This morning, we’re beginning a new message series as we journey together to the cross and on through to the resurrection of Jesus!
Life can be tough; genuinely, sincerely, tough! Living in this world corrupted by sin leaves no shortage of opportunities to get weighed down by burdens. The lives of most people on the face of the earth are suddenly turned upside-down by a 120 nanometer ball of RNA commonly referred to as the corona virus.
The borders of nations closed, public activities ceased, cities forced into quarantine, toilet paper aisles laid bare. We’re living in days that remind me much of an apocalyptical video game intro scene. Unfortunately, it is our current reality.
Today has been declared by President Trump as a national day of prayer, seeking after God for protection and strength in this challenging season full of fear and uncertainty. For we know that God alone can provide us with wisdom, peace, protection, and healing during this season. Now, we turn to Him in prayer together.
* Time of corporate prayer *
Through this series, we’re looking back to the prophetic word fulfilled by Jesus found in Isaiah 53. Here, we find a list of such life burdens that Jesus took on Himself. Jesus took on these burdens so that we can live life in freedom!
Isaiah 53:4-6 (NCV)
4 But he took our suffering on him
and felt our pain for us.
We saw his suffering
and thought God was punishing him.
5 But he was wounded for the wrong we did;
he was crushed for the evil we did.
The punishment, which made us well, was given to him,
and we are healed because of his wounds.
6 We all have wandered away like sheep;
each of us has gone his own way.
But the Lord has put on him the punishment
for all the evil we have done.
Today, we’ll focus in on one of the burdens that Jesus took on so that we can be free of them. It’s a scripture that we love to quote and it embodies number 12 of the 16 fundamental truths of the Assemblies of God:
…by His wounds, we are healed.
We were challenged Wednesday evening regarding all of the ‘ments’ of scripture including atonement. The torn body and shed blood of Jesus on the cross was not only to make atonement for our sin, but also for the deliverance from our sickness. He was wounded, we are healed.
Physical healing was a significant part of the earthly ministry of Jesus. In fact, it is one of the acts that He is best known for. Healing blind eyes, deaf ears, cleansing the leprous, watching the lame leap, and so much more. Jesus healed every sickness and every disease.
16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
“He took up our infirmities
and bore our diseases.”
Jesus took on our sickness and disease.
20 When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”
To this very day, people still have honest questions like this about who Jesus is. They have varied expectations of Him and a degree of uncertainty and faith in approaching Him. However, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever! He is THE one who has come and He far exceeds our best expectations!
When we turn to Jesus, even with such questions, He proves Himself to be faithful and true. To these men, Jesus gave an opportunity for them to provide eyewitness accounts of who He was. This had to be a fun an exciting thing to experience. Jesus was basically like, “Am I the One? Check this out!”
21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
Never once is it recorded that someone with a sickness or disease who came to Jesus for healing and left without it. Never once did Jesus say, “Sorry, it is the Father’s will for you to suffer in sickness and disease.” Never once did Jesus say, “Come back to me when you have more faith and then I will heal you.” No, Jesus healed every sickness and every disease of those who came to Him.
However, therein is the key. Those who were healed were ones who came to Jesus to seek after His healing hand. Sure, they may have had questions and uncertainty, but their actions evidenced that they had faith in Jesus. It breaks my heart to wonder how many people were right there with God in the flesh and remained unchanged because they didn’t pursue Him.
How many of us have been in services where the Holy Spirit was moving and doing miraculous things that we were in need of ourselves. However, we reasoned that if it was God’s will for us to be healed or to receive a word, or for some other work to be accomplished in our lives that we could just sit there and that God would chase us down?
Reading through the ministry of Jesus revealed that almost every time, it was because someone had the boldness and courage to seek after Him who received the promises of God. God’s kingdom is not a kingdom of wishful thinking or shallow positive thoughts. It is a kingdom of action and power and pursuit.
God draws near to us as we draw near to Him. God answers as we cry out. Those who seek find, those who ask receive revelation, those who knock have the door opened. We take the first step and God meets us in that place.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
To receive healing from Jesus, we must come to Him by faith. We must believe that He exists and that He will reward us for earnestly seeking after Him.
We are blessed to live during a time in history because our faith is not blind, but can be enriched through the evidence of eyewitnesses who had been healed by Jesus physically, in-person as well as countless people healed by Jesus after His death and resurrection.
