Dr. Ed Young - Deep Healing
Dr. David Peterson was pastor of the Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas for many years. Dave tells a story that when he was in seminary, he studied a man by the name of Dr. Frederick Buechner and Buechner is a well-known scholar, brilliant in what he writes, Presbyterian in his theology. And my friend Dave said that he wanted to meet him, and he knew that he had a home in Florida and in one in Maine, and he decided that he would go whichever place that this famed theologian would meet with him. And he wrote him a little note, "Dear Dr. Buechner, I would like to meet with you just a few minutes and pick your mind about life, et cetera. And he just name the place and I'll be there".
And he got this letter back. "Dear Reverend Peterson, I have written down everything I wish to disclose about myself in my autobiography, sincerely, Frederick Buechner". Dave said, "Well, that's it". I heard him tell that story and I thought, you know, I'm a lot like he was when I deal with God. Are you like that? Sure you are. "God, if you would show me, if you'd just speak to me. I've got a situation, Lord, that's unique and I want your insight. Would you just come and have a little flash of lightning or at least with a still, small voice speak in my mind? Lord, I want to do business with you. I want to meet with you at your convenience because I want am answers". And I think God would say to those of us who get to those points in life, "I have revealed to you, I have disclosed to you all I have to say about myself in my autobiography".
Genesis to Revelation, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, especially the autobiography of Jesus tells us all we need to know in any situation of life about the Almighty, about the Almighty. So, the Bible, you could say, is a story of salvation. The big, fancy theological word is soteriology. We're gonna study soteriology in our church. It means we're studying the doctrine of salvation and that's a giant doctrine. It covers many facets of life. We have boiled it down in the evangelical church to make it far too simplistic. Recently, I read of the five categories of people who got onboard the ill-fated Titanic. There were some royalty. There was political leaders, multimillionaires, those in first class, those in steerage, those in part of the ship's company. They divided all the passenger of the Titanic into four categories but when the Titanic went to the bottom of the ocean, when they ended up looking at them again, they put them only in two categories, those that were saved and those that were lost.
Nothing else made any difference, did it? Salvation, soteriology. And we read in our study of the life of Jesus, How would God have lived as he walked on this earth? We see that's exactly how he lived. We see what Jesus did and what Jesus said and we're walking through together the autobiography of God. We've heard what happened when Jesus taught in his home synagogue. They ran him out. Why did they run him out? He spoke the truth. Truth is a powerful thing. It keeps nagging us everywhere we go. Jesus stood and spoke the truth. They wanted tradition. They wanted ritual. They wanted the way it always had been done in that synagogue, but Jesus spoke the truth and they tried to throw him over a cliff, remember, just throw him over a cliff.
You see, biblical truth cuts me, it cuts you, it is powerful, and it tell us and points us to salvation. So, after Jesus was speaking the truth, not with a nice little talk, but with a inspired Word from God, he began to perform miracles. He moved his headquarters from Nazareth, his hometown, to Capernaum and there he spoke at the synagogue. He said they rejoiced. They celebrated what he was saying. And he performed miracles there, various kinds of miracles. And then finally we come to the end of Luke chapter number 4 and it says verse 42, "When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place; and the crowds were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them". In other words, "We like this healing business". He was healing this one, healing that one, healing that one.
Boy, they said, "Just stay here. We like you. You are a healer. Just keep healing all of us". But verse 43, "Jesus said to them, 'I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.'" And he kept on preaching. In other words, we have to always remember the purpose of Jesus. His purpose was, what? Was to bring the kingdom into reality. The kingdom of God had come. Where Jesus Christ is Lord, and Savior, and King, wherever you find that, there is the kingdom of God. Jesus said, "I came to preach the kingdom". How do we get in the kingdom? We have a new heart. Confess sin, turn from sin, receive forgiveness, receive Christ. He takes our old heart and gives us a new heart and then we are saved, that's our word. We are salvaged. We're in the family of God.
We're kingdom people, and then what happens? Somebody asks you, "What does it mean to be a Christian"? Don't hear all these scrambled definitions. "Oh, I'm a Christian". No, no, no, you are a Christian, I am a Christian because we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We have confessed sin, we've received him in our lives. We've had that supernatural exchange, my old heart, he gives me a new heart, and therefore I am in the kingdom of God and what it means to be a Christian is that I am a citizen of the kingdom of God because I have a new heart and Christ is in me and Christ is in you. That makes us Christian. We're in Christ. Christ is in us. Then we are citizens of the kingdom. And this is basic and fundamental.
And then Jesus gives us in Luke chapter 5, what I call three big miracles, one after the other, bang, bang, bang. And in these miracles, we discover that because we have this personal relationship with Jesus Christ... remember, that's what it means to be a Christian. Because we have this personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we are saved and if we are saved, the first miracle teaches us this, mark it down, we have now a way to see others as we had never seen them before, a way to see the world as we'd never seen it before, and we see ourselves in a different way. Because we're in Christ, we see ourselves a different way. We see that in a miracle we've already looked at. We're gonna just visit it briefly again. That's the miracle of fish, Sea of Galilee, Peter and his crew fishing all night, hadn't caught a thing.
