“Lord Jesus Christ Put Your Fingers Into My Ears…!”(Mk. 7:31-37).
Twenty-five years ago I attended the TASO-TEACH program in Uganda. (TASO is The AIDS Support Organization. TASO Uganda at that time was considered to be the biggest NGO working on HIV/AIDS in Africa. TEACH is TASO Experiential Attachment to Combat HIV/AIDS). For one month I was with TASO Masaka.
My interest in bringing this here concerns one of the challenges that TASO was facing in the Masaka region. HIV/AIDS patients who are placed on antiretroviral treatment are expected to be consistent and regular on taking their drugs.
There are some untrained church ministers who think that “Faith healing” means healing by prayer alone, without any medication. This according to my TASO mentors was a big challenge. Some patients who had been placed on antirrtroviral therapy were told by some of the faith healers to stop treatment and depend on faith healing alone. Over time the situation of these patients worsened as their CD4 reduced drastically. By the time such patients who were HIV came back to TASO they had developed full blown AIDS.
TASO’s worry is the same everywhere. There are always those faith healers who deny their sick Christians from taking any kind of treatment; except prayer.
The Lord Jesus Christ did not recommend faith healing only; even though he commanded healing. He himself was a medical healer. In the region of Decapolis some people brought to him a deaf and dumb man and begged him to place his hand on the man.
Jesus healed the man by first putting his fingers into the man’s ears. “Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to the man…’
In other instances he mixed spittle with mud and asked the patient to go and wash the eyes in a stream. Spittle, mud and water are traditional healing components.
It is not a contradiction or lack of faith when churches build hospitals. The medical experts offer treatment but it is God who heals.
Pastors are assigned to hospitals as chaplains so that they should be praying for the patients. Not all healing come by prayer or authoritative command in the name of Jesus alone.
Curiously, unlike the publicly and widely circulated televised faith healing of some tele-evangelists today, Jesus shunned publicity.
When the man’s tongue loosened and he started speaking, ‘Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone.” Even though “the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it,”
What is good is good and would be talked about, but shouldn’t be advertised.
Healing is a tool of evangelism. It is a means to an end. Proclaiming the goodness of the kingdom and calling sinners to repentance is the goal.
When in Lystra Paul made a cripple to walk, the people shouted that Paul and Barnabas were gods from Mount Olympus. Paul shouted, ‘…We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God…”(Acts 14:8-18). The focus was the good news and a call to conversion to the living God through Christ.
When king Hezekiah recovered from isickness, he saw his sickness as a means by which God demonstrated his love for him. Among other things he said, “…You restored me to health and let me live. Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; and you have put all my sins behind your back…”(Is. 38:9-20).
My friend, allegorically, there is a sense in which we are deaf and dumb. We find it difficult to hear God’s word and turn to him. We are not able to speak the message of salvation. May the Lord Jesus Christ put his fingers into our ears, may he spit and touch our tongues and may he tell us, “Be opened!”, so that we can be overwhelmed with amazement because he does everything well. And may we not tire of talking of the marvelous healing that his words brings to our souls.
Sunday prayer: Lord Jesus Christ thank you; for by your stripes we are healed. Amen!
Have a blessed Sunday! Peace be with you!
Rev. Babila Fochang.
“Arm Yourself With The Same Attitude Of Suffering In The Body…!”(I Pt.4:1-6).The emphasis of “Joy to the world…” at Christmas more often than not multiply