Romans 8:28-30 “You Have Been Healed”
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Amen.
One of the worst feelings in the world is being sick. Even a simple cold or flu can just make you feel miserable. When you have that sore throat that just won’t go away. That headache that pounds every time you move. An earache that throbs. When you can’t tell if you’re hot or cold because every time you get enough energy to drag a blanket over yourself because you can’t stop shivering, moments later you’re trying to kick them off because now you’re way to warm. Juice, soup, cold medicine. Nothing helps. Nothing really makes you feel better. The worst part is when you try to remember what it feels like to be normal. To be healthy…and you realize that you can’t! All you can think about is how terrible you feel at the moment.
I can imagine that Job was having some of those same thoughts when he wasn’t feeling good. The poor guy was in absolute agony. “so I have been allotted months of futility, and nights of misery have been assigned to me. 4 When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’ The night drags on, and I toss and turn until dawn. 5 My body is clothed with worms and scabs, my skin is broken and festering.” (John 7:3-5) Job had terrible open sores all over his body. It was so painful that Job used a piece of broken pottery to scrape at his scarred skin to try and have relief from the suffering. That kind of puts things into perspective when we’re stuck in bed with a cold, doesn’t it! But it gets even worse, because even if he would recover from this terrible sickness he still knew that he had lost all of his wealth and most of his servants. Everything was gone, but even worse: his children had all died in the same moment. For Job, there was no “normal” to look forward to. “Do not mortals have hard service on earth? Are not their days like those of hired laborers? Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again.” (Job 7:1, 7) Job understood suffering, pain, and sickness. Why didn’t God care about Job? Why did he allow his loving and faithful servant to go through such pain? Why didn’t God heal him? How often have we heard that question from unbelievers: “If God really loves then why does he let people suffer? If God really cares, why do people get sick?” Maybe we have even asked those questions ourselves. “If God can heal, why doesn’t he heal me?” But doesn’t God heal? Doesn’t he bring relief? He provides doctors, and medicine, and bodies that often heal on their own! But that’s not what we’re looking for. We want that miracle. Just like in our Gospel lesson for toady. Jesus and his disciples went over to Peter and Andrew’s house. When they get there, they find Peter’s mother-in-law in bed with a high fever. Jesus goes to her, helps her up, and instantly her fever is gone. Miracle! And then he spent the night curing the sick and demon possessed people in that town. More miracles.
Imagine being one of those people waiting at the door to that house, hoping that Jesus can help you. You have been sick for so long. Feeling like you are just a burden on your family and friends. This constant sickness has changed your life and you can’t even remember what “normal” feels like. No one has been able to help, but now there’s hope. Everyone is saying that this Jesus can heal. And then he comes to you, places his hands on you. Those deep and loving eyes stare at you and he speaks: “You are healed. Go in peace.” Freed! Your fever, your illness, your suffering is gone. It’s not like taking some Tylenol for a headache that merely dulls the pain. It’s not like a throat lozenge that softens the scratch. You are healed completely. Just imagine the excitement you would feel after your long-suffering and pain taken away. No wonder those people were so excited about Jesus’ power! In Matthew’s Gospel it says that he “healed all the sick.” (Matthew 8:16) Not one person was left weak or ill.
How are you feeling right now? After all, you have been cured. Completely and fully. But the sickness that we had wasn’t a virus or a flu bug. It was the sickness of sin. And we were deathly ill. Plagued by the weakness of temptation and covered with failure, there was nothing that could be done for us. There was no cutting-edge medicine that would cure us. No specialty doctor or procedure that could give us any hope. Every false promise of self-cure fell flat. But your Savior came to you. He looked at you with love filled eyes and he called you. With his Word he worked faith in your heart. And he took away your disease. He said to you in the midst of your suffering, pain, guilt, and sorrow: “You are healed. Go in peace.” And you were healed. Completely. How are you feeling now? Cured from the sickness and disease of sin. Not like wrapping a band-aid on a huge gash. Not a couple of Tylenol to dull the pain of that throbbing headache. Not a terrible tasting throat lozenge that won’t really cure the sore throat. You have been completely and fully healed. Not a spot of sin remains. That guilt and shame that our sinful nature and Satan nags us with? There is no need for it. Because God himself has cured you. Your sins are gone. He has declared you as perfect.
Why would he do that? Why would Jesus come to me to heal me. Why would he come for you? Because he saw you when you were still covered with the disease of sin. And he chose you. He loved you. And since the beginning of the world, God has been working for your good. Every moment of every day your God has been watching over you and caring for you. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) But this might be where we are tempted to question why God allows hardship and problems in our lives. If God loves us why does he allow sickness and disease to affect us. After all, remember those arguments from unbeliever: “If God is so powerful then why is there heart disease, cancer, and sickness?” The world can’t understand. But we do, because through the faith worked in our hearts we see clearly. God doesn’t want us to suffer, but he can and will use everything for our good. Even sickness that leads to death. The world doesn’t understand that. How can dying from disease be a good thing? Job’s explanation from the very depth of his suffering is perfect: “I know that my redeemer h lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27) While we trust that God can heal every disease, we rejoice that he has healed us from the disease that is by far the most dangerous: sin. We trust that God will work for our good in any and every situation. That maybe means that he will give us healing to our bodies when they are sick or injured. Or that he will use that disease for our good in another way. His purpose, his will is perfect. In all times and all situations we can trust “my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.”
How can we have that kind of trust? Because God has changed us: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30). How are you feeling? Now that you have been forgiven and healed, how are you feeling? Knowing that God chose you from the beginning of time, that he called you. That out of all of the entire world, God chose to save you. That he died to bring you the cure. And through his death and resurrection Jesus has brought us his victory, his glory, his rewards. He has healed you.
Did you notice how Peter’s mother-in-law reacted when Jesus healed her? She showed her thanks and love to Jesus: she served him! After God gave healing to Job? He served the Lord. May that always be our reaction. As Christians, moved by God’s compassion and mercy, let’s look for ways that we can serve him. To show him thanks for all that he has done for us. That we see our lives as an opportunity to serve Jesus out of thanks and to not to live for ourselves but for the one who cured us. After all: “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) God has worked for your good. You have been healed. Amen.
The peace of God , which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.