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Lesson 2: Healer

Everything that happens to us has been designed for our spiritual growth.

– M. Scott Peck

While most Christians are comfortable discussing physical healing, many find spiritual healing an uncomfortable topic. That discomfort leads some to conclude exorcism is a primitive way to describe healing diseases such as epilepsy or multiple personality disorder (Lk 17:14). However, we must not dismiss the spiritual side of creation too quickly. Scripture teaches we are both physical and spiritual beings. If you lose your arm or legs, you remain “you.” Every cell in your body has been replaced or modified significantly since birth. What makes you the same person? You are more than a body, the sum of your physical parts. The spiritual part of you needs healing, forgiveness, and God’s power as much as the physical.

Devotion: Read Luke 4:31-44. Jesus can heal in both the spiritual and physical realms. He moves easily between exorcizing demons and rebuking a fever. However, we should not miss the point of these encounters. Once again, Jesus begins by teaching. We are told both before and after he casts out the unclean spirit that Jesus speaks with authority. Then Jesus stops all acts of healing and leaves for another town. “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose” (4:43). Jesus exorcizes evil spirits for the same reason he brings physical healing, as a sign of his “authority and power” to teach God’s way of life. If we focus too much attention on the healing event itself, we can be distracted from the good news that should transform every aspect of our lives. What “good” things occasionally distract you from viewing the world as God desires? Should the church offer more instruction on the spiritual worldview of the Bible? Does pondering the spiritual realm of existence encourage or discourage you from being more faithful? What do you believe about the spiritual realm of life?

Personal Worship Option: Pray the following: Sovereign, look upon me with eyes of mercy, may your healing hand rest upon me, may your life-giving power flow into every cell in my body, and into the depths of my soul, cleansing, purifying, and restoring me to wholeness and strength for your service… finish this prayer with your own thoughts and words.

Dig A Little Deeper:

4:33 Luke clarifies this is an impure spirit because he believes both good and bad spirits exist in the world. What role, if any, do you assign to angels and demons in your life? Can other beings (people, angels, demons) make you do good or evil? Can the Holy Spirit make you do good? What role does the Holy Spirit play in your life? Do you imagine angels and demons having more or less power than the Spirit of God in you life?

4:35 Throughout the gospels, Jesus refuses to allow demons to announce his identity. Most likely this reflects the common biblical belief that knowing or uttering someone’s name is way of claiming power over them, insinuating an ability to judge their purpose and actions. Another possibility is that Jesus does not want to contribute to the problem of people seeing him as a miracle worker or political Messiah rather than listening to his teachings on God’s reign. This might also be the reason he departs, to prevent them from defining him the wrong way.

4:35 Jesus uses a phrase similar to “muzzle your mouth.” The Greek term translated “threw the man down” is used by ancient physicians to describe convulsions. Luke is a physician (Col 4:14).

4:38 Compare this verse to Mark’s version (Mk 1:29-31).

4:40 As sun sets, the Sabbath ends, so those who need healing can now be carried to Jesus. Jesus heals by laying on his hands, as opposed to rebuking the fever as he did with Simon’s mother-in-law. Jesus employs other methods of healing as well (Jn 4:50, 9:6).

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