Craig Groeschel - Miracles of Healing
Well its great to have all of you with us today on this Mother's Day weekend as we're honoring our amazing mothers. And today we're looking at God's word. If you're new with us. We're in a message series called When Pigs Fly. We are looking at a God who does miracles. Last week we talked about God's power over the forces of darkness. Next week I think is my favorite of all four. We're gonna talk about a God who has the power to protect. Week number four we look at a God who miraculously provides for his people.
Today what I wanna do is talk about something that I believe has the potential to really build your faith. And also that we can literally see miracles from God today. Before the end of our time together. I wanna talk about a God who does miracles of healing. Question, at all of our churches, how many of you believe that our God has the power to touch a sick body and to make it well. All of our church here raise your hand. I absolutely completely believe he does. In fact if you just look all throughout scripture, the Old Testament, miracle after miracle of healing. New Testament there's at least 30 different miracles where Jesus healed people of sickness in their body. It's implied that there are hundreds and hundreds more miracles of healing. Jesus opened up blind eyes, he healed deaf ears. He made the lame to walk. He raised the dead.
If you look at the book of Acts there was a time when the Apostle Paul was preaching, it's kind of a funny story to me, he preached so long Luke said he went on and on and on into the night. Have any of you ever been bored in the middle of a sermon, at another church? He went on and on and on so long that this poor guy named Eutychus a kid was sitting in a window and Eutychus fell asleep in the middle of the sermon. Fell out of the window and died. I know that I have put people to sleep. With my sermons. To the best of my knowledge I've never killed anyone with one of my sermons. The poor boy falls out of the window, dies. Thankfully Paul goes down there and lays hands on him, raised him from the dead. If I'm Paul, like woo my sermon killed him but I healed him. You know, and they're miraculous guys. The most controversial of all the miracles in the New Testament though, was when Jesus healed Peter's mother in-law. Jesus healed Peter's mother in-law. Which many scholars believe is precisely why Peter denied Jesus three times. I'm just messing with you, that's a dangerous joke on Mothers Day. Have mercy on me it's just a joke, just a joke. I believe in a God that has the power to heal.
In fact this is what Jesus said in John's gospel. John 14:12 Jesus said: What did Jesus do? He healed the sick. I believe the same power that healed the sick when Jesus walked the Earth heals the sick today. And God does it through the faithful prayers of his people. We serve a God to whom all things are possible. A God who can do exceedingly and abundantly more than all you can ask, think or imagine according to his power that is at work within' the church. That's why today we're at church praying for a miracle from our good God. You can clap anytime that you want to, I don't care. It always makes me feel a bit better. If I get a little riled up, it's a little more fun if you get a little riled up because we're having church today. It's a great place to be together in God's presence. We believe in a God who does miracles. The first time I ever saw a healing miracle it was an unusual one. I was on a walk with Amy and we came across a dead bird in the middle of the road. Amy's like a freak for birds and she's like, "Oh look a bird, a bird we have to pray for the bird". Like the bird is dead, she's like "Jesus prays Lazarus from the dead"! "God cares for the birds", she's like quoting scriptures and putting them together with some kind of theological message, "pray for the bird"! And so I'm like newlywed, new Christian so I'm like "Alright we'll pray for the bird".
I knew enough the scripture said if there's any sick among you, lay hands on the sick and the prayer of faith will heal the sick. I didn't wanna lay my hands on the dead bird so I took a stick. To put on the dead bird. Little birds in the road, so I just kind of scooted him along with the stick just kind of like this to make sure he was dead. And I put my prayer stick, somewhere in the bible, on the bird lay hands on the stick and the power goes through the stick to the bird. And we prayed that God would heal this little bird, and God as my witness, God as my witness, God is my witness, ask my wife Amy you may not trust me but you will trust Amy, we prayed for the bird, the dead bird, God is my witness, set up went "tweet tweet" and flew away. God is, you can clap at that if you want to because that's pretty crazy. Dead bird, tweet tweet, praise God, tweet tweet and flew away. If there are any sick birds among you, find me a stick I've got the bird anointing. God healed the little bird.
