The Wounded Healer
Is Jesus able to heal? Does Jesus want to heal? These questions can haunt us as we approach Jesus, seeking the abundant love of God. The man suffering from leprosy recognises Jesus’ power, but he is less sure of Jesus’ desire to heal. Forced by his society to live as an outcast because of the disease, he has lost confidence in the benevolence of humanity. Human fear has magnified his pain. Leprosy has made him suffer; excluded from the life of his people, he has suffered twice over.
Jesus’ response is immediate and emphatic. God is abundant love. God longs to heal us, to make us whole, and to remove all that distorts or destroys us. God’s desire to heal has always been there, and always been active. It is part of the tradition of God’s people. But it is renewed through Jesus, who expresses and acts upon that great desire. How can God’s Son do otherwise? Charles Wesley described this quality of God’s love as being “Enough for all, enough for each, enough for evermore.”
Yes, Jesus is free to do as he pleases, but his decision is to collaborate with God’s purposes, to respond to God’s desire, to obey God’s will. And he shows this by reaching out and touching the man with leprosy. Though Jesus has refused the power that would allow him to rule the world (temptation), the healing stories demonstrate the breadth of his vision. Go, not to those who need you, but to those who need you most. Love beyond boundaries. It is self-evident. I am a doctor: I go to the sick. By touching him, Jesus not only heals the disease but also restores the man to human society.
Was Jesus only able to heal those who met him? Was his healing power only for Jews? As we ask Jesus to touch our wounds, these questions – and others - may trouble us. But here Jesus shows us that God reaches out to heal anyone, anywhere.
God’s grace is not daunted by distance, and responds to the smallest measure of faith, wherever it is found. Wherever there is honesty, humility, obedience and trust, then God’s love is at work, and can create change. God’s love will work amongst any who understand the nature of faith.
So we can have courage in asking God for healing, and confidence when prayer is offered today in the name of Jesus Christ. God’s people are those who recognise the word of grace wherever and whenever it is spoken, and who trust in its life-giving power. Furthermore, the life of the inner room gives access to healing power, generating and directing it.