Jesus took on our sickness and disease. He paid a high price for your healing.
…by His wounds, we are healed.
He didn’t pay that high price in order to have your healing and then hide it from you. He paid that high price so that you can freely receive it when you seek after it. We don’t just pray once and figure, well, if it’s His will then it will happen and if not, it won’t. No, we receive our healing by seeking after it!
Like the old woman with the unjust judge, we are to always pray and never give up seeking after our healing.
We use common sense, knowledge, and wisdom, but Jesus alone is our healer. We do our part and we trust God to do His.
We can’t expect Jesus to heal the wound on our arm as we continue to cut it open with a knife. We can’t expect Jesus to deliver us from diabetes and high blood pressure and heart disease while eating a diet provided by Little Debbie and drinking only from the springs of Mountain Dew.
As James taught us, faith without works is dead. We have faith that Jesus is our healer, then our works ought to align with our words. Faith and actions work together and only then become complete. Abraham had fullness of faith in God’s promise to take Him into the promised land and to give him offspring as many as the sands on the shore.
How did it come to pass, though? Well, Abraham got up and moved his family into the promised land at God’s lead. And Abraham and Sarah becoming parents in their old age? Well, we’ll just say that Sarah didn’t conceive by divine intervention alone.
God is our healer and will deliver us from every sickness and every disease, but we must marry our faith with our works and do our part to establish and maintain that healing. The blind man looked around. The deaf listened. The lame man got up and walked. Jesus heals, but we must also do our part.
Jesus can protect us from the corona virus and He can heal us of it if we contract it. However, that doesn’t mean that I go around licking the cart handle at Walmart and eating off of the floor of McDonalds.
In fact, a large portion of God’s word in the Old Testament contained His common-sense wisdom in these matters such as not eating uncooked meat, washing your hands before you eat, and getting rid of mold. Before scientific understanding and evidence, God’s word warned us about such things.
We do our part, Jesus faithfully does His. However, it gets even better than this!
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
It is the compassion of Jesus that motivates Him to heal. Sickness and disease were not a part of God’s plan from the beginning, but are part of the consequences of sin. Jesus lived a sinless life and then took on the cross not only to pay the penalty for our sin but to also take our sickness and disease on Himself and off of us.
Then, He turns to us. Not only to receive His healing, but to also freely give it. Jesus is the healer, the Great Physician, we are His referrers urging others to seek after Him for their healing.
The harvest has perhaps never been more plentiful. Sickness has begun to infect the world, but far worse, fear is paralyzing the world. We have the Holy Spirit within us. He is not a spirit of fear, but of power and a sound mind. We have been empowered and commissioned to release the healing and peace of Jesus wherever we go.
People are losing hope, but we have a living hope within us. Jesus went through towns and villages with His disciples healing every sickness and every disease. He was struck with compassion on the people and just had to do something about it. On His own, His impact was limited and effectiveness capped. Therefore, something amazing and profound happened!
1 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
His disciples went from being witnesses of Jesus healing every sickness and disease to going out in the authority that He had given them to release the healing power of Jesus. As they went, they were to tell people about the Kingdom of Heaven, to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to clean those who had leprosy, and to drive out demons. All that they had freely received, they were to freely give.
The fields are still ripe for the harvest. Jesus is still healing. He now calls you to freely give what you have freely received.
…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Jesus has baptized you in His Holy Spirit just as He promised. If you haven’t been baptized in His Holy Spirit, well, all you have to do is ask for it and I urge you to do so right here and right now. Jesus has given you the power and authority that you need to bring healing to every sickness and every disease even as He did for His twelve disciples.
Those twelve men walked in the simple authority that Jesus had given them. We have been given not only the authority to establish His Kingdom here on the earth, but have also been filled with His Holy Spirit and all of the power, insight, and courage that comes along with His personal Presence within.
Jesus took sickness and disease on Himself so that we might be delivered from them. He paid too high of a price for us to continue carrying them on ourselves! We have the divine opportunity to team up with Jesus and bring His healing to those who need it most.
Jesus is the healer, but we are His messengers. We get to share some good news to a world full of bad news. We get to give hope to the hopeless, peace to the worried, and healing to the sick.
Jesus took on our sickness and disease. Let’s hand them over to Him that we might be delivered from them all!