Fast forward to recently. How many of you have ever prayed that God would do a miracle and heal someone and he didn't do it. Amazing couple on our staff, Ryan and Jaime Manson. One of our brilliant minds on the YouVersion team. I had little baby Lucas. Baby Lucas went down for a nap. Five weeks, almost six weeks old. And baby Lucas didn't wake up. About an hour later with no heartbeat, by the grace of God, the doctors got baby Lucas' heart beating again. And all of us just knew this is ripe for a miracle of God. So we all prayed, not just our team. But people all over the world prayed for little baby Lucas. Baby Lucas didn't make it. And I believe in a God who can heal. And sometimes I'm a little bit confused. At the apparent bird, like really? And a baby. God you made my back feel better and 17 year old died of brain cancer? Sometimes when you believe God can, and he doesn't, it can unsettle you, shake you, rock you. Where is God? God I knew you would, but why does my son still have migraine headaches? I believed you could, but why does my daughter still face depression all the time? God we've prayed and prayed and prayed but why did Grandma die of cancer. I knew you could, and a lot of people would conclude, well evidently either God is not real, or he's not good, or he doesn't care. How do we reconcile, what do we do, how do we go before God and how do we pray if we believe that he can and we know that he has, but he doesn't always do what we know he could do and think that he should do.
I wanna talk about that today in a way that might answer a few questions, and at the same time build your faith in a God who hears our prayers and does miracles. Let's build the message on this foundational thought. It may be obvious to you in your real life, but it may not be obvious to you just how true this thought is in scripture. Our key thought is this; we need to understand and embrace the truth. That our God heals, but he doesn't heal everyone all the time. Our God is a God who heals, but he doesn't heal everyone all of the time. You would know that to be true because most of you said you've prayed for it to happen and it didn't happen. But a lot of people don't recognize or realize that this is incredibly true in people in scripture, those who faithfully served Jesus. I'll give you three quick examples.
There's a guy named Trophimus. Alright Trophimus was one of the Apostle Paul's friends who accompanied Paul on his third missionary journey. But whenever Trophimus got sick, God apparently didn't heal him. And we read in Second Timothy 4:20, Paul says: God not only didn't heal him, but I left him behind. I just kind of left him there and we went on about our business. God could have and God didn't. Same with Timothy who apparently had stomach issues and Paul told his young protege Timothy: In other words, God could have healed him but God didn't so use whatever you can to make it better. God could have but God didn't. And then of course there's the Apostle Paul who if you know his story had something that he calls a thorn in his side, a thorn in his flesh. We don't know for sure what it is scholars have guessed it was bad eyesight, temptation, all sorts of different things.
We don't know for sure what it was. But we do know Paul pleaded three times and when he pleaded it wasn't just like a 30 minute prayer session. The word in the original language means like an ongoing persistent pursuit three season, three ongoing passionate, desperate seasons of pleading with God take this away. I know you can, I've seen you do bigger things, please God! And God says No, I could but I'm not going to. In this case, what I'm going to show you is that my grace is going to be enough for you. Our God can, he often does, but when he doesn't how do we deal with that? Tragically if I can just kind of get up into the church world a little bit.
Sometimes well meaning Christians can say really hurtful things. Well meaning Christians. You know well, you know your daughters sick and you know whatever, and the reason is because there's sin in your life, If you didn't have sin in your life that wouldn't be going on. You know you're not praying right, you're doing something wrong and on and on and on. And a well meaning Christian can often heap guilt and condemnation on someone else when God isn't doing what we know he could do and think he should do, and so some people will be so internally hurt they'll literally walk away from God. Or at least walk away from the fellowship of other believers. What do we do with a God that we know can and doesn't always do it? And at the same time, how do we let our faith grow to continue to ask him for miracles of healing?
Let's build a foundation. I talk about three reasons why Jesus did not do miracles. He often did, but sometimes he didn't. Why did Jesus not do miracles? Number one reason is that Jesus refused to perform miracles to prove himself. To prove himself. I don't know if you've ever done this, I did all the time as a kid. Just do this one thing God, if you do this one thing then I'll know you're real and I'll serve you forever. God doesn't play like that. I wish he did it would be so much easier, but he doesn't. He's God and for some reason he does what he wants. He refuses to perform miracles to prove himself. Marks gospel, Mark 8: The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. What was the motive of their heart in this case? They were trying to test him, to test him! They're asking for a sign from heaven. Do something to prove that you really are the son of God.
And Jesus sighed deeply. You're making me crazy. I'm not doing tricks for you. He sighed deeply and said "Why does this generation as for a sign"? "Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it". I'm not doing miracles to prove myself. I do miracles that are in line with the heart of God. Number one reason, he didn't do it to prove himself. Number two, Jesus never performed a miracle that interfered with God's ultimate plan. This is so important! He never performed a miracle that interfered with God's ultimate plan. I'll show you an example in one story, where Jesus chooses to do a miracle in one moment and a moment later he withholds a miracle when it was within' his power to do it.
