Sunday, April 17, 2016

This week's lesson (April 16-22): "Get up and walk!" - Faith & Healing.

A man with leprosy came and knelt down before [Jesus] and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. (Matthew 8:2-3, NIV)
You've studied this week's lesson.

Now make sure your class doesn't take it to its logical conclusion.

That's because any discussion of Christ's miracles inevitably leads to the question of "Why don't we see this kind of miracles today?" 

And that leads class members to declare we need more faith . . . 

And that will leave some of your people thinking it's all their fault Cousin Charley didn't survive . . . "because he would have lived if we'd had more faith."

How do I know this?

Been there. Seen that. Dealt with the aftermath.

So . . . I'd suggest you lead your class through a list of Christ's miracles -- say, the one in Matthew 8 & 9 -- and ask them a simple question: "Who had faith?"
  • In the healing of the leper, it was the leper . . . maybe.
  • In the healing of the centurion's servant, it was the centurion.
  • In the healing of Peter's mother-in-law, it was . . . okay, this one's ambiguous; nobody's faith is mentioned here.
  • In the calming of the storm, Matthew goes out of his way to point out the disciple's lack of faith.
  • The same is true of Christ healing the two demoniacs -- and no, you're not going to convince me the demons had faith!
  • In the healing of the paralytic, it was his friends who brought him to Jesus.
  • In the healing of the sick woman, Jesus goes out of his way to commend her faith.
  • But you can't tell me the little girl Jesus healed showed faith -- in fact, she was dead! As for the crowd around her, they mocked!
  • Two blind men are then healed "according to their faith" . . .
  • But a mute demoniac is also healed -- and just like the paralytic, the only sign of faith is shown by the people who bring him to Jesus.
In short, the one constant in this story is not faith. No, there are times when the person being healed might have faith -- and there are times when he or she doesn't, but other people do.

Then again, there are also times when it seems as though nobody has faith . . .

Nobody except Jesus.

And there you have the point of this week's lesson -- a point that will save your class members a lot of grief and guilt in the years ahead.

It's the fact that Jesus doesn't heal us because we have faith.

No, Jesus heals us because he is faithful.

This lesson commentary first appeared on May 2, 2008.

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