Friday, May 3, 2013

The Source of all healing

This was a presentation to the Buea Seventh-day Adventist Church on May 5, 2012.

Matthew 4:23-25
23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

The medical missionary work reveals the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven - the great truth of the Bible:  That God, in Christ, was reconciling the universe to himself.  The universe has experienced a grand rebellion and God has been portrayed as arbitrary, vengeful, and severe.  These are the very attributes of his chief adversary.  Many beings trusted Lucifer and in doing so revealed their distrust of God.  When God created the earth it was designed for joy, peace, and love.  It was designed and purposed that we might have an intimate and trusting relationship with God.

The work of Jesus was to reveal the truth about God - the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven.  He said "You have seen me you have seen the Father."  Jesus healed and restored all who asked, both Jew and Gentile.  Reread the gospel stories.  Jesus healed and restored everyone who trusted him.  It was not by force, fear, or intimidation that he gained disciples.  No, it was by living a life in union with God, meeting people where they were, not breaking off the bent reed, or snuffing out a flickering candle.  He proclaimed freedom to the prisoners of deception.

At the Health Centre our mission statement is this:  "As Jesus loved and served, it is our mission to serve and love the people of Buea by providing access to world class health services and education; and to encourage our clients to total health: spiritual; physical; emotional; and intellectual."

I encourage you to review the work God wants to see accomplished in your own life.  Consider your beliefs.  Why do you believe what you do?  What kind of God do you worship and admire?  Consider how God has led you.  Has your relationship with God always been the way it is? What unique joy is yours because you believe what you do?  How has what you believe improved or otherwise benefited your life (not just for the future, but in the here and now of today)?  Can you value what you believe apart from a legal obligation of obedience? If so, why? 

In our interactions with each other, in our church and with those outside, I encourage you to hold fast to the knowledge that each one of us is a precious child of God.  Let me remind you that God is already at work in every person's life:  you; me; and each person we meet.  Our role is not to make people into our image.  Our role is not even to make people into God's image.  Our role is to meet people where they are, without judgment, without condemnation, being very aware and sensitive to them as an individual and to stimulate spiritual inquiry without pushing our beliefs on to them.  When we do this well, we will bring the joy of our intimate relationship with God and all that it is producing in our lives in a systematic and very personal response to the questions of each other and our neighbors.

Our full and complete healing and restoration is not found in health education or medical ministry work.  It is not found in our denomination's 28 fundamentals or the vows we have taken at baptism.  These are not the truth, but they bear witness to the truth.  Our healing and restoration is a trusting relationship with God.

Jesus is the truest revelation of the character and nature of God.  God is not the kind of person his enemies have made him out to be.  He is not arbitrary, vengeful, or severe.  Rather God is all life, all love, all forgiveness, all the time.  To be apart from God is to not trust him and so we  will be sick and dying.  To be at-one with God is to trust him and we will be healed and restored.

We must care about the entire person.  As Seventh-day Adventists surely we already recognize that every person is of infinite value to God.  Regardless of his or her circumstances (race, tribe, language, position, financial status, beliefs, and religious affiliation, just to name a few), each person is of infinite value to God.  Our methods must be in alignment with Jesus.  Or else they are in alignment with his adversary.

As we close turn with me to Matthew chapter 15 and I will read from verse 29
29 Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. 30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.