It's a powerful story. Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss on the cheek. To show the guards who he was so that they could come and arrest Jesus and take him to the cross. Peter who I like gets tipped. Peter's a good old boy and said, "Uh uh you're not doing that to my Jesus" and just pulled out a sword and he goes for the Roman guards head. Not sure this is what I think, and he missed the head and got the ear. Good intentions, bad aiming. Cuts the ear off and so you can imagine, we read it and you know you just kind of read it and you don't think about it. Imagine this old guy, blood's coming out of his ear. There's pandemonium. His ear flies off and you can just sense Jesus' disappointment like "Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter. I got this under control, this isn't what I wanted you to do". And then Jesus kind of like, "Where's the ear"? "Somebody find the ear".
Imagine they cut the ear, it flies off it rolls. Where's the ear, is it in the bushes? Find the guys ear, find the guys ear! Here, give me his ear. And then Jesus takes it and he does a miracle. He takes it and puts it on Malcus' head and he says "God in my name". It's a little joke, because we say in Jesus' name, but he would have said, It's just a preacher joke just work with me. He just says, he says "In my name" and it heals the ear. He does a miracle. Then he has a teaching moment. Peter I'm not gonna let this happen to you. And then Jesus doesn't do a miracle and he says I could have. Watch this, he says; "Don't you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us". Boom, God sends them, they're here. He was have sent them instantly. But if I did, if I ask for this miracle would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?
In one moment he does a miracle and in another moment when it would it interfere with God's ultimate plan he withholds the miracle. Even when the disciples around him don't fully understand. When did Jesus not do a miracle? He didn't do it to prove himself. He didn't do a miracle that would have a temporary Earthly benefit at the cost of an eternal Godly benefit. When it interferes with God's plan. And number three, Jesus didn't do miracles where there was no faith. Where there was no faith. When he went to his home town, people were not impressed with Jesus they grew up with him. Yeah isn't that Joseph the carpenter's son? Isn't that the annoying kid that was the teachers pet that got all the answers right and never talked too much in class? That's just Jesus the son of Joseph. And scripture says that he did not do miracles there why? Because of their lack of faith.
We have to understand that our faith moves the heart of God. Our faith matters to God. When you pray in faith it touches the heart of God. Let me give you three examples. There was a woman who couldn't stop bleeding for 12 years. She's embarrassed, she's in pain, she's ceremonially unclean. Jesus walks by, by faith she reaches out and thinks if I could just touch the edge of his cloak, just touch the end of his garment I'll be healed. She does, he feels power leave. She looks back and says what was that? She's just I just believed. And Jesus looked at her and say "Daughter", Say this with me. "Daughter" somebody help me your what? "Your faith has healed you". A man with leprosy falls at the feet of Jesus and worships him. Jesus looks at this man and says "Rise and go; your" what? Say it with me, "Your faith has made you well". A blind man screams out "I can't see you but I hear you "I know you're there have mercy on me"! And Jesus says "Go" your what? "Your faith has healed you".
Our faith moves the heart of God. What is so interesting to me, is that according to scripture there's only one thing that we have that ever amazes Jesus. We can look at all the gospels. Jesus was amazed by one thing, do you know what amazes Jesus? Our faith amazes Jesus. Sometimes he's amazed like wow, that was amazing! Other times he's amazed like "huh, that's all"? "You don't believe I can do anything"? Two different times, two different extremes. A Roman centurion has a servant that's sick and says Jesus I'm not even worthy for you to come into my house, You just say the word, you don't have to see my servant, you don't have to touch my servant, you don't have to walk in that direction. I just believe you say the word and he'll be healed. Jesus says the word, he's healed and scripture says Jesus was amazed and said "I've never seen faith like this before". And in the home town of Jesus where he was a prophet without honor. He looked on and said "I'm amazed that you don't believe that I can do anything". "I'm amazed" he said, "at their lack of faith".
I'm curious, when it comes to your faith, if Jesus were amazed would he be "Wow" amazed, or would he be like "wow". Even if you just look at the prayers you prayed last week. What'd you ask for? Was it big, God intervening, wah! Or was it like "God bless my food and keep us safe today"? Wow, is that all you have the faith for? Something that amazed Jesus is powerful strong faith. Wow, he's amazed. Or it's almost like heartbreaking insulting faith, really? That's all you believe? What do we do if we find that our faith is a little bit on the lower end? What if we're more like the wow faith, rather than the wow faith. The good news is that faith moves God. And Jesus is so encouraging when he said this, If there's a mountain in your life, in other words, if there's something that needs to be moved that is so big that physically it's impossible to move. And you simply have faith the size of a mustard seed, the smallest little seed. And if you just have faith in my direction that moves my heart.
