“‘Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.’ And he said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the centurion replied, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.’ …And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.’ And the servant was healed at that very moment. (Matthew 8:6-8, 13)
When Jesus walked the earth, He could have healed everyone He passed by without incident. He didn’t need to say any magic words or incite any special powers; He didn’t even need to pray. When Jesus willed a person be healed, they were healed.
Even today He could just heal the world in one swoop. He could speak the words, and anybody with any kind of ailment would be cured. But the Lord desires for us to reach out to Him in faith. He wants us to draw near to Him. He wants us to petition Him. He wants us to recognize that He is the source of life and healing.
“O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear.” (Psalms 10:17)
“Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (Psalms 50:15)
“The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.” (Psalms 145:17-19)
“Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise” (Jeremiah 17:14).
Though Jeremiah preached repentance, he didn’t just rail at others, he recognized his own corruption and need for divine healing. He demonstrated the heart that God was looking for—a heart to turn back to God for deliverance. Though Jeremiah was sent to preach repentance to a nation, he believed his message was just as much for him as it was for all men. Not five verses before this personal plea for healing, Jeremiah said about the whole human race: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9). He knew full well the state of his own heart and sought God’s deliverance with confidence—”heal me Lord, and I shall be healed.”
- Psalms 41:4; “As for me, I said, ‘O LORD, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you.'”
- Psalms 6:2; “Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.”
Every one of us are sick in the heart because of sin and in dire need of healing.
- Isaiah 1:4-6; “Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged. Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds; they are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil.”
Isaiah was a lot like Jeremiah. He preached a stern message of repentance and coming judgment, but not without understanding his own position and equal need for salvation. Over and over again in chapter 5 of his prophecy he pronounced “Woe to those who” have sinned in such-and-such-a-way against the Lord. Yet in chapter 6 he proclaimed, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). Isaiah, like Jeremiah, lead the way in repentance and faith in the One who promises to heal the brokenhearted.
I shall be healed
Recognizing the depravity of your heart means nothing if it isn’t followed by a response to God asking and believing that He can heal it. And we can be sure, if it is God who does the healing, we shall be healed indeed.
- Psalms 147:3; “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
- Psalms 30:2-3; “O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.”
God can and will heal us—we need only recognize our need and turn to him and ask.
“On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’ When he saw them he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ And he said to him, ‘Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.'”
As they went they were cleansed
Each of us, if we have believed in Jesus Christ, have been cleansed; we have been healed just like these lepers.
- Acts 15:9 “[God] made no distinction between [Jew and Gentile], having cleansed their hearts by faith.”
- 1 Peter 1:21-22 “Through [Christ you] are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love…
- Isaiah 53:4-6 “He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God
The desire of Christ’s heart is that we, like the one Samaritan leper, turn and worship Him for what He has done.
- 1 Peter 2:4-5 “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks
Among other things, one way we can offer spiritual sacrifices to Christ is through thanksgiving.
- Hebrews 13:15 “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”
- Psalms 50:23 “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me.”
- Psalms 69:30-31 “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.”
- Psalms 116:16-17 “O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.”
Ten lepers were healed, only one returned to worship and offer to Christ the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Since we also have been cleansed and made into a royal priesthood, let us turn to the Lord and worship Him offering spiritual sacrifices which are acceptable to Him.