We didn’t have to work the first two Sundays in February so we were able to attend the 10:45 Liturgical service at Wesley UMC. We had communion with the Great Thanksgiving and sang two hymns out of the hymnal. The hymns were real “groaners” and very hard to sing. I don’t know that I chose to sing either of them in 30 years of ministry! We had the “passing of the peace” using elbow bumps instead of hand shakes. The sermon spoke about how Jesus meets our needs.
The sermon contained many good bits. Mark 1:29-39 was the Gospel reading and Rev. Patton focused on verses 32-34. “That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases.” Rev. Patton pointed out that Jesus healed many people, but he didn’t heal everyone. Just a few verses later, Jesus says that preaching, not healing, is the reason he has come.
This is an important point to me. So often when I read prayers lists (including my own) they focus on physical healing. Physical healing is easy to pray for. We are sure that Jesus wants us to be well. Even better, asking for prayer for physical healing doesn’t look too deeply into our souls. If we are having surgery, or have a broken bone, or have been diagnosed with cancer – asking a church to pray for us is easy.
Physical healing may be important to Jesus, but it is not the reason Jesus came. Jesus came to preach and to lead people to a new relationship with God. John 10:10 says “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” An abundant life may include a change of health, but – more importantly – it contains a change of heart. Repentance and redemption is more important to Jesus than good health. You can have perfect health and still not be right with God.
Jesus walked away in the midst of healing people physically because he did not want them to think that his ministry was only about healing. He left some people sick and suffering so he could go to another place and proclaim the message of God. That is why he came.
And when we come to God, we too need to remember why he came. Healing is a blessing and sometimes a miracle. But even more than whole bodies, Jesus wants whole hearts. Jesus meets our needs. Our deepest needs are not changed circumstances but changed hearts.