In other words your faith may sometimes be really strong, there may be other times when it's kind of strong, there may be other times when you're struggling and God loves you enough to work with the faith you have. I love the story in scripture of a dad who is in agony because his son is hurting. To the moms who are here today, you know you can take a lot of pain. But when someone comes after a kid there's nothing that hurts like that. Any parent would know this feeling. And his son is in agony, he's been thrown into the fire by demons and such. And the dad's desperate he wants to believe that Jesus can help, but he doesn't want to get his hopes up so high and so he just like "Jesus if you can do anything, please do". "If you care if you can if you can do anything, please do". And Jesus is kind of like, "Anything is possible for those who believe".
And the father said something that honestly so captures where I live so much of the time. If you can do anything. Jesus says I can do anything. And the father exclaims "I do believe". And then he says "help me overcome my unbelief". I do believe, but I'm still human. I've seen you do it with other people. I'm kind of reading into his thought. I've seen you do it before, and I think you can do it for my son but I'm just not sure. If I get my hopes but then you don't it's gonna be really difficult so I do know you can, but I'm still just not sure in this particular case. And Jesus looks on with a loving understanding of this imperfect faith. I'm doing the best I can, help me in this. I'll get as real as I can and hopefully you don't lose respect in me but maybe this will help somebody feel better.
Amy and I were going to pray for a lady recently and she has a category of sickness that I've never seen God heal. I believe he can, I know he can. But every time I pray for someone in this category things didn't go well. I could give you a list of a hundred different categories where I've seen miracles from God. And this particular category I've heard about it from other places, I've never seen it. And so we're driving there and I'm just, I don't have Pastor Craig hat on now, I'm just Craig Craig with my wife. And I said Amy I don't have a lot of faith for this. I said baby you need to pray. And she said "Oh no, no, no, no, no, if you've got mustard seed faith let's just hang onto that, let's just hang onto that".
And I mean, I'm just being honest. Like I got a lot, you want me to pray for someone to come to Christ yes, you want me to pray for certain types of things. You want me to pray for a bird with a stick, right? Yeah I've got faith for that, but this particular case sometimes I need God to help me overcome my unbelief. I do believe, but it's just not perfect right now. And so we prayed the prayer before the prayer in our car. God give us faith, God help us honor you. God would you be wowed by our faith. And so we quoted scripture, we prayed together. We walked in, we did what scripture says. We anointed with oil, we prayed the prayer of faith, we believed that God could and we asked him to do it and nothing happened. Not yet, not yet. She's still not healed, we're still praying in faith. And some moments we feel more, and other moments it's more like help me, I don't feel that much right now. But whatever I have God, as imperfect as it is, I'm bringing it to you. I believe God you hear our prayers and you do miracles.
So Pastor Craig, you're a pastor at church. You pray for someone if she wasn't healed does that shake your faith, does it rattle you. No after walking for God as long as I have it doesn't rattle me because our faith isn't based on what God does. You see, our faith is based on who God is. Our faith isn't based on what God does in the immediate moment, to a specific request. Because oftentimes he will do exactly what we're asking him to do and it kind of shows up and shows off. And other times in ways that I may not understand he's like I'm not gonna prove myself right now. Or it may be, you know what that would be kind of easy for you but I actually have something eternal that's higher than your thoughts. And different than your ability to understand. And even though it may hurt you now, even though it may grieve you, even though it may make you question the goodness of God, we still trust the goodness of God. Because our faith isn't based on what he does in a moment, our faith is based on what he did for us on the cross. It doesn't get any better than that. A God who becomes one of us and sends his Son Jesus. His son to shed his blood that our sins would be forgiven.
Our faith isn't based on seeing the results to a miracle. Our faith is based on the character and the goodness of a God who sacrificed his Son. This will mess with some peoples theology I know it, some people will disagree you have a right to be wrong. I'm being playful, sorta. But I'm passionate about this. We need to understand that when God sent Jesus, the highest purpose for Jesus coming was not to heal our bodies, but to save our souls. The highest purpose, I'm not saying that he doesn't heal our bodies. But the highest purpose, I have come that they would have life and life more abundantly, I have come to seek and save the lost. I didn't come for the righteous, I came for the sinners. I came to give my life as a ransom. His highest purpose isn't to heal our bodies, it's to save our souls.