Jesus said, "Hey, cast the net out over there". They say, "What does that carpenter know about fishing"? They throw the net out, they have a catch of fish like they'd never seen before. It was almost instant wealth. Man, all of sudden, economic turn has turned back up again for Peter and his crew and look what happened, you would think that Peter would say, but look at verse 7, "So they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them," They caught so many. "And they came and filled both boats till the boats began to sink". You would think that Peter would say to Jesus, "Thank you, man, I've been wanting security. I've been wanting this kind of wealth, this kind of fishing skill I've imagined all my life. Man, thank you, Lord". But what did Peter say? Amazing. "But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus' feet, and said, 'Go away from the Lord, for I'm a sinful man!'"
I want to tell you a little secret right up front. You've gotta keep this in your mind. It's like you have a melody then you have and obbligato. Here's the melody, but there's this sub melody that plays in it. The sub melody of everything we're doing is everything happens at the feet of Jesus. Everything happens at the feet of Jesus. Just watch that, keep that a secret. You'll see it as we walk through our Scripture. Everything happens at the feet of Jesus. Peter fell to the feet of Jesus. Here's this, economic windfall that's come. He said, "Lord, get away from me for I'm a sinful man". Does that sound strange to you? I read that over and over and I say, man, what a response, what a response that is.
You see, Peter saw himself as he'd never seen himself before and he had this low moment in his life. "I'm a sinner". What does he tell Jesus? He said, "Jesus, get away from me". What a response. "Jesus, get away from me. I'm rotten to the core. Get out of here. I don't want to be... get away from me". A low moment in his own view of himself, right? But just skip a verse and the very next verse Jesus says, "Pete, I want you to follow me and I'm gonna make you and give you the ability to fish for men". In other words, it's to change men alive, to catch men alive. In other words, here's his low moment of his life and then Jesus says, "I want you on my team and we're gonna be in the business of fishing in the world and see lives changed".
Low moment, high moment, is that distracting anybody? And then we see how Peter grew. Two and a half years ahead, remember Peter denied Jesus there in the trial, three times cursed? "I don't know the man, I'm not a Galilean, I just picked up this accent. No, I'm not from Galilee. I don't know this Jesus". As he was being taken off to be crucified. Now, the resurrected Lord John 21, chapter 21 we see Peter's back fishing, all confused. And he's not watching any fish and somebody on shore says, "If you throw your net out on the other side, you'll catch fish". And they threw their net out, another giant catch of fish. And John, the Apostle John, whispered to Peter and said, "That's the Lord". And what did Peter do? Jumped in the Sea of Galilee and swam to shore to get to Jesus as fast as he could. Has he matured?
That's the biggest sin you think you could commit to deny the Lord in the moment you need him the most, and curse him, and run away from him. And now he runs to him and swims to him for all he's worth. Before he'd run away from him two and a half years before. You see when that happened, that's spiritual maturity until we respond instinctively to Jesus. See the difference? He didn't think about it. There's Jesus, bam, in the water, cold water, bam, bam. I'm getting in as quick as I can. Two and a half years before, same water, same place catch a fish, "Lord, get away from me". You see how now spontaneously Peter runs to Jesus because he saw himself in a different way, as a Christ follower.
You see, he understood grace forgiveness. He understood that Jesus loved him without any reservation. He didn't get that two and a half years before the big catch of fish. He got it now. We need to be and grow in Christ. You begin to respond instinctively. It's just what you do. It's like somebody puts your knee and... you respond. That's what Peter did. He jumped in. Before, "Get away from me". Now, "Hey, I'm getting to you". We see ourselves differently when we have relationship with Jesus Christ. And then the second big miracle, we see others differently when we have a relationship with Jesus.
Look at it, verse number 12, still Luke 5, "And when He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy," just covered with leprosy. "And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face..." Y'all remember that? Peter fell on his face. The leper fell on his face. Keep that in mind. "And implored Him, saying, 'Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.' And He stretched out His hand and touched him, the leper, saying, 'I am willing; be cleansed.' And immediately the leprosy left him. And Jesus ordered him to tell no one, 'But go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.'"
And what's our point? When we meet Jesus, we not only see ourselves a different way, as Peter did. Instead of saying, "Get away from me," he ran to him when he was a sinner. Now we see others differently. Leprosy was sort of the Ebola of the 1st century. It was looked upon as being highly contagious and leprosy was a broad title for a lot of kind of skin diseases in that day. And so, once you were pronounced to be a leper, you were thrown out of your family, thrown out of the synagogue, thrown out of the community because leprosy was a symbol of gross sin. And as a leper, you had to carry little bells around with you and wherever you'd go you'd have to say, "Unclean". And I'll tell you, people got away from you. You could be sure of that. You're going around saying, "Ebola, Ebola..."
In fact, the Jews had a rule that you had to be two-and-a-half football fields away from a leper when the wind was blowing upstream. From the leper to you, you had to stay two-and-a-half footballs fields away, the leper did. If blowing the other way, you could stay only 30 yards away. So, they were always checking the windage, those lepers, to see which way, how far they had to stay away from people because they couldn't work. They couldn't worship. They couldn't associate. They were starving. They became beggars and some of their family would hide food for them in certain spots so they could even stay alive.
