Healing by God – Matthew 9:35-38

Jesus Healed Every Sickness And Disease

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.”

Serve Soup

Catharine and William Booth started the Salvation Army.  They embraced the call of Christ to send workers into His harvest field.  As indicated in this passage, there are two parts to healing a person:

  1. Take care of their physical needs
  2. Take care of their spiritual needs

For the Salvation Army, the cry was “soup, soap, salvation.”

The first thing that we as Christians should do is look to the physical.  When someone is hungry, the message of salvation is hollow compared to the pain in their stomach.  When attempting to reach people, see if there are physical needs that first need to be met.  God may be using you as His messenger to prepare the way for the gospel through this simple act of charity.  It is hard to tell someone who God loves them and provides for them when they are homeless, in abject poverty, and are starving.  We must meet people where they are.  One they have eaten physical food, they are in a better position to consume spiritual food.

Supply Soap

After they are fed, they may feel uncomfortable.  Give them the opportunity for dignity.  Washing of their physical bodies is the next step in preparation.  After dealing with hunger, are they having problems with some other physical need?  Do they need a coat to keep them warm in the winter?  Are they walking around barefoot because they have no shoes?  The “soap” part deals with the non-food physical needs of the person.  Have you practiced hospitality?  In today’s world, it is dangerous to invite a stranger into your home.  Many people have been severely injured, even to the point of death by strangers who have ill-intent towards them.  Yet we are called to be ambassadors for Christ.

And while we need to consider our safety and the safety of our family, have we made every effort to help those who just don’t know where to go or what to do find the resources that they need to survive?  What does it cost to call a cab to take someone to a shelter?  Until our physical needs are met as well, we won’t be in a position to listen about our spiritual needs.

God sent His son out to heal people of their physical and spiritual issues.  Where two or more are gathered in the character of God, He is there also.  Why not ask people if you can pray over them for God’s physical healing in their life?  One of the efforts that prepared the way for the gospel was the miraculous healing of people.  God still want’s us to go out and give comfort and healing to people, just as we received it from Him.

Send Salvation

Once our physical needs have been met, we can finally listen with our ears.  Jesus Christ cared enough about every person that ever lived on this planet to come down from Heaven and die upon a cross for our sins.  We also should be willing to take the message of salvation, a far more valuable and important need of man than physical healing to those who may never hear it.

Some people may be deaf to the word of God because the trinkets of wealth call to them.  Some people may not hear because the emotional pain of the difficulties in their lives drown it out.  Some people cannot hear because the physical pain of their bodies screams like a boiling kettle of water.  And others just haven’t heard.

In business, there is a term that is used to keep people on-task: “go for the low-hanging fruit.”  Fruit that is too high in the tree takes too much time and effort to go after.  And while it is valuable, the low hanging fruit is more plentiful and profitable.  If we spend all of our time going after the fruit high in the tree, we will miss out on the opportunities that are most profitable in the time we have been provided during the harvest:

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.

9 “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts- 10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”

Note that Jesus does NOT say, “And when you enter a village or home, stay there until every last person has heard the message and accepted it.  Take as much time as is needed to make sure that you miss no one, and do not leave until every person has given their lives to God”.  On the contrary – Jesus tells them that if people won’t listen, move on.  That is the essence of harvesting “low-hanging fruit” – gathering as much as you can in the least amount of time that you can, because the harvest season is short, and is now near its conclusion.

So what is stopping us from bringing the message that will save people’s souls from eternity in Hell to those who need to hear it?  Are we terrified that our lives may end?  Are we afraid for loss of property?  What ARE we afraid of?

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  When around other people outside of work, what is primarily on my mind?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have seen fit to save me from my sin.  Help me now to have renewed effort in spreading the word of Your salvation message to those who may not have heard it.  Help me to remember that I am merely the messenger, and if people reject the message, they are not rejecting me, but the message that has been delivered.  Give me the strength and will to overcome any fear in talking with others about You so that You may be proclaimed everywhere.  And in places where it is too dangerous to speak Your name, give me the boldness of heart to do so anyway, for I would rather die proclaiming your Name than live hundreds of years hiding in fear for my life.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

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