I'll show it to you in Marks gospel, Mark 2 you can see it. There's four good ol' boys, I would love to be friends with these guys. One of them his name was Bubba. It doesn't say that in the bible, it doesn't say that anywhere, but I know it to be true God revealed it to me. I can just feel it, his name had to be Bubba. And he's the leader of the ring, and he's got another friend whose unable to walk. And so Bubba gets his three buddies. Look we're gonna get our buddy to Jesus and ain't nothin' gonna stop us. And so they dragged this old boy who can't walk. Who knows how far, maybe they're carrying him he gets heavy and they're dragging him. And they take him to this bible study and Jesus is there teaching.
There's so many people at the bible study that they can't get their friend in. And Jesus is teaching and they got their backs to Jesus and they're like oh that's good, we can't get him in there, oh that ain't gonna stop us. Take him up on top of the roof, we'll find a way boys! They drag their friend up on top of the roof and then Bubba says dig a hole! I just know it was Bubba. It's not in the bible I can sense it, I can feel it. Sometimes God reveals these things. And they're like we can't dig a hole this isn't our house. And we'll figure it out later. So they get down and they start digging a hole in this thatched roof. And then there's a hole, light shining in and Jesus is doing his bible study and they say okay you grab one arm and you grab one arm and I'll grab a leg and they take their buddy and they hold him out as far as they can. Bubba looks down, but man it looks like there's another 8-9 feet. That could hurt bad. He goes, well hell he's paralyzed anyway. On three drop him, one, two, three!
Something like that happened! This guy gets in on the bible study and the first thing Jesus does is forgives his sins. The first thing Jesus does, read it, is forgives his sins. Before he heals his body. He healed his body but first he forgave his sins. Because when Jesus came his highest calling wasn't to heal our bodies, it was to save our souls. Here's a little spoiler alert ready for this? If God heals you of cancer guess what? Hate to break it to ya, you're still gonna die. Kinda got quiet in here. Yeah technically if the rapture comes back you'll fly away, but if Jesus doesn't come back you're gonna die. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Next time Lazarus died he was on his own. Right? You're still gonna die! Cause his highest purpose isn't what happens to your body for 70 or 80 years on Earth. Your highest purpose is that your life would glorify him.
So when I pray, I pray with every bit of faith that I have. Sometimes it's great, sometimes it's mustard seed. But I'm bringing my imperfect faith before him. For my daughter Mandy, you can't stop me from believing in the miracle power, the miraculous working power of our God. We believe, we believe, we believe, we believe. We believe, we believe, we believe, we believe. I believe God can and I believe he will. And even if he doesn't do what I think he should, I still believe because my faith isn't based on what he does or doesn't do. My faith is based on who he is. So what I wanna do today as a church, is I wanna give you the chance to join me into belief that God would do miracles.
And what I'm gonna do is just ask our pastors if you can to get ready to come and pray. We're gonna do something a little bit different. I promise you it's not gonna be weird. Why don't we do a moment if you have sickness in your body, something that you would like for God to heal. I'm gonna ask you in a moment just to stand up. Or perhaps it's not in your body, but somebody that you love. For example if I was sitting on the third row today, I would stand up and say I was standing for Mandy. You might stand for somebody you love. I would broaden your prayers for just a moment, and recognize that God doesn't just heal bodies. But scripture says that God heals the broken hearted. And he binds up wounds. And on a day like this there are some who are very very broken hearted. A day like any day there are people who have been victim of abuse or hurt, been lied about and maybe perhaps you're hurting in that way today. And you don't just need healing in your body, but you need healing in your soul.
So today church online, you can just type in whatever you want at all of our churches. Those of you that say I want to stand for me or somebody else just stand up right now. Just right where you are all the churches just stand up where you are if you will. Every single live churches just stand up where you are. To stand up where you are. Now for the rest of you, what would be amazing, is if you would just pick somebody close to you. If they're in front of you, you might just reach out to them would you just stand up around.
And perhaps if it's appropriate just reach out and maybe touch somebody on the shoulder or just look in their way. If everybody can remain standing right now, stand up where you are and you might, if you know somebody and it's not weird you can put your arm around them or just reach out. And we're gonna be the family of God. Wherever two or three come together in his name, there he is in the midst of them. And with whatever faith that we have, we're gonna come before our God right now. And we're gonna believe for miracles. Pastor of all of our churches, you pray. Pray hard in faith in the name of Jesus we believe in a God of miracles.