THE JESUS I DIDN’T KNOW: THE HEALER WHO WOULDN’T HEAL

How well do you know Jesus? We all like to think we know Jesus pretty well. I’ve had close to fifty years of wonderful, sweet communion with Jesus. I’ve devoted over forty years of my life to studying and teaching His Word. I’m talking about going back to the original languages and learning as much as I can about Jewish culture, institutions, and beliefs. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a Know-It-All. And you can ask my kids: I’m not inerrant or infallible. But still, knowing what I know, I’d like to think I know Jesus pretty good. To my pleasant surprise, however, I don’t know Jesus as good as I think I do. To this day, He still shows me more about Himself. Here, let me give you some snippets of the Jesus I never knew.

THE HEALER WHO WOULDN’T HEAL

Stepping into Peter’s sandals, I remember our first Sabbath in Capernaum. What a day that was! Jesus moved to Capernaum and, naturally, being His first disciples, we followed Him there. It was Andrew my brother, James, his brother John, and me. When Sabbath came, Jesus got invited to preach. I stood proud and tall that morning as the Rabbi preached like only He can.

Then, suddenly, the reverence and awe of the moment were shattered when a guy stood up and yelled churlishly, Leave us alone, Jesus of Nazareth. Have you come to torment us before our time? We know who you are. You are the Holy One of God (Mark 1:24). I immediately turned around and looked into his eyes and, man, I mean to tell you, a devil was written all over this guy. It didn’t take rocket science to know that this guy was definitely demonic. I’d never seen anything like it. And I’m not ashamed to admit it: the guy scared the livin’ daylights out of me.

I’ll never forget what happened next. Jesus calmly looked at the hapless chap, full of compassion, and told the demon in him, Shut up and come out of him. In an instant, no joke, the guy went limp like a baby, he slid back in his chair, and didn’t say a peep for the rest of the service. We all knew a miracle of exorcism had just taken place. Jesus had the whole place rip roaring with amazement: we had never before seen this kind of power used over the devil. All of us knew right then and there that Jesus was no ordinary Man.

After service, we went over to my place for lunch. It just so happened that my mother-in-law was sick of the fever that day. When Jesus saw her lying there, He went over to her, rebuked the fever, and the woman actually rose up right then and there and started helping my wife with the lunch (Luke 4:38-39). Wow! I liked having this Guy around! And to think that He was in my house, having lunch with me: I was so proud, I couldn’t hardly stand it.

We talked right thru the afternoon and, before long, nightfall came. A knock on the door was heard. Strange. We weren’t expecting any company. When I opened the door I was completely dumbfounded. There was a huge group of people outside—the sick and oppressed—wondering if Jesus would heal them. Well, there was no need asking. Jesus went right to work healing the people with a touch of His hand or a word from His mouth (Luke 4:40-41). I rightly don’t recollect how many people were healed that night, but I can tell you that it was like an old time revival service. There was so much hooting and hollering as the healing power of God came down and flowed through people’s bodies, setting them free from a lifetime of demonic oppression. There wasn’t a dry eye or quiet soul in the house that evening.

By this time it was completely dark, we were all getting pretty wore out. So we decided to shut things down and get to bed. There were still more people needing help, but we sent them away with the promise that, come morning, Jesus would be here to pick up where He off. That seemed to settle them down, so they sauntered off into the night and left us to our peace and sleep.

I got up bright and early the next morning. I wanted to make sure we had a big breakfast to see us through what was certainly going to be a busy day. I was puzzled, however, when I couldn’t find Jesus. I looked in every room, I even looked outdoors, and He was no where to be found. I started to panic. Did someone break in and kidnap Him? I yelled for the others and we four went out looking for Him. We combed all over town with no luck. Finally, we decided to check the outskirts of town.  You can imagine how relieved we were when I finally spotted Him, on His knees, praying His heart out (Mark 1:35).

“There You are, Jesus,” I said. “We’ve been looking all over for You. The whole town’s looking for You. Are You ready to get on with the healing service?”

“There isn’t going to be a service today,” Jesus said. I couldn’t believe my ears. None of us could. Maybe we heard Him wrong. So we asked Him to repeat Himself and, sure enough, the dreaded words came out. “We aren’t hanging around here today. We’re taking a trip throughout the province. There are lots of other folks out there who need My help” (Mark 1:37-38). And, with that, He headed back towards home and left us frozen in our tracks.

Jesus didn’t get very far, however. It seemed like the whole town came out to where we were. The people had come out for their miracle and, when they heard that Jesus was skipping town, they got downright nasty and belligerent! “O no, You’re not leaving! We need You to finish what You started last night. We’ve got a lot of hurting folks here needing Your healing power.” But nothing doing. Jesus wasn’t budging on His resolve. He was skipping town. There wouldn’t be any healing miracles today.

Well, the Capernaumites didn’t take too kindly to that, so they surrounded us. I mean, they completely surrounded us—you know, like in the movies. It definitely didn’t look very good. For a moment there, I thought we were going to get lynched (Luke 4:42). The angry townsfolk let us know in no uncertain terms that we weren’t leaving until they got their miracles.

Needless to say, I was definitely baffled by Jesus’ refusal to help these poor folks. I even asked Him to reconsider. We could spend the morning here, helping these people, getting them off our backs. Then come lunch time, we could quietly slip out the back door and head out on our trip. “I mean, look at these sick people here, Jesus. They need You. Can’t You just take a few moments and heal them? It shouldn’t take too long.” But even I couldn’t convince Him otherwise. I tell you, when the Guy has His mind made up, it’s made up and no one’s going to change it. Miraculously, Jesus found a way through the maddening crowd and He made it out of there without a scratch.

All eyes were turned to us when Jesus left. We felt as small as ticks on a possum. We were so embarrassed, I bet we were red as beets. Here were all these sick folk and the Healer wouldn’t heal them. He left them high and dry. He walked out on them. I was stunned. I’d always thought the Miracle Worker was a really kind, compassionate sort of Fellow. He really had a heart to heal. But, evidently, I was wrong. This morning I got another picture of the Healer that I hadn’t seen before.

Well, before I lead you wrong, we grumbled all the way back home and, to make a long story short, we found out what the Healer was doing out there on the dirt. He’d been praying to His Father and, evidently, the Father gave Him His marching orders for the day and for the next several days. The Father wanted Him to go throughout Galilee and help other people. I know Jesus told us that when we were out there with Him. But for some reason, it just didn’t click. We were just too wound up with disbelief and frustration—okay, you got me; we were angry with the Guy—that we just couldn’t get what He was saying. The Healer was obeying His Father and His level of commitment and obedience was such that not even a whole mess of sick and angry folks was going to stop Him from obeying His Father.

Jesus is all about obeying the Father. He didn’t heal the people that day—not because He didn’t want to, not because He didn’t care about them. But rather, because it wasn’t the Father’s will for that day. Their time of healing will come some other day. The important thing was for the Healer to obey the Father and head out right away to the other villages and towns where He was needed too. For a moment there, I really thought that the Healer didn’t always want to heal. He didn’t always care about everyone who was sick. In hindsight, I was wrong. I just seen a side of Jesus that I hadn’t seen before. But now I know.

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