· The Readings teach us the Good News that divine healing is possible and give us the hope of personal healing
· The healing miracles also confront us with what is a major stumbling block to faith for many people – the supernatural
· Did Jesus really do miraculous healings as Mark says?
· I believe He did – but only because I have seen miracles
· Seeing the miraculous authenticates the Biblical worldview
· I respect the fact that those who have not experienced the supernatural will continue to have trouble with this worldview
1. We all struggle to believe in the healing miracles of Jesus
· Many people in our science-based culture do not believe in the supernatural worldview of the Bible
· The Church has gradually lost it’s teaching authority as it became corrupted and used its’ authority to control rather than heal people
· Enlightenment Theologians had no experience and questioned the authenticity of the Resurrection and healing miracles
· Theologians searching for the “Historical Jesus” have been exposed as re-making Jesus in their own image, with no power
· When I was at Oxford I learned that historically Theologians have often tended to remake Jesus in their own image
· Some modern Liberal Protestants dismiss the miracles of Jesus as myths of a pre-scientific and superstitious culture.
· This is Satan’s big lie in our time – and many have believed it.
· We say we believe in the miracles of Jesus, but those who have personally experienced healing miracles believe in the supernatural worldview of the Bible on a much deeper level.
2. The healing miracles teach us who Jesus is.
· The Reading about Elisha and Naaman sets this up for us
· Mark is teaching us that Jesus is the long expected Messiah – they were expecting a Prophet like Moses and Elijah
· Religion is a very sensitive and dangerous business so we sometimes use codes to avoid unnecessary conflicts.
· Notice that Jesus told the man who had been healed to not tell anyone – notice how his ministry was disrupted after this
· Jesus healing ministry revealed who He was – but it also challenged religious authority and led to the Crucifixion.
3. Experience has taught me the power of words
· Some people seem to think God is not listening to them unless they are in church or saying their prayers
· The truth is that all the words we speak can be prayers, depending on the intention and attitude of our heart
· When I first met Lucille, over 30 years ago she gave me Something More by Agnes Sanford - that opened my eyes
· We had been reading John and Paula Sanford’s books on healing – particularly about the power of words of Healing, blessing and cursing
· One night when my son Christopher had night terrors and began screaming, I climbed up on the bed, put my hand on his head, took authority and said “STOP!”
· It was not very liturgical or even theological – but the silence was an Epiphany moment for me – words have authority
4. Jesus gives us the power and authority speak healing
· We are not the healer – we are only available to help
· The Holy Spirit is the healer – flowing through our hands
· My most visible experience of this was at a retreat at Gull Lake, where after much prayer, I saw what looked like blue flames coming from my hands and those of another priest and could see what looked like a black cloud of cancer being pulled up through a lady’s head by the other priest
· There are no magic words because this is not magic, it is simply the Holy Spirit at work in the world
5. There is no conflict between Science and Religion in healing
· Science is about observation, evidence and repeatability
· The problem was the people preaching and writing books during the Age of Reason and Enlightenment – and probably liberal Protestants in our time; did not have this personal experience - so they assumed, wrongly, that nobody else did
· Scott Peck’s The Road Less Travelled is a must read for those who are sceptical about healing miracles in general and deliverance and exorcism in particular.
· Very briefly Scott Peck was an atheist Psychiatrist who exhausted all the scientific medical options including drugs and counselling over two years before being driven to approach the Roman Catholic Church about exorcism.
· Scott Peck, to make a long story short, put together a team of doctors and experienced clergy who did an exorcism
· The woman was healed and Scott Peck became a Christian
· I would call this scientific evidence of a miraculous healing
· It authenticates the Biblical supernatural world view
· It teaches us who Jesus really is – the divine healer
6. Dr. Charles Kraft made deliverance and exorcism real for me
· Do not do this alone, without training & Episcopal permission
· Deliverance and exorcism are a last resort after counselling
· Dr. Kraft taught me about “spiritual rights”
· When we sin we give evil spirits “rights” to oppress us
· For example Jesus warns us not to call our brother a fool or we will face serious consequences – we have put a curse on him and therefore have sinned. (Mt. 5.21-23)
· This spirital legalism can help us figure out which spiritual doorways a person may have left open – an alcoholic for example, is opening a doorway for a spirit of alcoholism.
· Dr. Kraft prepared for deliverance ministry by surrounding himself with intercessors
· He began with prayer counselling for over an hour to identify and remove “spiritual rights” through repentance, confession and spoken words of absolution
· The spirits are bound to only speak to answer questions and given permission to speak using the persons normal voice
· One spirit brought us to laughter by lying and answering “NO” when asked by Dr. Kraft if they were still there.
· When the spiritual ‘rights’ were all removed he very quietly command the evil spirits to leave and go directly to Jesus and on to where He sent them without touching anyone else
· When you have heard and seen these things, Mark’s miraculous healing stories are much easier to believe
· We cannot expect those who have not had these personal experiences of the supernatural to believe right away – we can only them to be more open to this Biblical worldview
7. Lies planted in the soul are common in spiritual oppression
· Family Foundations International has developed healing workshops that focus on “Empowering Relations”, “Anger”, “Marriage”, “Finances” and “Blessing Generations”
· My experience in being ministered to and in ministering to others in these workshops is that the root of some dysfunctional behaviour patterns – such as low self-esteem is often a destructive lie planted deep in a child’s heart.
· For example in one workshop a woman went through prayer ministry to discover the lie that had been planted in her soul that had caused a pattern of failures in her life
· She went through the process of going back in prayer to a long forgotten incident where the mailman had tripped over her bicycle in the yard and yelled at her for being a stupid, lazy looser.
· First of all it was a word spoken with authority by an authority.
· Second it was a curse that led to real consequences in life.
· Thirdly it was a terrible lie about who she was – her identity
· Fourthly she believed the lie about her identity
· To remove the ‘rights’ and break the power of the lies she had to repent and receive forgiveness for believing the lie
· She also had to repent and asking forgiveness from Jesus for her part in leaving the bicycle out
· The curse was broken and she was set free
· The Holy Spirit was invited to bless her with healing and the knowledge of the truth that she was a beautiful, intelligent and beloved child of God – her real identity
· I saw a complete change in her facial expression and body language - from sad and downcast to radiant and joyful
8. Paul challenges us to be “in strict training”
· The bad news is that spiritual life is dangerous and we are all born blind and unclean – Lucy’s question about the lion
· We have to train ourselves to be careful about words
· We have to discipline our lives to avoid giving spirits “rights”
· The Good News is our experiences of healing authenticate Biblical teachings, give us hope and give us training
· When The Good News is preached, words are spoken so our spiritual eyes can be opened, and we can see our imprisonment by sin and be set free through faith in the process of repentance, confession and absolution – and acceptance of forgiveness.
The healing miracles teach us who Jesus is – the divine healer