Church and City Leaders Build Unity
When Jesus completed His discourse in hearing of the people, a centurion's slave was sick and near death. The centurion heard about Jesus, sent Jewish elders asking Him to come and save his slave's life. They earnestly entreated Him because the centurion loved their nation and built the synagogue. Showing humility, he told Jesus he wasn't worthy but "just say the word and my servant will be healed," recognizing he was under authority like Him. Jesus said his faith was greater than anyone in Israel. When the Jewish leaders return to the house, they found the slave healed (Lk. 7:1-10). Spiritual and civic leaders should build unity, opportunities and justice as they point citizens toward God's authority.
Jesus Heals the Marginalized
The Lord felt compassion for the only son of a widow and told her not to weep. He touched the coffin and said, "Young man, I say to you, arise!" The dead man sat up and began speaking. Fear gripped them and they began glorifying God (Lk. 7:11-17). Jesus takes the initiative and shows compassion by healing marginalized individuals.
Church Provides Platform for Holistic Healing
John the Baptist's disciples asked Jesus if He was the "Expected One" while He was healing many people of diseases, afflictions, evil spirits and granting sight to the blind. He told them to report what they had seen:
1. Blind receive sight (spiritual)
2. Lame walk (physical)
3. Lepers cleansed (mental & psychological)
4. Deaf hear (social relationships)
5. Dead raised up (emotional)
6. Poor have gospel preached to them (evangelism)
7. Blessed is he who is not offended by Me (grace & peace). Blessed means "one whom God makes fully satisfied, not because of favorable circumstances but because He indwells the believer through Christ or having God's kingdom within one's heart" (Lk. 7:18-23). The goal of the body of Christ is to remove barriers like legalism and judgment to facilitate holistic healing of people leading to grace and peace in all relationships.
Individuals Prepare Way for Healing
Jesus told the multitudes that John the Baptist was more than a prophet. He was a messenger to prepare the way of Christ and not part of the power elite. He who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than John even though he is the greatest prophet. The people and tax-gatherers acknowledged God's justice having identified with John's baptism, but the Pharisees and lawyers (power elite) rejected God's purpose. John came eating and drinking no bread or wine and people said he had a demon. Son of Man came eating and drinking and people said he was a glutton, drunk and friend of tax-gatherers and sinners. Yet wisdom (knowledge of how to regulate one's relationship with God) is vindicated by fruit in peoples' lives (Lk. 7:24-35). People who live wisely prepare the way for others to experience the healing power of Christ.
Leaders Encourage Reconciliation with God
A member of the power elite, a Pharisee, requested to eat with Jesus. After an immoral woman came to the house and stood beside Him weeping, she kissed Jesus' feet and anointed them with perfume. The Pharisee judged the woman because of her sin. Then Jesus told Simon, the Pharisee, a story about a moneylender with two debtors: one owed 500 denarii (500 days of wages) and the other 50. He graciously forgave both since neither were able to repay. Jesus asked Simon who would love Him more? He responded with the right answer: one who forgave more. Jesus turned to Simon and recounted how he gave no water for His feet but "she has wet My feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little." Jesus told the woman to go in peace since her sins were forgiven and her faith saved her (Lk. 7:36-50). Leaders who understand the principle of forgiveness don't judge but encourage reconciliation with God among individuals.
Leaders Remove Roadblocks, Individuals Create Hunger and Church Facilitates Holistic Healing
Let’s look at these five paragraphs in a chiastic structure from the first through fifth paragraphs: A; B; C; B', A'. We group together the content contained in A & A’; B & B’ and C. Here are my conclusions:
1. Spiritual and community leaders remove roadblocks so anyone, no matter their socio-economic or religious background, can experience holistic healing from Christ.
2. Someone who lives wisely creates hunger so individuals allow Jesus to heal them.
3. When the body of Christ removes barriers like legalism and judgment, it facilitates the holistic healing of the total person leading to peace and harmony in all relationships.
(Using a chiastic structure from #1 to #7 under paragraph titled, "Church Provides Platform for Holistic Healing": A, B, C, D, C', B' A'. We group together the content in A & A', B & B', etc.)
a. Blind receive sight so they are satisfied with God (peace & harmony)
b. Lame walk and poor have gospel preached to them (physical & spiritual healing)
c. Lepers cleansed and dead raised up (mental, emotional and psychological healing)
d. Deaf hear so they can relate with others (healthy social relationships)
In what area of your life do you need healing? How can God use you to be an instrument of Christ in healing someone else?