus, his name "Jacob" means heel catcher or supplanter or deceitful! Also, before these boys were born, God spoke to Rebekah and told her, "...‘Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.’" Genesis 25:23. That was a promise to Jacob that even though he was the younger, he would be stronger and he would be served by Esau, he would get the blessings! But instead of believing in the promises of God, Jacob spent his whole life trying to get what God had already promised Him.

One day, as the boys were grown, Esau was out hunting and not doing very well. And since he caught nothing he became so hungry, he was starving, craving food. And as he made it home he smelled some stew that his brother Jacob was cooking and Esau was willing to die for it. But all that Jacob wanted was his birthright, something that was given to the eldest son, although God already promised to bless Jacob. Esau, wanting food more than his birthright, sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew. Again, Jacob, heel catcher, supplanter, deceiver!

The story doesn’t end there. As Isaac prepares to die he asks his eldest son to catch some venison for him and cook it up the way he likes and then he will give Esau the blessing. And as Esau goes out to hunt for venison, Rebekah heard what was happening and she tells Jacob to disguise himself like his brother, placing some goats hair on him so he would be hairy like his brother, even putting on Esau’s clothes so he would smell like Esau, you know, that outdoors kind of smell. And Rebekah cooks up a meal for her husband, gives it to Jacob to take into his father Isaac. After eating the meal, Isaac blesses Jacob, thinking it was his other son Esau. As this is done, Jacob leaves and here comes Esau who brings his dad this meal and wants to receive the blessing, but it was already given, and Esau was not happy to say the least. And Esau said, "...‘Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!’..." Genesis 27:36.

Now Esau wants to kill Jacob and as word gets out of his plan, as Rebekah hears what Esau wants to do, she sends Jacob to her brother Laban’s house until this passes over, thinking it will be only a short time. And that short stay lasted some 20 years before Jacob could return home! Now on his way to his uncle Laban’s house Jacob encounters God in the city of Luz that was changed to Bethel or house of God. And in Genesis 28:20-21 we read, "Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father's house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God.’"

Jacob is saying that if God does this for him then he will serve God. That was not the kind of relationship God desired back then nor is it the kind of relationship God desires with us today. God wants us to serve Him no matter what may come our way, what may come upon our lives. You see, at this point Jacob was not broken yet, he still was a supplanter, a deceiver, able to try and get what he wanted instead of trusting upon the Lord. He still had some lessons to learn.

After those 20 years Jacob is going to return home, and God calls for him to return to Bethel, to the place he first encountered God. And as we drift away from God, He calls us back to Bethel, to the place where we first encountered Him to develop that relationship with Him once again.

As Jacob is obeying the Lord, returning home, he gets news that his brother Esau is coming after him with 400 men and Jacob doesn’t know if this is a good encounter or a bad encounter, if Esau wants to kill him still. And with his back up against the wall, Jacob cries out to God and the Lord appears to Jacob during the night. But Jacob is still not broken yet.

And we are told that Jacob wrestled with God all night, refusing to give in, to be broken until the Lord touched the socket of his hip, until the Lord crippled him. And in Genesis 32:27-28 we read, "So He said to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’ And He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.’" Now that story sounds kind of strange, God crippling Jacob, what in the world is going on?

J. H. McConkey said of this, "We said to a physician friend one day, ‘Doctor, what is the exact significance of God’s touching Jacob upon the sinew of his thigh?’ He replied, ‘The sinew of the thigh is the strongest in the human body. A horse could scarcely tear it apart.’ God had to break us down at the strongest part of our self-life before He can have His own way of blessing with us."

You see, Jacob was a man who tricked, connived his way through life to get what he wanted. Now, with his brother Esau coming with 400 men and being unable to flee with his hip out of joint, he had to totally rely on God. In fact, God changes his name from Jacob, heel catcher, supplanter, to Israel or governed by God! This was a crisis situation that broke Jacob to the point of him surrendering unto God no matter what would happen.

What about you this morning? Where are you at with God? Are you in control of your life, scheming, doing whatever you want to get what you want? Maybe you are at the point where your back is up against the wall, and you are wrestling with God, refusing to let go? You know, it is best to just call "Uncle!" and let God win for when He wins we win! If we were to win, we would actually lose for God knows what is best for our lives. Let God change you from heel catcher, supplanter to a man or woman that is governed by God!

You see, God wants to touch your life, if you would let Him. God wants to transform your life, if you would allow Him. God does not want to be used by you but loved by you! Won’t you do that? Don’t place your life in cold storage but let it be warmed by God’s love and filled with His Spirit!

Does God still heal people today physically? Of course He does, but more importantly He will heal all who come to Him spiritually speaking. Surrender your life to Him as this story shows us. E. W. Moore says:

I remember at one of our testimony meetings a man stood up and said he had received a great blessing at Keswick. He was asked, "What can you say about it?"

"Well," he replied, "I can say this: I was a Christian before I came to Keswick, Christ was my king, but I am afraid He was a constitutional sovereign and I was a prime minister. Now He is absolute Lord, and that has made all the difference in my life and brought a blessing."

- E. W. Moore

Surrender to Him, let Him rule your life, let Him guide your life, love Him and enjoy that deep relationship that He desires to have with us. Jesus gives to us two options in which we can chose, and it is up to us which one we take or receive into our lives. In John 10:9-10 Jesus said, "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." The enemy wants to rip you off, steal your life away, to kill you and destroy all that you have. On the other hand, Jesus wants to give us life, abundant life that is found in Him. Won’t you thank Him and praise Him for that abundant life we have in Him. Enter through the door into this life, and that door is Christ. The Great Physician continues to heal today, if you would only allow Him to touch your life!

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