If you can imagine living death, if you can imagine walking death, it was someone who had leprosy. "Unclean, unclean". They were despised. They were hated. They were abused. They were shamed. They were disenfranchised. They had no relation to anybody. Nobody would dare touch a leper. You get the picture? And here, by the way, Matthew says that this miracle took place following his teaching on the Sermon on the Mount so there'd be thousands present. And the leper could not go into a crowd, but evidently this leper just lowed his head, unclean, and ran to Jesus and you can be sure the crowd partied. Unclean, unclean, he ran to Jesus and fell at his feet, and what'd he do? First of all, he fell at his feet and he worshiped. That's where we begin, folks. I want to worship. I want to feel, I want to know. He worshiped and then he confessed, "I'm unclean". And then he had faith, he said, "Lord, if you want to, you could heal me. You can do it if you want to".
That was faith. And what did Jesus do? An amazing, an amazing thing here. Instantly, he healed him. Worship, confession, "I'm unclean," bang. "I have faith," bang, healing. And then Jesus told him to go and show himself to the priest and the priest would be the one in that day who would affirm that he has indeed been healed. Evidently his leprosy was an extreme part and you can imagine his hands were worn... leprosy, we call it Hansen's Disease. You lose feeling in all your nerve endings, and therefore you put your hand in hot water. You do not know it's hot. And you get harmed and you lose sense of pain. And for a period of time, there's depreciation of your face, and your hands, and your limbs, and advanced leprosy is a horrendous physical presence.
This is where he was. You imagine all this came back and he runs and finds a priest, and the priest comes. He shows himself to the priest. His skin is like a baby's skin. Can you see the symbol of this? Now he was like a baby. It's like a brand-new life, a clean life, a pure life. It all came about because at the feet of Jesus, Jesus touched him. In the Old Testament, when someone who was clean touched someone who was unclean, the person who was clean became unclean. But with Jesus, when he touched him who was unclean, now he who was unclean became clean. See the difference? This is a prelude of the cross. Jesus took all of our leprosy, our sin, our uncleanliness upon himself so that we might be clean, all in the touch of Jesus, in the touch of Jesus.
You see, this leper was never the same because he'd been touched by Jesus. Peter was never the same. He'd been touched by Jesus. It all began at the foot of the Lord. Now look at this third big miracle here. This tells us something even more interesting. In a right relation with Jesus, it means we've been saved. We're salvaged. We're in God's family. We're saved. We not only see ourselves differently, we see others differently. We see the whole world with different eyes. Look at this third miracle. Verse 16, Luke 5, "But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness to pray. One day He was teaching; there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. And some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and set him down in front of Him".
In front of him, where would that be? The feet of Jesus. "But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, and they went up to the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus," the feet of Jesus. "Seeing their faith, He said, 'Friend, your sins are forgiven, your sins are forgiven you.' And the Pharisees and the scribes began to reason, saying, 'Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sin, but God alone?' But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, 'Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say,'" Follow me, "'Your sins have been forgiven you,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? But, so that you may know that the Son of Man..."
The first time Jesus calls himself the Son of Man, "Has authority on earth to forgive sin.' He said to the paralytic, 'I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.' And Immediately he got up before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God". Great story, most of us are familiar with it. I call this the ministry of the mat. That's probably not original to me, but I just think about those four guys, got their buddy on that mat. Each one carrying a corner and we know how far they went. They just heard Jesus was in this house teaching. They're gonna take him there and see if Jesus would heal their buddy. Boy, they loved him, didn't they? Boy, to have friends like that. But they got there, it was so packed, they couldn't get him to the feet of Jesus so they not only loved him, but they tenacious. I like tenacious love.
You know, some of us say, "Well, we've carried you this far. We tried, that's the best we can do. You just can't get to the healer, you know? No way to get up there, it's too crowded". But they went around back and they went up with that tenacity and got on the roof. They had stairs in these Middle Eastern homes. You can go up on the roof. That's very common. And then they go up there and then they got real creative. They begin to cut a hole in the roof. I'd have imagined standing there, Jesus teaching and then all of a sudden, the roof is opening.
What in the world? Dust and men, all the dirt coming. They would pack about 2 feet, by the way, of dirt there on the beams. And they moved the tiles away and dirt was falling. Jesus was teaching and the crowd must have thought, "What in the world is happening in here? Somebody up there". And then all of a sudden, they lowered him down on ropes right at the feet of Jesus. Whoa, here, what a deal. And Jesus said, "Your sins are forgiven you," and then he said, "Get up and walk".
That's the priority. Whether he walked or not, he did here, he was still whole. He was still complete. He still got it right, and you can be sure this paralytic now looked at the whole world with different eyes. The basic problem is always a rebellion against the plan, and the purpose, and the will of God. We call it doing our own thing. We call it sin and here we see that Jesus touched him. "Get up, walk," and he did. Jesus touched him. There's something about the hand that touched, the Word, the command of Jesus that heals inside, that's the most important place, and in his economy on the outside, that's the second most important place.